I've been a computer geek for longer than I care to admit, and I remember when LexmarkInternational
This morning's earnings release shows that the smaller firm continues to shoot upward, building on its strong roots in the printing business. Today's results are much cheerier than the somber predictions that management made back in January.
For the first quarter, revenues jumped 13% to $1.3 billion and diluted earnings per share nearly doubled that increase, climbing 25% to $0.91. The earnings growth was driven by a 0.6% increase in gross margins and a decrease in operating expenses as a percentage of revenue.
In short, the firm still looks like a business with a license to print money, and it looks well-positioned to capitalize on increased demand for computers. While other firms such as Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation Dell
Valuing the firm is the tough task. At around $93 per share, the stock isn't far off its recent 52-week high, but there is little reason to be spooked by the P/E ratio of 28, even though analysts predict only 12% earnings growth for the year. Lexmark has a history of good-looking free cash flow. Last year, $654 million poured in, so today, the enterprise value is 17.5 times that trailing free cash flow. That's a discount to the rest of the market, and suggests that the company has more climbing to do before it tops out.
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