Remember when pre-adolescents in go-karts were free to ramble around on suburban streets, and having a respectable lawn was among a homeowner's biggest concerns? Those were simpler times -- times I think of as the golden age of Briggs & Stratton
Now with the housing slump lasting into another year, those good times are just a faint memory. Maybe Briggs & Stratton's small engines and power equipment are so well-built that their useful lives are too long -- reducing repeat business. Or perhaps nowadays fewer consumers are shopping for power tools at Sears
Whatever the root cause, the company has seen its stock drop for four consecutive years and needs to regain its footing. Recent results offered a glimmer of hope. Interim earnings soundly beat expectations, totaling $0.06 per diluted share on flat revenues from second quarter 2008. Management gave full-year EPS guidance of $0.81 to $1.01, compared to just $0.46 in its 2008 fiscal year. In other words, the company is telling competitors like Toro
Just the beginning?
Even though the high end of Briggs' estimates is still a far cry from the levels reached during its glory days, the Milwaukee-based company would probably welcome a few changes that would give it a boost. Unexpected climate change could bring harsher winters, bolstering sales in certain segments. The idea here is that people would essentially be forced to buy generators, snow removal products, and even Arctic Cat snowmobiles when they'd normally spend that money elsewhere.
Another possibility that could help Briggs in the near term might come through further government-sponsored stimulus. Still, I can't help but wonder if Briggs' golden age and the housing boom went hand in hand. Perhaps if mortgage giants like Fannie Mae
Do your due diligence before deciding whether to add this stock to your portfolio, but to me, Briggs is a good bet. With a dividend yield of nearly 6%, you'll be well rewarded while you wait for a rebound.
Chris Jones has neither long nor short positions involving any company mentioned in this article. Toro is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems pick. Sears Holdings is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days; you want us in your corner. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.