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Consolidated Graphics, Inc. (CGX) recently said it saw some improving economic conditions heading into the second quarter even as sales declined in the first quarter. CGX has a solid 5-year return on equity of 14%.

Consolidated Graphics operates commercial printing businesses in 27 states, Toronto and Prague. It has 70 facilities with advanced sheetfed printing capabilities, web printing capabilities and digital printing services.

Consolidated Acquires the Hickory Printing Group

On June 1, the company announced it was acquiring certain assets of North Carolina-based The Hickory Printing Group for an undisclosed sum. Founded in 1917, Hickory is one of the largest commercial printers in the southeastern United States.

Consolidated Surprised for the Third Quarter in a Row

On May 5, Consolidated reported first quarter results and surprised on the Zacks Consensus by a penny. But it was enough to extend the earnings surprise streak for the third quarter.

Earnings per share were 48 cents compared to the consensus of 47 cents.

Sales declined 4.1% to $237 million compared to the first quarter of 2009 due to lower same-store sales.

Sales Expected to Improve in the Second Quarter

The company said it saw evidence of improving economic conditions but that projections remained difficult. But Consolidated still expected second quarter sales to grow 5% to a range of $226 to $236 million.

Full Year Zacks Consensus Estimate Moves Higher

There is only 1 full year estimate but it has moved up by 29 cents in the last 30 days to $2.84 per share. This is well above 2009's earnings per share of $1.96. That would be earnings growth of 44.9%.

Consolidated Has Value Characteristics

Consolidated Graphics is trading with attractive valuations. It has a forward P/E of 14.9, which is just within the value parameters of a P/E under 15. The company also has a price-to-book ratio of 1.8.

Tracey Ryniec is the Value Stock Strategist for She is also the Editor in charge of the market-beating Zacks Value Trader service.

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