Decent headline sales growth across the business and an improvement in operating profit, operating margin and free cash flow helped to drive a 5% spike in Unilever’s share price at the market open.
That was one of its strongest sessions on the stock market in a long time, helped by quarterly sales beating estimates.
Danni Hewson, head of financial analysis at AJ Bell, said: “But dig deeper and there are several reasons not to get carried away.
“First, group sales growth has come entirely from putting up prices, not shifting more units of products. The sign of a good business is one that can grow prices and volumes. Unilever’s group volumes actually declined in both the first and second quarter periods.
“Second, chief executive Hein Schumacher is still new in the role and it’s easy to get excited when a new leader delivers messages of optimism.
“He talks about bringing greater focus, sharper execution and a simplified operating model. We’ve heard all of this before and the proof of the pudding will be in the execution, not simply sweet-talking investors into thinking a new CEO automatically equates to greater success.”