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5 Buy-Rated Materials Companies

2. The Valspar Corp.

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Shares of The Valspar Corp. (VAL - Get Report) of Minneapolis closed at $33.81, down 1% year-to-date. Based on a quarterly payout of 18 cents, the shares have a dividend yield of 2.13%.

The company manufactures coatings, paints and related products. The Coatings segment provides coatings for metal, wood and plastic primarily to manufacturers worldwide. The Paints segment provides paint products under its own brand and private label brands through wholesale and retail distributors in the U.S. and Canada.

For the fiscal first quarter ended January 28, Valspar reported net income of $33.4 million, or 34 cents a share, down slightly from $33.9 million, or 34 cents a share, a year earlier. Net sales for the first fiscal quarter were $842.4 million, increasing 25% year-over-year. The consensus estimates are for the company to earn $2.57 a share in fiscal 2011 and $2.89 a share in fiscal 2012.

On April 5, Dmitry Silversteyn of Longbow Research reiterated his neutral rating on Valspar, saying the company's "gross margins are likely to remain down," because of an increase in raw material costs, and that the shares "may be range-bound in the short- to mid-term until raw material price pressures are alleviated and gross margins begin to comp positively on a year/year basis.

Out of 12 analysts covering Valspar, three rate the shares a buy, eight have neutral ratings and one analyst recommends selling the shares.

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