It's not just G20 politicians worrying about the economy. Major companies such as Procter & Gamble Co. and FedEx Corp. are wringing their hands – and slashing their forecasts.
P&G, the world's largest maker of consumer goods, cut its earnings and revenue predictions for the second time in as many months Wednesday, citing slowing growth and high unemployment in Europe and the U.S.
Instead of net sales going up as much as 2% in the fiscal fourth quarter, P&G said revenue could fall as much as 2%. Net earnings per share, rather than landing at $1.32 on the high end as earlier anticipated, will probably be capped at $1.26.
The company, responsible for brands such as Tide, Gillette, Crest and Duracell, was sending out its pessimistic signals at the Deutsche Bank Global Consumer Conference in Paris.
There, Chairman and Chief Executive Bob McDonald blamed volatile foreign exchange rates, high commodity costs and unfavorable government policies for the grim outlook.
P&G has lost market share in developed regions, which make up 60% of the company's sales but have suffered "slow to no GDP growth."
That's especially true in North America, where a quarter of households have at least one person looking for a job, McDonald said.
The company's results "haven't been as strong as we'd like," McDonald said, reiterating P&G's plan to achieve $10 billion in cost savings by the end of fiscal 2016 and remove 5,700 non-manufacturing jobs by the end of fiscal 2013.
"We are making the necessary adjustments to our growth strategy to increase focus on our core business and to achieve more balanced growth across geographies, product categories and the top and bottom lines," McDonald said.
The company plans to make its pricing more competitive and its innovations more groundbreaking, he said.
"We haven't created a new category or a meaningful new brand in some time," he said. "We haven't gotten as productive as we need to be and as quickly as we've needed to be more productive. Our execution has been inconsistent."
Earlier this week, FedEx similarly suggested that lagging economic growth would negatively affect its own performance. Its forecast earnings for the fiscal fist quarter and year disappointed investors.