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Bad Tidings From 3M

3M (MMM) slid 7% Friday after the manufacturer warned that second-quarter earnings will miss previous forecasts.

Before items, 3M expects to earn $1.04 to $1.09 a share on sales of $5.7 billion in the quarter. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were forecasting earnings of $1.17 a share on sales of $5.71 billion in the quarter. The miss sent the stock down $5.96, or 7.3%, to $75.43.

"This second-quarter performance was impacted in large part by lower-than-expected sales volumes and higher-than-anticipated new capacity start-up costs in its optical systems division, a part of 3M's display and graphics business segment," the company said.

"As other companies in the LCD industry have recently noted, the industry has experienced an increase in inventory levels over the last few months, particularly in desktop monitors, which has significantly impacted sales of 3M optical films," the company said. "Coincident with this, it appears the industry overestimated demand for LCD televisions in anticipation of the FIFA World Cup and has temporarily reduced production accordingly, also impacting sales of our optical films.

"Finally, as demand for LCD TV accelerates, we expect LCD film sales will increasingly follow more seasonal patterns, with revenues being lowest in the second quarter and higher in the third and fourth quarters in anticipation of the holiday season," 3M said.

The earnings warning was badly timed for J.P. Morgan, which earlier Friday argued the shares are relatively cheap, particularly for this late stage of a strong economic cycle. The brokerage upgraded the stock to overweight from neutral.

"A high-quality portfolio that shows relatively less cyclicality with a pristine financial position makes 3M an excellent 'late, late' cycle stock," J.P. Morgan wrote. "3M exhibited significant outperformance through the turbulence of the last recession."

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