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Sherwin-Williams Paints the Town Green

NEW YORK (F.A.S.T. Graphs) -- Sherwin-Williams (SHW - Get Report) has not only become the leading producer of paints and coatings in the United States, but it is also one of the largest producers around the globe.

With the slogan "cover the earth" and more than 4,000 worldwide stores, the Cleveland-based Sherwin-Williams has been an especially colorful enterprise. Still, some might consider the company a bit boring, as using their products is literally like watching paint dry.

Jim Cramer recently said that he likes Sherwin-Williams, calling it "a good housing play."

First and foremost, Sherwin-Williams has been an exceptionally good corporation over the past few decades. Even beyond that, it certainly takes a strong company to last a century and a half. By viewing the past operating results of the company in graphical form, one can instantly see what I mean. Below I have included the earnings (orange line) and dividends (blue shaded area and pink line) over the past 15 years as depicted on the Fundamentals Analyzer Software Tool of F.A.S.T. Graphs.

In viewing the past 15 years of operating results we can see that Sherwin-Williams grew operating earnings by about 11.5% per year, with just three of those years having a decline in earnings. In addition, the dividend grew from 54 cents a share in 2000 to $2.00 today, bringing the payout ratio to around 25%. In fact, Sherwin-Williams has not only paid but also increased its dividend for 35 consecutive years.

In addition to a strong operating history and solid streak of dividend increases, Sherwin-Williams has also demonstrated a propensity to continuously reduce its share count. For instance, in 1998 the company had roughly 171 million common shares outstanding as compared to just over 100 million today, a decrease of 3.5% in total share count per year. Further, the company still has the ability to repurchase roughly 13.6 million shares in conjunction with its present authorization.

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