Mead Johnson Nutrition
The maker of nutritional products reported first-quarter earnings Thursday of $164.2 million, or 80 cents a share, up from year-earlier earnings of $146.1 million, or 71 cents.Analysts called for earnings of 78 cents a share. "Mead Johnson raised full year sales and EPS guidance on confidence in the growth prospects in Asia/Latin America and on the recovery of the U.S. business in North America," D.A. Davidson analysts wrote in a report Thursday. "EPS of $3.04-$3.14 is now expected, previously $3.00-$3.10, and sales are now expected to grow 9%-11%, previously 7%-9%. About 1.5% of that sales growth should come from the Argentina brand acquisition. The company expects to (easily) reach $1 billion in sales by 2015. Asia/Latin America has grown in strong double digits every quarter since the IPO in 2009." Shares of Mead Johnson hit a 52-week high Thursday of $87.27. The stock's 52-week low of $60.62 was set on Dec. 22. Mead Johnson's forward P/E is 24.05; the average for food products companies is 17.31. For comparison, ConAgra (CAG) has a lower forward P/E of 13.38. Ten of the 16 analysts who cover Mead Johnson rated it buy; six analysts gave the stock a hold rating. TheStreet Ratings gives Mead Johnson a B- grade with a buy rating and $102.71 price target. The stock has risen 25.4% year to date.
Williams The energy infrastructure company reported Wednesday first-quarter earnings of $348 million, or 85 cents a share, up from year-earlier earnings of $307 million, or 81 cents. "We issued a report on WMB and WPZ on April 1, 2012 related to the Caiman Acquisition that included our updated models and outlook," Deutsche Bank analysts wrote in a report Wednesday. "We expect to revise the modeling further based upon the earnings reports and the upcoming Williams Analyst Day, May 22. In advance of that we are maintaining our estimates for WMB and WPZ while noting the increase in commodity leverage to both ethylene margins and ethane prices." Shares of Williams hit a 52-week high of $33.85 on Thursday. The stock's 52-week low of $17.88 was set on Oct. 4. Williams has a forward P/E of 20.56; the average for pipeline companies is 45.25. For comparison, Enterprise Products Partners (EPD) has a lower forward P/E of 20.22. Fourteen of the 16 analysts who cover Williams rated it buy. One analyst gave the stock a hold rating and another rated it sell. TheStreet Ratings gives Williams a B- grade with a buy rating and $38.14 price target. The stock has risen 1.91% year to date.