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3M Company (MMM) Up 1.5% Since Earnings Report: Can It Continue?

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A month has gone by since the last earnings report for 3M Company (MMM - Free Report) . Shares have lost about 1.5% in that time frame, underperforming the market.

Will the recent negative trend continue leading up to the stock's next earnings release, or is it due for a breakout? Before we dive into how investors and analysts have reacted as of late, let's take a quick look at the most recent earnings report in order to get a better handle on the important catalysts.

3M Slightly Misses Q2 Earnings Despite Organic Growth

Driven by broad-based organic growth across all segments, 3M reported strong second-quarter 2017 results with healthy year-over-year increase in earnings and revenues. GAAP earnings for the reported quarter were $1,583 million or $2.58 per share compared with $1,291 million or $2.08 per share in the year-earlier quarter. The year-over-year improvement in earnings was largely due to higher sales. However, the reported earnings missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by $0.01.    

Net sales during the quarter were $7,810 million, up from $7,662 million in the year-ago quarter, but missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $7,879 million. Foreign currency translation impact and divestures decreased sales by 0.6% and 1%, respectively, while organic local-currency sales improved 3.5%.       

On a geographic basis, total sales increased 8.3% in Asia Pacific, 2.5% in Latin America/Canada, and 0.5% in the U.S and declined 3.6% in EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa). From a segment perspective, total sales increased 7.5% in Electronics and Energy, 2.5% in Industrial, 1.8% in Health Care, and 0.5% in Consumer, somewhat offset by a 0.9% decline in Safety and Graphics. Operating income in the reported quarter increased to $2,184 million from $1,866 million in the year-ago-quarter, resulting in respective operating margins of 28.0% and 24.4%.

Segment Results

Industrial segment sales increased 2.5% year over year to $2,720 million with improvement in all regions, driven by higher sales of advanced materials, automotive and aerospace solutions, and industrial adhesives and tapes, partially offset by lower sales of separation and purification sciences products. Operating income decreased 15.6% year over year to $523 million for operating margin of 19.2%.

Health Care segment sales improved 1.8% to $1,440 million in the reported quarter, driven by higher sales in drug delivery systems, food safety, and medical consumables. Operating income fell 10.6% year over year to $412 million for operating margin of 28.6%.

Consumer segment revenues were $1,137 million, up 0.5% year over year, driven by higher sales in home improvement, home care and consumer health care. Operating income was $195 million, down 30.4% year over year for operating margin of 17.2%.

Safety and Graphics segment sales decreased 0.9% year over year to $1,547 million, owing to lower sales in roofing granules and transportation safety. Operating income increased 102% year over year to $852 million for operating margin of 55.1%.

Electronics and Energy segment revenues were $1,214 million, up 7.5% year over year due to growth in electronics material solutions and display materials and systems. Operating income was up 38.8% year over year to $301 million for operating margin of 24.8%.

Balance Sheet and Cash Flow    

Cash and cash equivalents at quarter end were $2,654 million, while long-term debt stood at $11,088 million. Cash flow from operating activities for the reported quarter was $1,642 million compared with $1,285 million in the year-ago period, bringing the respective tallies for the first six months of the year to $2,630 million and $2,545 million. Free cash flow generated for the quarter was $1,340 million, up from $962 million in the prior-year period. During the reported quarter, 3M paid $701 million in cash dividends and repurchased $494 million worth of shares.  

Updated Guidance

Buoyed by strong quarterly results and favorable growth dynamics, 3M raised its earlier guidance for 2017. The company anticipates 2017 GAAP earnings in the range of $8.80 to $9.05 per share, up from prior projections of $8.70–$9.05. This represents year-over-year growth of 8–11%, up from 7–11% expected earlier. Organic local-currency sales are expected to be 3–5%, up from 2–5% expected earlier, while free cash flow conversion rate is anticipated to be 95–100%.

How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?

Analysts were quiet during the past month as none of them issued any earnings estimate revisions.

3M Company Price and Consensus


VGM Scores

At this time, the stock has an average Growth Score of C, though it is lagging a bit on the momentum front with a D. Following the exact same course, the stock was allocated also a grade of D on the value side, putting it in the bottom 40% for this investment strategy.

Overall, the stock has an aggregate VGM Score of D. If you aren't focused on one strategy, this score is the one you should be interested in.

The stock is suitable solely for growth based on our styles scores.


The stock has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). We are expecting an inline return from the stock in the next few months.

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