Industrial conglomerate Illinois Tool Works (ITW) was a growth laggard in the first quarter, and slowing demand in markets like Europe, China, and the U.S. didn't help matters for this quarter. Margins held up well, though, and management's decision to simplify the business during this lull ought to have the company in good position to post good margins whenever the recovery may come. Illinois Tool Works just isn't cheap enough to be my favorite industrial name (a common complaint with me and this stock), but those who believe in the margin expansion story may find more to like here, even if the company is facing a stiffer headwind going into the second half.
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Illinois Tool Works Hunkering Down