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Has 3M's Recent Slide Pushed It Into Value Stock Territory?

By Motley Fool Staff – Apr 30, 2018 at 4:26PM

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After an overwhelmingly upbeat 2017, the Dow 30 conglomerate scaled back its outlook a tad for this year, and its slide steepened.

In this segment from the MarketFoolery podcast, host Chris Hill is joined by special guest Bill Mann of Motley Fool One to parse the latest quarterly report from Minnesota-based multinational giant 3M (MMM -1.03%).

Its numbers were good, but it cut its 2018 forecast a touch, and after the serious 2017 run-up in its shares, it doesn't take much bad news to spook investors. The post-earnings drop was in the 7% range, tacked onto a decline that had already shaved a fair amount off its market cap. With 3M basically flat year over year, do the fundamentals make it look like a buying opportunity? The Fools consider.

A full transcript follows the video.

This video was recorded on April 24, 2018.

Chris Hill: Let's move on to the Dow, which has six of the 30 reporting today. We'll focus on Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing --

Bill Mann: Not much mining they do anymore, but I do love that they've maintained the name.

Hill: [laughs] Also known as 3M. Not exactly starting the new fiscal year off in the strongest of ways. First quarter revenue was higher than expected. Their profits were solid. But, they cut guidance for the full fiscal year. Not a ton, but enough.

Mann: Enough. Well, this is also -- again, we just talked about this with Alphabet -- a little bit of an expectations game. 3M had a massive 2017. If you were a shareholder in 3M, you almost could not help but make money. So, guidance, they cut a little bit. They're seeing some weaknesses in some of their divisions. Maybe we need to use a few more Post-it Notes around the office and help them out. But, there's nothing that's going on at 3M that is raising alarm bells with me. But, it's always the case that when a stock has done really, really well like that, bad news, even minor bad news, get amplified. And I think that's what we're seeing here.

Hill: And to your point about the performance of the stock, for a Dow, what we think of traditionally as the safe, solid blue-chip stocks, it really was a great 12 months, until you get to the beginning of February. Since then, it has given up more than 20%. It's basically flat over the last year, because it's given up between 20-25% of gains just over the last few months. One of the things management talked about with respect to this quarter was the organic growth that they saw. They liked what they saw in terms of organic growth across the board. So, I'm wondering, if you look at the stock since it's recently given up some gains, is this a value play type of situation? Because the thing about organic growth is, if that continues to play out over a few quarters, then this is a buying opportunity, because it's down about 7% this morning.

Mann: Yeah, I would think so. And organic growth is the kind of growth that you really want with any company. A lot of companies are really good at acquiring, but acquiring is much higher-risk growth, and usually it's more costly than --

Hill: I was going to say, it involves writing checks.

Mann: Yeah, it involves writing checks as opposed to, "Hey, people are buying more tape than they did a year ago," or, whatever product it is, they're buying more. So, yeah, there's a lot of stuff to like. I think the stock got very much ahead of itself. But, down nearly 20%, probably a good point in time in which to get in. But, at the same time, usually an inflection like this has a tail to it.

Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Bill Mann has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Chris Hill has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares) and Alphabet (C shares). The Motley Fool recommends 3M. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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