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Armstrong World Industries (AWI) Up 3% Since Last Earnings Report: Can It Continue?

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It has been about a month since the last earnings report for Armstrong World Industries (AWI - Free Report) . Shares have added about 3% in that time frame, underperforming the S&P 500.

Will the recent positive trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is Armstrong World Industries due for a pullback? 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.

Second-Quarter 2018 Results
 
Armstrong World Industries, Inc. reported adjusted earnings of $1.01 per share in second-quarter 2018, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimates of $1.04 by 2.9%. However, the reported figure increased from 87 cents per share in the prior-year quarter.

Net sales of $248.6 million surpassed the consensus estimate of $246 million by 1.1%. Also, the figure increased 10.2% year over year, driven by higher Mineral Fiber and Architectural Specialties volumes, and greater average unit values ("AUV") in the Mineral Fiber segment.

Including one-time items, Armstrong reported earnings per share of 90 cents compared with 81 cents a year ago.

Operational Update

Cost of sales grew 18.2% to $165.9 million from $140.4 million in the prior-year quarter. Gross profit declined 2.9% to $82.7 million in the reported quarter from $85.2 million in the year-ago quarter. Selling, general and administrative (SG&A) expenses increased 14.6% year over year to $40.9 million. Operating income decreased 4.6% year over year to $66 million due to higher depreciation (associated with closure of the St. Helens facility), as well as manufacturing and input costs. However, these factors were offset by positive Mineral Fiber AUV and volume growth in both Mineral Fiber and Architectural Specialties segments.

Adjusted EBITDA improved 12.2% year over year to $95 million, driven by volume growth in both Mineral Fiber and Architectural Specialties businesses, solid AUV and higher equity earnings from WAVE. However, these factors were partially offset by higher SG&A expenses, as well as increased manufacturing and input costs.

Segment Performance

Mineral Fiber: Net sales at the segment climbed 8.7% year over year to $206.7 million from $190.1 million in the prior-year quarter. Operating income dipped 7.2% to $59.5 million in the quarter from $64.1 million reported in the prior-year quarter.

Architectural Specialties: The segment’s sales increased 18% year over year to $41.9 million from $35.5 million recorded in the year-ago quarter. The segment’s operating profit rose 6.2% year over year to $8.6 million from $8.1 million in the prior-year quarter.

Financials

The quarter ended with cash and cash equivalents of $139 million compared with $79.7 million at the end of the prior-year quarter.

Net cash flow provided by operations was $63 million in the last reported quarter compared with $32 million recorded in the year-earlier quarter.

Guidance

For 2018, Armstrong World reaffirmed its net sales growth outlook at 5-7%, adjusted EBITDA growth of 10% and free cash flow improvement of 20-30%. The company repurchased $105 million shares in the first half of 2018. Since the inception of the repurchase program in 2016, Armstrong World bought back 4.7 million shares at an average share price of $48.34.

How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?

In the past month, investors have witnessed an upward trend in fresh estimates.

VGM Scores

At this time, Armstrong World Industries has a great Growth Score of A, though it is lagging a lot on the Momentum Score front with a D. Charting a somewhat similar path, the stock was allocated a grade of C on the value side, putting it in the middle 20% for this investment strategy.

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

Our style scores indicate that the stock is more suitable for growth investors than value investors.

Outlook

Estimates have been trending upward for the stock, and the magnitude of these revisions looks promising. It comes with little surprise Armstrong World Industries has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). We expect an above average return from the stock in the next few months.




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