The weakening global economy has taken its toll on all manner of big, U.S.-based companies. For instance, Caterpillar
But Fools would be well advised to keep their eyes on 3M
Net income reached $991 million, or $1.41 per share, compared to $960, or $1.32 per share in the same quarter of 2007. And without those good old one-time items, the latest quarter would have reached $999 million on the net line.
Among 3M's seven business segments, five checked in with sales increases from the same quarter in 2007. The two largest units -- Industrial and Transportation, and Health Care -- were in double-digit territory, while Safety, Security, and Protection Services, the third-largest segment, led the parade with a 27.1% jump.
Even in the midst of the unfavorable global economy, 3M managed to boost its operating income margin by 60 basis points to 23.2%, excluding special items. Even more impressive, operation margins for each segmented clocked in above 20%.
Looking ahead, management expects 2008 adjusted earning to come in between $5.40 and $5.48 per share, indicating growth of 8.4% to 10% from 2007. That's but a tiny pullback from the earlier 10% expectation.
So 3M joins Honeywell
It seems, however, that given the nature of its products and the across-the-board consistency of its growth in revenues and profitability, 3M justifies consideration for a position in the big-cap portion of Foolish portfolios. There clearly are fewer and fewer candidates remaining for that position of honor.
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