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Getting a Charge From Emerson Electric and Its CEO

The Journal article quoted Scott Davis of Barclays Capital as saying about Farr that he "is well-liked and proven, yet his questionable outbursts at analyst events and conference calls do not inspire confidence."

In an interview mentioned in the article, Jeffrey Sprague of Vertical Research Partners aired similar concerns. "I always take such comments from David with a grain of salt, because he is very aggressive, passionate and competitive. I don't think he means any harm, but I do think he at times goes too far, which needlessly raises investor questions and concerns," Sprague said.

To that last part I beg to differ. I'm not approving of public profusions of profanity, but I'm even less tolerant of the media judging an obviously outstanding corporate leader by an occasional outburst or two. Farr's candor and willingness to call a pig's ear a pig's ear and not a silk purse is rather endearing. Plus, if you've ever seen him on Jim Cramer's "Mad Money" TV show you know he's a good communicator.

Also endearing is the notion of owning shares of a company as fiscally sound as EMR. This industry titan with a market cap of over $41 billion has given its shareholders a return on equity (trailing 12 months) of over 20% and a dividend that by the end of 2012 had grown to $1.64 per share.

Now, if the current correction happens to suppress EMR's share price to around $56, it would lift the dividend's yield to price to almost 3%. Quite remarkable for a company whose past 52-week stock price performance outperformed the S&P 500 by nearly 30%!

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real money portfolio for his charitable trust-- enjoy advance notice of every trade, full access to the portfolio, and deep coverage of the latest economic events and market movements.

Currently the share price is 14% above its 200-day moving average price of slightly more than $50. As the chart below shows us, EMR's diluted quarterly year-over-year EPS growth is the "power" that's driving the share price. Farr's remarks are the least colorful part of this profitable company.

EMR Chart EMR data by YCharts

An Emerson spokesperson was quoted by the Wall Street Journal as saying that "to some degree, these remarks [by CEO Farr] were lighthearted and are taken out of context." The same added that Farr's "willingness to be candid and open with investors is welcomed and appreciated. He is recognized for his charisma and thought leadership."
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