Reviewing Two Solid Earnings Reports

This morning, 3M (MMM) reported second-quarter earnings per share (EPS) of $2.59 versus $1.78 last year, much better than the expected $2.26 per share.

Sales were up 24.7%, or 21.7%, excluding the impact of currencies, divestitures and acquisitions. There was strength in all segments, as comparisons were easy with numbers last year negatively impacted by COVID-19-related shutdowns.

However, it is interesting to note that the company’s health care segment revenues rose by 23.2% organically over results last year that benefited from high mask sales due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The company raised EPS guidance for the year from the $9.20 to $9.70 range to $9.70 to $10.10. However, the stock is not moving much on the news, as the market remains skeptical of industrial and cyclical stocks.

However, I still expect these stocks to do better at some point this year, and I have confidence that the stock can reach my $210 target. I am slightly raising my buy under price to $190.

Last week, Fulton Financial (FULT) reported second-quarter EPS of $0.38 vs. $0.24, which was $0.05 better than expectations. The primary driver behind this increase in earnings was a $3.5 million negative credit provision versus a $19.6 million charge last year, as the company released credit reserves due to the fact that the amount of bad loans related to COVID-19 were not as bad as the company had first estimated.

Interest income increased by 6.2%, as continued loan growth offset interest margin pressure from lower interest rates. Lower expenses also helped results.

Fulton has edged higher since reporting its results, as banks have rebounded. Excluding the benefit from reserves releases, the company is on a sustainable EPS run rate of $1.30 a year. The shares are attractive at 11.7X this run rate, with a 3.7% dividend yield. Buy FULT under $16. My target is $18.50.