Pampers Recall? Stock Market Crash? Proctor & Gamble's Really Bad Day

Suzanne Murray
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dow jones
Flickr photo by Doc Trader
We all have bad days. Today it just happened to be consumer-product giant Proctor & Gamble's turn.

First up: The stock market essentially crashed today. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by nearly 10 percent before rebounding sharply. Why? Reports say a trader entered a "b" for billion instead of an "m" for million in a trade possibly involving ... you guessed it, Proctor & Gamble.

P&G's sharp plunge was responsible for 172 of the 997.21 points that the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down at the nadir, the biggest one-day point decline on an intraday basis in Dow Jones history.

P&G made the following statement on its stock trading activity on May 6, 2010:

P&G's stock outperformed the broader market today, which is indicative that our growth strategies are working and we are delivering strong results. As we noted in our most recent quarterly results, volume grew seven percent, the fastest rate of organic volume growth in 18 quarters. This along with core earnings per share growth generated very strong cash flow. We recently increased the dividend by 9.5% and have increased our estimates for share repurchases for this fiscal year. We aren't in a position to comment on the details of an individual trade today but we believe the trade was an aberration.

Next: The US Consumer Product Safety Commission is investigating the company's Pampers Dry Max Diapers. Some parents say their kids got diaper rashes and chemical burns after wearing the product. But a spokesperson for Pampers dismissed the complaints saying, "It's one severe rash complaint for every six million diaper changes."

There's currently no diaper recall, but parents who are concerned about the safety of the product are urged to call the US Consumer Product Safety Commission hotline: 800-638-2772.

Pampers is the company's largest brand with annual sales of about $8 billion (note to Wall Street Trader Guy, that's a "b" not an "m"). As of Thursday evening, a Facebook group "Pampers Bring Back the Old Cruisers/Swaddlers" had over 4,600 members.

On its corporate website, P&G has a video promoting the company's purpose called "Everyday Moments" -- sounds like the company had some pretty extraordinary moments today.

Wonder what P&G CEO Robert (Bob) McDonald is doing tonight? Maybe someone should tell him it's the National Day of Prayer.

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