Recent windstorms and thunderstorms in Illinois have me reaching for my Black & Decker
I'm always interested in looking at a company whose products appear in my home without my even realizing it, and checking out the firm's first-quarter report, I see I'm not the only one who's been tooling up for spring.
Sales climbed 16% over the same period last year to reach $1.06 billion, and Black & Decker nailed down earnings of $1.09 per share. The tally is $0.93 per share if you only count the green provided by continuing operations, but that was still enough to hit the high end of the range that the company provided earlier this month.
As fellow Fool Alyce Lomax recently pointed out, the firm isn't the only tool maker out there. Competitors such as Stanley Works
So, what would you pay for Black & Decker stock? That's the question. Alyce was skeptical about the current bullishness, and much as I hate to agree with anyone -- Foolish knee-jerk reaction -- I have to give a nod to this call. Just below a 52-week high near $60 per stub, the firm trades in territory it hasn't seen since the late '90s. At a P/E ratio of 16, it's slightly above its historical average.
A glance over the years shows a steady performer, but a slow grower. That's when I like to see consistent and copious free cash flow. Neither of those adjectives applies to Black & Decker's green. So, while investors may indeed see some upside even from here, it would be a bet against the odds.
If "free cash flow" sounds like "blah blah blah," learn about its virtues, especially in the under-watched companies that Tom Gardner looks for in Motley Fool Hidden Gems .