Given the right sort of cash flows and a good return on invested capital, I'll look just about anywhere for a stock that might be cheap enough to buy. Heck, I'll even look in a paint can -- or rather, at the company behind the paint can. In today's case, that means Sherwin-Williams
While Sherwin-Williams' business might be relatively easy to understand, that doesn't automatically follow for the financials. Sure, sales were up by more than 14%, and that's easy enough to grasp. So, too, is the fact that the gross margin slid a bit on higher raw-material costs. Beyond that, though, you have to play the game of adding back charges, gains, and so on. When it's all said and done, though, the maker of Dutch Boy and Krylon looks to have boosted earnings per share by about 31%.
Individually, the paint store business did best of all the units, with sales up more than 16% and operating profits up nearly 23%. Strong contractor sales helped fuel a nearly 15% increase in same-store sales. In the consumer segment, though, good sales growth (above 9%) was offset on the operating line by a big asset impairment charge relating to a planned reduction in business to Wal-Mart
While high chemical and energy prices have been bad news for other paint and coating suppliers such as Akzo Nobel
What's a little odd about Sherwin-Williams' stock is that while it's very near its 52-week high and is up nearly 25% for the past year, it still looks attractively priced. Maybe worries about a slowdown in housing have people avoiding this stock, but I don't think a slowdown in new housing construction or housing sales would be all that serious of a blow. Plus, with conservative numbers in the cash flow model, this still looks like a company worth an investor's time.
For more home-improvement Takes:
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Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).