3. Leggett & Platt ( LEG), an international diversified manufacturer, conceives, designs and produces a range of engineered components and products found in many homes, offices, retail stores and automobiles. The company structures its operations into 19 business units, which are further categorized into 10 groups under four segments: residential furnishings, commercial fixtures & components, industrial materials, and specialized products.

The company has a dividend yield of 4.37%. For the second quarter of 2011, LEG declared a dividend of 27 cents per share, up 3.8% from the same quarter of the prior year, payable July 15, 2011. For 40 consecutive years, the company has been increasing its dividend at a compound annual growth rate of 14%.

For the first quarter of 2011, sales grew 10% to $896 million from the year-ago quarter. Diluted earnings per share stood at 30 cents. During the quarter, the company repurchased 5.4 million shares of its stock at an average $23.29 per share, and issued 1.8 million shares through employee benefit and stock purchase plans. Earnings per share for fiscal 2011 are estimated between $1.25 and $1.50, while sales are seen ranging from $3.5 to $3.8 billion, rising 4% to 13% over the 2010 level.

Of the seven analysts covering the stock, 29% recommend a buy, whereas 57% rate a hold. Analysts polled by Bloomberg expect the stock to gain an average 26.5% to $30.00 over the next 12 months.

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