3M Co. (MMM) is a highly diversified conglomerate. The company operates has business lines that supply, acoustic systems, automotive supplies, filtration products, health information systems, drug delivery systems, optical film solutions for LCD displays and lighting solutions just to name a few. The company recently reported first-quarter earnings of $1.63 per share, easily beating the $1.49 analysts had expected. In addition, it reported record first-quarter sales of $7.5 billion, up 2.4% from the same period last year. Industrial and Transportation sales were up 8.6% in the quarter, Healthcare sales rose 2%, Consumer and office sales were up 4.3%, and electronic sales were up 3.4%. Not only did the company report better-than-expected first-quarter results, but also lifted its full-year guidance from a range of $6.25 to $6.50 a share to a range of $6.35 to $6.50. With solid growth in all aspect of its business, we like 3M, and believe it to be in a good position to take advantage of an improved global economy. The stock gets a 3 STARs (out of 5) hold rating from S&P and is currently paying an annual dividend of 2.6%.
Michael Fowlkes is a financial writer who has been with the Fresh Brewed Media family since 2004. Over the course of his tenure with Fresh Brewed Media, he has worn many hats, including portfolio manager, options analyst, and writer. Michael received his undergraduate degree from Virginia Tech in Accounting and got his start in finance working as a stock trader for six years at Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Va.