Shares of Avon Products
The firm looks for $0.59 per share for the first quarter, a 15.7% premium to analysts' consensus estimate. For the full year, Avon raised its earnings target to nearly $3.20 per share. That trumps the $3.06 it had been expecting and would represent 15% earnings growth.
When we last checked on the Avon Lady, you could get a share for $65. It looked a bit rich then, but I sheepishly suggested it had room to run. If I were truly clever, I'd have ponied up for a few hundred shares. The stock is up 15% over the intervening month and a half while the rest of the market has languished in the porcelain bowl next to the makeup mirror.
But you know the feeling when you wipe off the makeup and the face staring back at you isn't quite as appealing? (Don't ask how I know.. ) Well, that's how Avon looks today. Note that I didn't say ugly, just not quite as attractive. And the only reason is the valuation. At $75 per stub, the company trades at 23 times forward guidance. Personally, I look for a lower multiple in a large, mature company with 15% earnings growth.
That said, Avon has a fine history of churning out free cash flow, and there is a 1.6% dividend yield. If the firm continues to outperform with its fast-growing international sales, naysayers like yours truly will look pretty homely indeed.
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