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PPG Misses Estimates of Fourth-Quarter Profit

PPG shares are a bit lower Thursday after the paints-and-coatings maker missed Wall Street's fourth-quarter-earnings forecasts.
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Shares of PPG (PPG) eased Thursday after the Pittsburgh paints-and-coatings maker missed Wall Street's fourth-quarter-earnings forecasts.

The company reported earnings of $292 million, or $1.22 a share, up from $258 million, or $1.08, in the year-earlier quarter. Adjusted earnings came to $1.31, missing analysts' estimates of $1.34.

Revenue edged up 0.7% to $3.67 billion, matching Wall Street's forecast as calculated by FactSet.

Sales volumes declined nearly 3% compared with the prior year. Unfavorable foreign currency translation hurt net sales by about 1%, or about $30 million, and acquisition-related sales, net of divestitures, added nearly 3% to net sales.

"As the quarter progressed, industrial demand began to stabilize in China, but remained challenged in Europe and the U.S.," Michael H. McGarry, chairman and CEO, said in a statement. 

"At the outset of this year, we are beginning to see a modest recovery in China industrial demand, but expect weak general industrial demand to continue in Europe and the U.S.'

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For 2020, PPG called for adjusted-earnings-per-share growth of between 4% and 9%, excluding the impact of currency translation. 

Morgan Stanley analyst Vincent Andrews wrote in a note to investors that "net, ideally consensus forecasts will come down materially and remove the risk of another negative revision at first-quarter 2020 reporting, but consensus has a history of being stubborn with PPG."

"Nonetheless, we expect the stock price to reset lower and remain range-bound absent an improvement in industrial/auto activity," said Andrews, who rates PPG equal weight with a $130 price target.

Baird analyst Ghansham Panjabi wrote in a note to clients that the company's fundamentals should improve throughout 2020 and investors should buy shares on any weakness.

Panjabi, who maintains an outperform rating with a $145 price target, said PPG is still “very well positioned to capitalize on incremental operating leverage as the macroeconomic backdrop normalizes.”

At last check PPG shares were trading down 2.1% at $128.06.