Coating and chemical maker PPG Industries (PPG) has been having a mixed year in 2011. While the firm's revenue and profitability are bumping up against pre-recession highs, that fundamental success isn't being reflected in shares. Even so, investors shouldn't be ignoring this stock at current levels -- especially with a 2.82% yield.
PPG's core coatings business generates nearly three-quarters of the firm's sales, providing customers with the materials to paint and protect everything from airplanes and appliances to houses. Because PPG is the leader in coatings, the firm is able to generate high recurring revenues through industrial customers who get proprietary formulations direct from the source. That stickiness should help to buoy shares even as industrial numbers in the broad economy have failed to excite investors.Because of PPG's exposure to the industrial segment, the firm has seen an increasing share of its business coming from the emerging markets. Today, emerging sales make up more than a quarter of the company's total revenues, a factor that insulates the firm somewhat from sluggishness in the Western manufacturing space. Even though a growth-by-acquisition strategy has built a material debt load for PPG, ample cash generation capabilities more than offset it. One big bet on PPG in the most recently reported quarter comes from Ken Fisher's Fisher Investments, whose 6.3 million-share position in the stock comprises 1.5% of its total portfolio.
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