Is 3M in Trouble After Q3 Earnings?

When 3M Co. (NYSE: MMM) released its third-quarter financial results before the markets opened on Thursday, the firm said that it had $2.72 in earnings per share (EPS) and $8.0 billion in revenue. That compared with consensus estimates of $2.49 in EPS and $8.16 billion in revenue, as well as the $2.58 per share and $8.15 billion in the same period of last year.

Organic local-currency sales declined 1.3%, while acquisitions, net of divestitures, increased sales by 0.6%. Foreign currency translation reduced sales by 1.3% year over year.

Total sales grew 4.7% in Health Care and 1.7% in Consumer, with declines of 4.4% in Transportation and Electronics and 5.7% in Safety and Industrial. Organic local-currency sales increased 2.6% in Consumer and 2.0% in Health Care, with declines of 3.3% in Safety and Industrial, and 3.4% in Transportation and Electronics.

Looking ahead to the fourth quarter, the company expects to see EPS in the range of $2.05 to $2.15 and an organic local-currency sales loss of 1% to 3%. Consensus estimates call for $2.41 in EPS and $8.07 billion in revenue for the coming quarter.

Mike Roman, 3M board chair and chief executive, commented:

The 3M team delivered strong operational performance in the third quarter. While the macroeconomic environment remains challenging, we executed well and built on the progress we made in the second quarter. We continued to effectively manage costs and reduce inventory levels, while generating strong margins and cash flow.

Shares of 3M closed Wednesday at $168.76, in a 52-week range of $150.58 to $219.75. The consensus price target is $172.00. Following the announcement, the stock was down over 1% at $166.00 in early trading indications Thursday.