Strong Earnings, Bad Headlines: Time For An Exit

Things were looking good for 3M (MMM) following better expected earnings that were reported last week. However, the stock quickly gave back its gains and had another leg down on Friday after a jury awarded $110 million in damages to two U.S. military veterans who claimed suffering hearing loss despite using 3M earplugs.

While 3M never promised no damage could occur with use of their ear plugs and this judgment seems excessive, this is a highly emotional issue and one that could cause a meaningful liability for the company given 285,000 claims from military personnel and the long appeal process.

Add these headlines to existing chemical clean-up liability and the fact that industrial stocks as a whole seem to be falling out of favor and it is time to move on from this once-promising position.

This hasn’t been wasted time. We’re up nearly 10% and have harvested $10.33 per share in dividends over our holding period. But it’s time to go.

Sell MMM. This applies to Inner Circle subscribers following the model portfolio as well.