Monday, March 27, 2017

Deere & Company Retail Sales

Deere & Company (NYSE:DE) has released commentary on its retail sales data for February. According to Deere, its February retail sales did better than the industry in all the two-wheel drive categories but worse in four-wheel drives and combines.
The chart below shows industry retail sales, so it's also relevant for investors in Deere's peers as well. The monthly numbers can bounce around a lot, so the chart shows the average of the last three months for selected data. As you can see, smaller tractors continue to do well, but the industry is still experiencing significant declines in its more profitable larger agricultural machinery sales.
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Is 3M Co a Good Buy For Income Investors?

3M Co.  has increased its dividend for 59 years in a row and is one of the most highly regarded stocks in the industrial sector. That said, any investment analysis of a stock's value must be forward-thinking, as well as mindful of the company's history. The key question is whether 3M can be relied upon to deliver for income investors in the future or not. Let's take a look at what it means to invest in 3M stock.

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3 Stocks You Wouldn't Want to Own

For three completely different reasons, Euronet Worldwide IncHerbalife Ltd. and Snap Inc  are stocks I won't be investing in anytime soon. While the reasons behind avoiding them are different, they all face some kind of existentialist threat which makes the worth avoiding -- no matter what the near term trends may suggest.

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Trucking Stocks for 2017

The trucking sector has been on fire since the start of 2016, and anyone buying a basket of stocks in the industry would have generated handsome returns. At top of the bunch lies truck and engine manufacturer Navistar International Corp., whose ongoing turnaround and alliance with Volkswagen  helped the stock soar 176% in the period.
In light of Navistar's recent earnings, let's look at the company's turnaround progression and what its earnings and outlook say about the trucking market in 2017.
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AgroFresh Earnings Review

AgroFresh Solutions (NASDAQ:AGFS) needed to steady the ship after a difficult few quarters. After discussing increasing market competition for its core SmartFresh product and lowering its forecast for the U.S. apple harvest in 2016 on the third-quarter results presentation, management was under pressure to demonstrate it was back on track in the fourth quarter. The good news is that AgroFresh pretty much did that. In addition, management outlined some strategic actions taken to create growth. Let's analyze what happened in the quarter.

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Honeywell International Presents to Investors

Last year wasn't a great one for Honeywell International (NYSE:HON), at least from an operational perspective. Core organic growth declined 1%, as management lowered its revenue guidance due to a combination of three separate issues in its aerospace and PMT (performance materials and technologies) segments. Ultimately, full-year revenue came in at $39.3 billion, somewhat below the guidance for $39.6 billion to $40.9 billion given at the start of 2016.

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Fortive vs Danaher Stock

Danaher Corporation (NYSE:DHR) vs. Fortive Corp. (NYSE:FTV) makes for one of the most interesting comparisons in the industrial sector. Of course, there is nothing stopping you from owning both stocks -- in fact, before the spin-off of Fortive in July 2016, investors did own both businesses as a set -- and certainly their differing investment propositions would provide diversification.However, the split has created two significantly different companies, so let's take a look at the contrasting investment cases for the two stocks.

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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Jeff Immelt Writes to Investors

General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) CEO Jeff Immelt's annual letter to shareholders outlines what investors should expect from the company in the coming years. While Immelt usually addresses analysts and the professional investment community during presentations, the annual shareholder letter is a chance to directly speak to ordinary shareholders. If you own or are considering buying shares in the company, it's worth taking the time to see what he has planned. In that vein, let's take a look at five key takeaways from Immelt's letter.

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Why Huntington Ingalls Stock is Up in 2017

Stock in America's largest military shipbuilding company, Huntington Ingalls (NYSE:HII), rose 13.3% in February, significantly outperforming the S&P 500 gain of 3.7% in the same period. The move was likely promulgated by two factors:

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Deere & Company Equity Research

You have to hand it to Deere & Company's management. Not much has gone right from an end-market perspective in the last few years, with US farm cash receipts declining since 2014 as prices of key agricultural crops (ex. corn, wheat, and soybean) continue to fall. The end result is that farmers are declining to buy new equipment -- particularly the kind of high-margin large agricultural machinery that Deere thrives on -- and the company's sales have slumped.
However, Deere's stock is up nearly 40% on the year as management continues to defy the doubters. Let's analyze the key takeaways from the recent earnings report in order to see what's been going on and why the company looks set for better days.

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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Honeywell International's Adamczyk Takes Over

What happened?

Honeywell International  gave its annual investor conference on Wednesday and updated investors on its 2017 outlook. In a nutshell, there was no change to the guidance given on its first quarter. That said, there is a case for believing that management is being a little conservative with its 2017 guidance, and at the conference management described the oil & gas and defense sectors -- previously problematic for Honeywell -- as improving. On a less positive note, the business-jet market still looks weak, with Honeywell predicting a recovery only toward the end of 2018

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Rockwell Automation, Ingersoll-Rand and Parker-Hannifin are Buys

Rockwell Automation (NYSE:ROK)Ingersoll-Rand PLC (NYSE:IR), and Parker-Hannifin Corp. (NYSE:PH) are three industrial companies that have seen their stock prices go up by more than 40% in the last year. Can these stocks maintain an upwards momentum this year? Let's take a brief look at prospects for all three now that earnings reports for the first calendar quarter of 2017 are all in.

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Friday, March 10, 2017

Advance Auto Parts Equity Research

Did Advance Auto Parts Inc.  just have a good or bad quarter? The 3.1% increase in comparable-store sales, after four straight quarters of declines, certainly suggests the company is starting to generate traction with its turnaround plans. On the other hand, the sales figures were flattened by a couple of non-recurring factors, and the adjusted operating margin decline to 6% from 7.7% in the same period last year says management still has a lot of work to do. Let's take a closer look at the earnings.

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UPS or FedEx Stock in 2017?

A quick look at the stock price charts of United Parcel Service Inc. (NYSE:UPS) and FedEx Corporation (NYSE:FDX) suggests UPS has had a harder row to hoe in recent years. FedEx has outperformed UPS even though a plethora of operational metrics continue to suggest UPS is the better-run company. Let's look at why, and in the light of UPS's recent updated guidance for 2018-2019, let's see whether UPS can turn things around.

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Thursday, March 9, 2017

Is 3M Co. Stock Good Value?

There's no way around it: 3M Co. (NYSE:MMM) isn't a cheap stock. Along with its margin-expanding but low-revenue growth peer Illinois Tool Works (NYSE:ITW), the company has a high valuation that's putting pressure on it to deliver with earnings in 2017. Let's look at five key conclusions from 3M's recent earnings and guidance to see whether the stock has more to offer this year.

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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

UPS Guidance

United Parcel Service (NYSE:UPS) gave its first investor conference since 2014 on Tuesday and updated investors on its progression toward previous targets and its outlook for 2018-2019. In a nutshell, UPS management did two key things:

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Caterpillar vs. United Technologies

It's always interesting to compare stocks like Caterpillar Inc.  and United Technologies Corporation. They both have exposure to the global economic cycle, and in particular construction markets, but their other specific end markets differ so much as to make them significantly different investment propositions. Moreover, Caterpillar's upside prospects come from cyclical strength in areas like mining, energy, and transportation, while United Technologies' largely come from management's successful execution of its plans to transition the company toward long-term growth.

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Monday, March 6, 2017

Honeywell International is on Track in 2017

The strongest case for buying stock in Honeywell International  rests on the idea that underlying free cash flow is strong and will increase more than earnings in the future as the company comes out of a heavy investment phase. In other words, you're getting an opportunity to buy a stock with a hidden value.
However, for this to be true, Honeywell would have to meet its earnings expectations. Since the company failed to meet its initial revenue and free cash flow targets in 2016, investors have cause to keep a close eye on events. In this vein, let's take a look at Honeywell's recent earnings and see how the company's progressing toward its aims this year.

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Amazon Stock Holders Should Aware of This From UPS and FedEx Earnings

What's Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) planning with its delivery and logistics network? It's well known that the e-commerce company is expanding its delivery services -- but is it merely to complement the existing services it gets from FedEx Corporation (NYSE:FDX) and United Parcel Service (NYSE:UPS), or will Amazon end up directly competing with the package delivery giants? The question of the threat from Amazon comes up on almost every investor presentation given by FedEx and UPS.
However, what's less discussed is that e-commerce growth is creating challenges for both companies. If Jeff Bezos thinks Amazon could compete with FedEx and UPS, the evidence from their latest results suggests he might be in for a rude awakening. Here's why.

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Cognex Corporation Earnings Review

Investors in Cognex Corporation (NASDAQ:CGNX) are getting used to their company blasting past its own guidance, and the recent results proved no exception. The solid set of fourth-quarter earnings capped off a very good year for the company, and management served notice that 2017 could be even stronger. Let's take a look at the details and commentary from the earnings presentation

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