Spice seller McCormick
Second-quarter sales rose 8% (what other news organizations are calling "solid sales growth"). However, favorable foreign exchange rates accounted for a whole five percentage points of the 8% increase, leaving just 3% sales growth.
Last month, we wrote that investors would soon see stronger results from international corporations because the dollar had fallen sharply in value, effectively inflating overseas earnings when converted back to dollars. As such, second-quarter results from the likes of international players Coca-Cola
McCormick's net income was up 18% to $39.9 million, or $0.28 per diluted share, on $569 million in sales. To management's credit, gross margins grew nearly 1% to 35.8%, smart acquisitions continue to add upside, and even a 3% fundamental sales increase is decent for the spice and food packaging giant.
For the year, the company expects 8% to 10% sales gains (aided by currencies and acquisition) and up to 12% earnings growth. In 2004, it expects to return to its 3% to 7% rate of long-term sales growth. The $27 stock trades at a generous-looking 18.6 times this year's $1.45-per-share estimate, about 33 times last year's free cash flow, and yields 1.8%.