3M Analysis: Dow Earnings

BOSTON (TheStreet) -- 3M (MMM) has announced quarterly results.

Quarterly Synopsis: 3M's fourth-quarter sales increased 9.6% to $6.7 billion, helped by an 8.6% boost in organic volumes, signaling strong product demand. Its quarterly GAAP net income declined marginally to $928 million, or $1.28 a share, from $935 million, or $1.30, in the year-ago quarter. The strongest product categories for the quarter were electron and communications and display and graphics, which enjoyed sales volume growth of 20% and 15%, respectively. Geographically, Asia Pacific was the top-performing region, extending organic volume 18%. Latin America boosted volume 12%. Management increased its 2011 earnings guidance to a range of $5.95 to $6.20 a share.

Earnings Performance: 3M's adjusted quarterly profit of $1.28 exceeded analysts' consensus estimate by 1%, but represented a 1.5% year-over-year decline. The company has an average earnings beat rate of 4.2%. It has exceeded consensus earnings expectations in seven consecutive quarters. 3M's top line exceeded the consensus by 1.9%. It has an average sales beat rate of 1.5%. The company has outperformed sales forecasts for seven consecutive quarters. Despite the marginal beats, 3M's stock corrected 2.6% in response to the quarterly report.

Dividend Information: 3M pays a quarterly dividend of 53 cents, translating to a one-year yield of 2.4%, unimpressive for a Dow stock. The company has grown its distribution 2.9% in the past 12 months and 3% and 4.6% annually, on average, over three- and five-year spans.

Analyst Opinions: Currently, 13 researchers advise purchasing 3M's stock, four recommend holding and two advocate selling it. It has a median 12-month price target of $100.69.

Barclays, Overweight, $105 Target
Goldman Sachs, Neutral, $101 Target
Credit Suisse, Neutral, $101 Target
UBS, Buy, $100 Target
Citigroup, Hold, $96 Target
JPMorgan, Neutral, $95 Target
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Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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