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Momentum

Michael Vodicka

Kraton Performance Polymers, Inc.

KRA

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Kraton Performance Polymers, Inc.'s (KRA - Snapshot Report) share price is up more than 100% since going public in December of 2009. The company's recent Q2 earnings surprise and rising estimates make this Zacks #1 rank stock a solid momentum pick.

Company Description

Kraton Performance Polymers, Inc., through its subsidiaries, sells a line of specialty chemicals for industrial and consumer applications worldwide. The company changed its name in 2009 and has a market cap of $843 million.

Kraton gave its share price a nice little pop in early August after reporting better than expected Q2 results that included a hefty 88% earnings surprise.

Second-Quarter Results

Revenue for the period was up 42% from last year to $332 million. Earnings also came in strong at $1.24. 88% ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate. The nice surprise comes on the heels of last quarters 300% beat.

Kraton noted that the good quarter was driven by stronger demand related to recovering global markets and some solid pricing power than enabled the company to raise its prices on higher material costs.

The company also added that its presence in China continues to grow, where it plans to add additional capacities to meet future demand.

Balance Sheet

Kraton's balance sheet took a little bit of a hit over the last year, with its cash position down $30 million to $69 million while its debt held mostly steady at $383 million.

Estimates

Estimates took a really nice jump on the strong quarter, with the current year up 77 cents to $3.39. The next-year estimate is up 75 cents to $3.44, a modest 1.5% growth projection.

Valuation

Not only does Kraton have momentum, it also has value, with its share price trading at 8X forward earnings, a nice discount to its peer average of 12X.

6-Month Chart

KRA has more than doubled since going public last year, recently hitting a new all-time high at $27.99 after surging on the good quarter. The stochastic below the chart is signaling that shares are trading safely away from over-bought territory. Look for support from the short-term low and long-term trend line on any weakness. Take a look below.

KRA: Kraton Performance Polymers, Inc. >
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Michael Vodicka is the Momentum Stock Strategist for Zacks.com. He is also the Editor in charge of the new Zacks Momentum Trader Service.

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