For quite some time, Donaldson (NYSE:DCI) has been a high-flying maverick that announces positive earnings surprises almost as frequently as Nigerian princes offer me opportunities to get rich. Every time I looked, though, it seemed to be just a tad too expensive for my miserly style of investing -- until now. The panic has brought shares of this global leader in filtration technology to lower levels, and the price may finally be right for accumulating Donaldson's shares.

Donaldson probably isn't the first company that springs to mind when you're looking for a place to park some extra cash, but if you happen to take a look, you might take a liking to this industrial. It sells its filters to giants like Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT), General Electric (NYSE:GE), and Boeing (NYSE:BA) and has a habit of exceeding Wall Street's expectations. After Monday's close, it announced a record performance for its fiscal 2009 first-quarter financial results, which were driven by strong sales in its aerospace and defense, industrial filtration, and gas turbine businesses. Diluted earnings per share were $0.60 on $573.3 million in revenues -- increases of 13% and 9% over last year's quarter, respectively.

Between the earnings announcement and increasing its cash dividend by 5% last week, Donaldson's stock price has been inching upward. However, its P/E ratio of 15 is still far cheaper than a year ago. But 2009 is unlikely to be a year for setting sales records. Like Woodward Governor (NASDAQ:WGOV), which peddles its wares to some of the same customers, Donaldson expects a flattish top line.

While Donaldson has taken cost-containing measures and continually looks for places to grow in order to offset perceived areas of weakness, anything could happen to its stock. Industrial companies that operate globally and cycle with the broader economy aren't for everyone.

However, I think it has good long-term prospects, and I'm glad I took notice when I did. You see, every year at this time, I have the same dilemma. The holidays near, and I start trying to find unique stocks to buy for my portfolio, which is no small task because it already has practically everything and is very picky. This year, though, I just might end my shopping early -- with Donaldson.

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Chris Jones does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy uses LIFO in inflationary environments, yet its earnings always rise.