Since reporting earnings just a few short hours ago, shares of LCD glass-maker Corning
Check your rearview mirror
On its face, Corning's report was a blockbuster. Sales for the fiscal fourth quarter shot up 41% in comparison to last year's Q4, weighing in at a hefty $1.53 billion. Diluted earnings nearly tripled to $0.47 per share, helping to mitigate the damage of a pretty awful year (over the course of 2009, full year earnings tumbled 61%.)
Meanwhile, free cash flow surged. Adopting a modest tone, Corning claimed less than $800 million in free cash flow generated for the year. But in so doing, it dinged itself for every dollar spent on "investing activities," rather than the more traditional cost of just capital expenditures. If we give Corning credit under the usual rubric therefore (which I'm inclined to do), free cash flow actually tipped the scales at $1.2 billion -- a sixfold increase over last year.
Through the looking glass
Peering forward, Corning foresees Q1 glass sales rising sequentially. But overall, the company's betting on only a "mild recovery" in 2010, and promises it will "be cautious on spending and prepared to be nimble" in case the economic recovery should slip. But that may overstate the case.
According to a report out of the Wall Street Journal this morning, the rest of the LCD TV industry is taking a much more bullish stance on 2010. With LG Display
It all adds up to a very bullish scenario for the industry in general, and Corning in particular. So why are Corning shares getting cheaper today..?
Shhh! Don't ask. Don't look a gift horse in the mouth. Just say "thank you."
Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares of any company named above. Best Buy and Wal-Mart Stores are Motley Fool Inside Value recommendations. Apple, Amazon.com, and Best Buy are Motley Fool Stock Advisor selections. The Fool owns shares of Best Buy. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. The Fool has a disclosure policy.