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LSB Industries, Inc. (LXU)

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LSB Industries, Inc. reported some strong results for its fourth-quarter yesterday, which led this manufacturing and marketing company to the apex of the Zacks #1 Rank Top Performers List today.

Shares of this chemical products and heat pumps company jumped by practically 11% on Wednesday. That result was the only double digit gainer for the day, and also more than doubled the runner up’s performance. Volume soared past 1.1 million shares, compared to the daily average of only about 155,000.

The quarter saw earnings per share reach $1.19, which was nearly 40% better than the Zacks Consensus Estimate at 86 cents. Revenue jumped 25% to $215.4 million from $172.2 million in the previous year.

The big catalyst for the quarter was LXU’s chemical business, where sales advanced 46% to $142 million from $97.3 million in 2010. Operating income was up to $37.6 million, versus $19.6 million last year.

LSB Industries expects a positive outlook for 2012, even though it continues to grapple with uncertain economic conditions and some downward pressure on fertilizer prices during winter months.

There are only three analysts covering the company for 2012, but the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the year has improved in the past 30 days. The guidance is up nearly 4% in that time to $3.75 per share. Only one analyst is accounted for in that gain, so there is a possibility for further upside as the quarterly results are studied.

There’s only one analyst covering for 2013, but the Zacks Consensus Estimate is at $4.93 per share, suggesting year-over-year profit potential of more than 30%. The guidance is up 12% in 30 days.

The principal business activities of LSB Industries consist of the manufacture and sale of commercial and residential climate control products, such as geothermal and water source heat pumps, hydronic fan coils and modular geothermal chillers, and large custom air handlers; and the manufacture and sale of chemical products for the agricultural, mining, and industrial markets.

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