Corning May Be Splintering, but Hasn’t Shattered

11/30/2011 4:07 pm EST


Jim Jubak

Founder and Editor,

When I last visited Corning (GLW) on October 14, I said that the stock, then trading at $13.49, was cheap enough to buy but might get even cheaper. (Corning is a member of my long-term Jubak Picks 50 portfolio.)

Well, it has. At 3:15 p.m. New York time on November 30, the stock was trading at $13.18. And it might be headed even lower.

Yesterday morning at a Credit Suisse conference, the company announced the bad news that everybody was more than half expecting from the LCD glass business.

In the fourth quarter, Corning expects LCD glass volume to climb just 5% to 10% from the third quarter versus its original guidance of 20% volume growth.

The lower volumes are a result of lower retail sales of LCD TVs, higher glass inventories at manufacturers, and smaller orders. In October, US retail sales of LCD TVs grew by just 4%. That’s down from 13% growth in September.

With lower demand comes lower prices. Prices will fall more than the company had previously expected, and that will take earnings down 30%, versus the original guidance for a 5% decline.

Corning isn’t thinking that this will be a momentary blip either. The company said it was taking action in the current quarter to reduce its glass capacity.

But do remember that Corning recently increased its dividend by 50%, so the company doesn’t think this slowdown will last forever, either. (For more on dividend stocks and big dividend increases, see my Friday post.)

I think the 11% drop of the last day and a half could be extended a bit. The company doesn’t report fourth-quarter earnings until January 25, and until it does report, the fear of an earnings miss will hang over the stock.

The bottom of the 52-week range is $11.51, and I wouldn’t mind picking shares up near there. I’m going to add the stock to my watch list while I wait.

Full disclosure: I don’t own shares of any of the companies mentioned in this post in my personal portfolio. The mutual fund I manage, Jubak Global Equity Fund, may or may not now own positions in any stock mentioned in this post. The fund did not own shares in Corning as of the end of September. For a full list of the stocks in the fund as of the end of September, see the fund’s portfolio here.

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