Tuesday, April 30, 2019

ITW's Margins Seem To Be Holding Up Well As Growth Slows

With the blizzard of earnings reports from April 25, and those that came before, it seems clearer to me that shorter-cycle industrial companies are facing a much more challenging growth environment. In addition to the surprisingly weak revenue number from 3M (MMM) (down 1.1%), Sandvik’s (OTCPK:SDVKY) SMS business saw a 1% decline, and Stanley Black & Decker (SWK) saw a 3% decline in its Industrial segment, while all of the discrete automation companies have seen growth slow.

Considering all of the above, the 1.5% contraction at Illinois Tool Works (ITW) this quarter isn’t so shocking or alarming. Perhaps even more important, particularly relative to 3M and Sandvik’s SMS business, is that ITW’s margins held up better – lending some support to the idea that ITW is a company built more for margins and returns than growth, which isn’t such a bad thing when growth gets scarce.

Industrials have rallied since I last wrote about Illinois Tool Works on growing optimism that 2019 growth will be stronger than expected, and ITW has actually outperformed its peer group. Although I don’t have any particular objections to ITW as a hold, I don’t find the valuation exciting enough to start a position here and I still see more risks that growth in North America will slow as 2019 moves on.

Click here to continue:
ITW's Margins Seem To Be Holding Up Well As Growth Slows

No comments: