Why 3M Is Sinking Despite Solid Earnings

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When 3M Co. (NYSE: MMM) reported its third-quarter financial results before the markets opened on Tuesday, the company said that it had $2.15 in earnings per share (EPS) and $7.71 billion in revenue. The consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters had called for $2.14 in EPS and revenue of $7.71 billion, and in the same period of last year, EPS of $2.05 and $7.71 billion in revenue were posted.

Organic local-currency sales growth was 2.9% in Consumer, 2.0% in Safety and Graphics, and 1.5% in Health Care. On the other hand, declines were seen in Industrial and in Electronics and Energy of of 1.1% and 8.1%, respectively.

For full-year 2016, 3M updated its forecast for earnings per share to be in the range of $8.15 to $8.20, versus a prior range of $8.15 to $8.30. The company now expects organic local-currency sales growth to be approximately flat, versus a previous range of 0% to 1%.

The consensus estimates are $8.22 in EPS and $30.16 billion in revenue for the full year.

3M paid $670 million in cash dividends to shareholders and repurchased $774 million of its own shares during the quarter. The company has a market cap of $103.5 billion.

On the books, 3M’s cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities totaled $2.67 billion at the end of the quarter, up from $1.76 billion in the same period last year.

Inge G. Thulin, board chair, president and chief executive of 3M, commented:

Our third quarter was marked by increased earnings, robust cash flow and a strong, broad-based margin performance – with each of our business groups posting margins of 22 percent or greater. At the same time, we continued to execute on Business Transformation while taking several actions to strengthen and focus our portfolio. We were also pleased to celebrate our company’s 100th consecutive year of paying dividends, which we’ve increased for each of the last 58 years.

Shares of 3M closed Monday up 1% at $171.27, with a consensus analyst price target of $182.40 and a 52-week trading range of $134.64 to $182.27. Following the release of the earnings report, the stock was down about 1.6% at $168.60 in early trading indications Tuesday.