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3M Rises on J.P. Morgan Upgrade to Neutral

3M rises after a J.P. Morgan analyst upgrades shares of the industrial conglomerate to neutral from underweight.
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Shares of 3M (MMM) - Get 3M Company Report rose 1.8% to $178.49 Monday after a J.P. Morgan analyst upgraded the industrial conglomerate to neutral from underweight.

Analyst Stephen Tusa also increased his price target to $150 from $143. The stock was the Dow's fourth-highest gainer in trading Monday.

In a note to investors, Tusa acknowledged that the St. Paul, Minnesota-based company was still at risk from litigation involving PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances but "investor focus for the time being will shift towards fundamentals "as the relative earnings revision curve is probably more stable now."

This was aided by a potential uptick in electronics, Tusa said.

The PFAS chemicals were manufactured in the U.S. from the 1940s through roughly the turn of the century and are harmful to health, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

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3M voluntarily phased out the production of PFAS chemicals in the early 2000s and was the first company to do so, 3M CEO Mike Roman said on a recent conference call.

The company has made “voluntary agreements” with states and communities to clean up sites where it produced the chemicals, he said.

In the first quarter of 2019, 3M took a $548 million charge for litigation, which it said included $235 million for PFAS-related lawsuits.

3M has set aside an additional $235 million to cover legal claims, but the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported on Monday that some estimates of the ultimate cost exceed $10 billion.

PFAS chemicals have been found in streams, rivers, military bases and in the drinking water of 1,361 sites across the U.S., the Star-Tribune said, citing information compiled from states and the U.S. Department of Defense by the Environmental Working Group advocacy firm.