Mueller Water Products Rises On Strong 4Q Results

NEW YORK (AP) ¿ Shares of Mueller Water Products Inc. jumped Wednesday after the maker of fire hydrants and municipal water valves posted better-than-expected fiscal fourth-quarter results on cost controls and higher production.

Furthermore, analysts predicted more earnings growth as stimulus spending spawns infrastructure projects and residential construction emerges from its trough.

On Tuesday after the markets closed, Mueller reported a quarterly loss of $10.9 million, or 9 cents per share, compared with a profit in the year-earlier period of $17.6 million, or 15 cents per share. Revenue sank to $374.8 million from $496.9 million.

Excluding one-time charges for financial transactions, retiring debt and restructuring, the Atlanta-based company reported an adjusted loss of 3 cents per share.

Analysts had expected an adjusted loss of 8 cents per share on revenue of $369.6 million, according to a Thomson Reuters survey.

Janney Capital Markets analyst Debra G. Coy reiterated her "Buy" rating on Mueller, noting that shipments and productions rose while selling, general and administrative costs fell.

Baird analyst Michael A. Schneider, who also has a "Buy" rating on the shares, said the fourth-quarter results "provide further evidence that its core water infrastructure markets have bottomed and are poised to turn upward while also demonstrating the significant operating leverage inherent in the business model."

In morning trading, shares rose 55 cents, or 11.9 percent, to $5.15. In the last 12 months, the stock has ranged from $1.48 to $8.55.

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