Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to . miss analyst estimates by $0.06.
OK, so it doesn't rhyme. But with industrial goods mid-cap Graco
Graco -- the Minneapolis-based maker of (among other things) those cool paint sprayers that apparently allow you to spruce up your entire neighborhood in a matter of seconds -- reported third-quarter earnings yesterday, checking in before the market's opening bell with figures that, at first blush, seemed strong.
To wit: Net sales at the company grew by 19% relative to the same period last year, while earnings were up some 7%, climbing to nearly $31 million. All told, Graco shareholders got their Q3 tickets punched to the tune of $0.44 per share, as opposed to the $0.41 a stub they received in 2004 -- an upward trajectory the company has maintained across the first three quarters of its current fiscal year.
Beyond that, the company has been a long-haul overachiever, too, delivering an average annualized return in excess of 25% for the trailing 10 years that ended with September.
Well, actually, no -- at least not if you happen to be a Wall Street analyst. As a group, analysts expected the company to deliver $0.50 per share, and consequently, Graco's stock got spanked on Monday, falling by more than 9% to close at $32.35 on the day.
That's more than 20% below the company's 52-week high and right near its 52-week low. With its trailing 12-month price-to-earnings and price-to-sales multiples that hover higher than those of such competitors as Illinois Tool Works
Meanwhile, current shareholders may not want to part with Graco's stock just now. Indeed, given the company's rock-solid track record, now might be a good time to consider applying another coat to this boring company.
Further snooze-inducing Foolishness:
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Shannon Zimmerman runs point on The Motley Fool's Champion Funds newsletter service and owns shares of none of the companies mentioned above. You can check out the Fool's disclosure policy by clicking right here .