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6 Cement Stocks Worth Buying: Analysts

Stocks in this article: TXI MLM USG CX CRH CADC

5. Martin Marietta Materials (MLM) engages in the production of aggregates for the construction industry, including infrastructure, agricultural, nonresidential, and residential. Broadly, the company operates in two segments: aggregates and specialty products.

Of the 17 analysts covering the stock, 18% recommend a buy and 65% rate a hold. Data from Bloomberg has analysts forecasting the stock gaining 11.4% to $89.75 in the coming 12 months.

Net sales for 2011 first quarter were reported at $306.2 million, increasing 3.6% from $295.6 million in the same quarter prior year. Meanwhile, a significant improvement of 240 basis points was posted in the consolidated operating margin over the prior year quarter. Net loss narrowed to $17.4 million or 39 cents per share from $24.2 million or 54 cents per share in year-ago quarter.

The company recently paid a regular quarterly cash dividend of $1.60 per share on its common stock, or annualized dividend of $1.60 per share. Meanwhile, based on recent positive quarterly performances, S&P Ratings Services has upgraded its outlook on MLM to BBB+. The rating agency expects the company to maintain adequate liquidity, boosted by new revolving credit and term loan facilities that refinanced debt and extended the company's nearest maturity until 2015.

For full year 2011, the company guides capex at $175 million. The company's specialty products segment is forecast to contribute $50 to $52 million in pretax earnings. With stability in aggregates shipments, prices will show sustained increases. Overall, full year 2011 aggregates pricing will range from flat to 2% increase.

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