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Buy Whirlpool (WHR)
05/07/2010 2:31 pm EST
On April 26 Whirlpool (WHR) blew away Wall Street earnings estimates for the first quarter of 2010. Earnings of $2.13 a share came in a full 80 cents above Wall Street expectations. At $4.3 billion revenue was up 19.4% from the first quarter of 2009 and about $600 million ahead of estimates.
And to top it off the company told analysts to expect earnings of $8.00 to $8.50 for the full 2010 year. That was up from its previous guidance of $6.50 to $7 and above the Wall Street consensus projection of $7.08 for the year.
The stock soared on the news, rising $10.20 a share that day to an all-time high of $112.42.
Too pricy for me. I calculated a target price of $124 a share within 12 months. After the stock’s $10 pop that left me looking at a potential return of 12.7% in a year. Not enough given the economic and market risk right now.
But then the sell off that culminated (I wish) with the huge whoosh of May 6 gave me another shot. Whirlpool closed on May 6 at $102.90, giving back all its gains on the earnings and guidance news. Today, May 7, it’s down further to below $100 as of 2 p.m. in New York. So I’m going to add this appliance maker to Jubak’s Picks with this column with a target price of $124 by May 2011.
Let me be clear why I’m buying.
First, I think the U.S. economy is showing solid growth. That was confirmed for me by this morning’s rising jobs numbers. (For more on that data see my post http://jubakpicks.com/2010/05/07/good-news-from-the-u-s-jobs-number-although-the-stock-market-doesnt-care/ ) I think this maker of home appliances is a good way to play that economic recovery and the rising consumer spending that comes with increased confidence that the economy isn’t about to step off a cliff again.
Second, I think that as one of the last men standing in a consolidating global appliance industry—Whirlpool acquired Maytag in 2006—I think Whirlpool is positioned to pick up efficiencies of scale and to gain from growth in developing economies. Standard & Poor’s forecasts that operating margins will climb to 5.4% in 2010 from just 4.8% in 2009. About 60% of the company’s sales come from North America. Europe, which the company is projecting will show no growth in 2010, accounts for 19% of sales, but the company’s second biggest market at 22% of sales is fast-growing Latin America. Whirlpool inked two joint ventures in China in 2008 and 2009 to manufacture refrigerators and washing machines in China for the domestic market as well as for export.
Full disclosure: I don’t own shares of any company mentioned in this post.
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