Shares of Ball Corporation (BLL - Free Report) hit a new 52-week high of $52.12 during yesterday’s trading session before closing lower at $52.04. Shares of metal and plastic packaging manufacturer for beverages and foods had touched a 52-week high recently on Dec 27.
Over the past 52 weeks, Ball Corporation shares have ranged between a 52-week low of $41.52 on Jun 28, 2013 to a 52-week high of $52.12 on Jan 7. The company has delivered a one-year return of about 13.2%. Ball Corporation has a market cap of $7.53 billion. Average volume of shares traded over the last three months stood at approximately 849K. Ball Corporation has long-term estimated earnings per share growth rate of 10.6%.
What’s Driving Ball Corporation Upward?
Ball Corporation shares have gained support on the news on Jan 2 that the Department of Defense has awarded Ball Corporation a $9.1 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for Advanced Laser Effects Research (ALTER) into laser damage testing, and testing the vulnerability of target systems to laser weapons. Ball will be working on this contract through Jan 13, 2017.
Ball Corporation shares had earlier risen following its third quarter earnings on Oct 24. Ball Corporation reported third-quarter 2013 adjusted earnings of $1.00 per share, up 11% year over year led by better-than-expected global beverage can volumes and an improved seasonal vegetable harvest.
The company will continue to benefit from increased capacity in the Alagoinhas plant in Brazil. The plant began production earlier in 2012 and completed installation of a second can line that is capable of manufacturing multiple can sizes. This increased capacity will help the company to capitalize on the increased demand, spurred by the upcoming soccer World Cup in Brazil.
In Dec 2013, Ball acquired Envases del Plata S.A. de C.V., a leading producer of extruded aluminium aerosol packaging in Mexico. Demand for extruded aluminum packaging for personal care products continues to increase; thus providing new opportunities for Ball’s growing business.
In Nov 2013, Ball Corporation announced the closure of steel aerosol packaging manufacturing plant in Danville, Ill. Earlier in February, the company announced that it will close its Elgin, Ill., food and household products packaging facility in Dec 2013. These closures are consistent with the company's strategy to maintain an efficient manufacturing footprint and reduce costs. Ball has also initiated cost cutting measures in Europe, the benefits of which are expected to be realized in 2014 and 2015.
Other Stocks to Consider
Ball Corporation retains a short-term Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Some other stocks worth considering in the sector include Packaging Corporation of America (PKG - Free Report) , Crown Holdings Inc. (CCK - Free Report) and Silgan Holdings Inc. (SLGN - Free Report) . While Packaging Corporation holds a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Crown Holdings and Silgan carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).