Can Clorox Clean up in a Recession?

The consumer staples giant is a keeper even if the ailing economy creates obstacles for it in the short term.

Investors have been following earnings reports skittishly lately -- looking for any weaknesses deserving of punishment. Take Google (GOOG), which dropped 8.6% on February 1, to $515.90, after missing the average earnings estimate by just one penny when it reported the night before.

But consumer staples companies, such as Clorox (CLX), which earns its revenue from such humble items as plastic wrap and laundry detergent, are a different story. The company reports earnings February 4. Sure, a big miss could be taken by Wall Street to mean the worst is yet to come. But ultimately, regardless of whether it meets its mark exactly, Clorox has a time-tested product line and innovative new additions that make it a long-term keeper.

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Elizabeth Leary
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance
Elizabeth Leary (née Ody) first joined Kiplinger in 2006 as a reporter, and has held various positions on staff and as a contributor in the years since. Her writing has also appeared in Barron's, BloombergBusinessweek, The Washington Post and other outlets.