Investors who want to own large industrial conglomerates have some tough choices to make today. Solid companies like Illinois Tool Works (NYSE:ITW) don't trade cheaply, and many of the stocks that do look undervalued have issues attached - whether it's the uncertainty of Honeywell's (NYSE:HON) new strategy/management, the execution and market issues at Dover (NYSE:DOV), or the timing of end-market recoveries for companies like Eaton (NYSE:ETN).
3M (NYSE:MMM) looks to me to be on the Illinois Tool Works side of the ledger. I can't argue that the stock is undervalued, or at least not in terms of meeting my normal minimum return requirements. I can live with the argument that many investors will take a lower return on 3M shares in exchange for the lower operational volatility and higher reliability, but this isn't a business that looks poised for a big turnaround and there are some ongoing questions about how management is addressing future growth drivers.
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3M Executing, But Not Excelling