While perusing the various news websites I frequent throughout the trading day, I found an interesting story in our local Cincinnati Enquirer (Web address: Cincinnati.com). Local Dow component Procter & Gamble has announced that it is exploring the possible sale of slow-growth brands, including Folgers coffee, Pringles chips, and Duracell batteries. The article cites The Financial Times as the source (which cited unnamed sources familiar with the situation) for the story. While company spokesman Terry Loftus wouldn't comment, the company stated that it was reviewing its portfolio back in August. PG accompanied its earnings report with a note that it was taking a look at businesses that were at the lower end of its annual sales growth goals of 4% to 6%. PG's chairman and chief executive A.G. Lafley told shareholders in a letter that businesses that don't deliver solid sales, operating growth, and shareholder return could become a candidate for divestiture.
Currently, PG is slightly lower, but the stock's strength is undeniable. However, the only pessimism in the corporate giant's sentiment backdrop comes from options players. Currently, PG's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.86 ranks in the 79th percentile. There is little chance for a short-covering rally from PG and analysts are decidedly bullish. That said, the stock has performed very well, rocketing higher in July.