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Dow Jones News: 3M Announces Layoffs; Apple Has a Lot to Prove Today

By Timothy Green - Jan 28, 2020 at 12:16PM

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A mixed report and layoffs hurt 3M stock, and Apple is set to report this afternoon.

After a miserable Monday for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI 1.81%), the Dow staged a recovery on Tuesday, up 0.65% at 11:10 a.m. EST. News out of China regarding the coronavirus outbreak has only gotten worse, but the stock market was able to shake off the escalating crisis, at least for a day.

Moving lower on Tuesday was 3M (MMM 1.19%) after a mixed report, restructuring charges, and the announcement of layoffs. Meanwhile, Apple (AAPL 2.26%) stock was higher in the lead-up to the company's earnings report this afternoon.

3M announces layoffs after mixed results

Shares of 3M were down 5.1% Tuesday morning after the industrial conglomerate reported lackluster fourth-quarter results. Adjusted earnings came in higher than expected, but revenue fell short of analyst estimates. The company also announced layoffs and a substantial restructuring charge as part of its transformation efforts.

A 3M facility.

Image source: 3M.

3M reported fourth-quarter revenue of $8.1 billion, up 2.1% year over year but $10 million below analyst expectations. Acquisitions accounted for all of 3M's growth, with sales on an organic local-currency basis down 2.6%.

Earnings per share came in at $1.66, down 27% year over year. This number included charges of $0.49 per share not included in the company's guidance. A $0.20-per-share charge was related to restructuring, while a $0.29-per-share charge was related to litigation-related expenses. Excluding those charges, adjusted EPS of $2.15 beat analyst estimates by $0.05.

As part of 3M's plan to adopt a new global operating model and streamlined organizational structure, the company announced that it would lay off 1,500 employees across all business groups. 3M expects to save between $110 million and $120 million annually on a pre-tax basis thanks to the move.

For 2020, 3M sees organic local-currency sales growth between 0% and 2%, and earnings per share between $9.30 and $9.75. Excluding one-time charges, the company produced EPS of $9.10 in 2019.

While the expectation of sales and earnings growth this year is good news, the market didn't react well to 3M's report.

Apple reports this afternoon

Investors will learn how Apple performed during the holiday season when the tech giant reports its fiscal first-quarter results after the market closes today. With the stock at historically expensive levels, expectations are running high. Shares of Apple were up 2% in the morning in anticipation.

Analysts are expecting Apple to report sales of $88.5 billion and earnings per share of $4.55, up from $84.3 billion and $4.18, respectively, in the prior-year period. The comparison will be pretty easy, as Apple reported a steep 15% decline in iPhone sales in the first quarter of fiscal 2019.

Strong growth from services and wearables like the Apple Watch and AirPods is likely. The iPhone business may grow as well, given that the iPhone 11 family appears to be doing better than the previous generation. China is a bit of a wildcard. Sales of iPhones in China crashed in October and November but rebounded in December.

Going forward, the coronavirus outbreak in China could dampen consumer spending and hurt Apple's sales in the country. With the death toll escalating each day, containment of the virus remains elusive.

Shares of Apple gained 85% in 2019, a miraculous rally for a company now valued well over $1 trillion. If Apple misses expectations with its first-quarter report, some of those gains could be undone in short order.

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3M Company
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