3M Corporation (MMM) may be best known for blockbuster products like Scotch Tape and Post-It Notes, but the firm has been working hard to expand its product portfolio in recent years. Other big 3M offerings include products as diverse as industrial adhesives and computer screen security devices -- that wide mix of broad appeal office supplies and higher-ticket niche offerings makes 3M more attractive than its average peer in this market.
To grow its offerings, 3M has been pursuing big acquisitions, deploying some of the $6.5 billion in cash and investments that the firm has on tap. Growth by acquisition is a relatively new approach for 3M, but it shows significant promise for boosting the firm's top line numbers, particularly on this end of the business cycle. Historically, innovation has been one of the biggest keys to 3M's success. More recently, it's also managed to reinvent and modify its most popular products, squeezing extra life out of offerings that have ample competition.
Overseas growth remains a big opportunity for 3M, even though the firm already has exposure abroad. The firm already enjoys deeper margins in emerging markets, and expanding its offerings in regions where it already has distribution channels makes a lot of sense. Financially, 3M's balance sheet is net cash positive, with ample liquidity. That should help pave the way for a dividend hike in the next quarter.Right now, 3M pays out a 59-cent quarterly dividend for a 2.68% yield.
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