Hello Friends! I am pretty amazed that in the midst of this awful day in the market, especially on the NASDAQ, I am finding selections for this BLOG. I am not sure how MANY picks I have made on stocks...but must be over a couple of hundred. Anyhow, Avon was calling today on the NYSE! Avon Products (AVP) was one of the top performers on the NYSE and had a couple of analyst upgrades today along with a nice earnings report. They closed at $68.29, up $2.98 on the day or 4.56%.
According to the "snapshot" on Money.cnn.com, Avon is "...a global manufacturer and marketer of beauty and related products including cosmetics, fragrance and toiletries, gifts and decorative apparel and fashion jewelry and accessories."
Yesterday, after the close, Avon announced the fourth quarter 2003 earnings results and the 'street' liked what it saw! For the quarter, the company earned $261.3 million or $1.09/share compared to $193 million or $.80/share in the prior year. This exceeded First Call expectations of $1.04/share. Revenues increased 14% to $2.11 billion in the quarter compared with $1.85 billion the prior year. Since AVP is a multinational corporation, much of its sales are affected positively by the falling dollar. Indeed, even after adjusting for the currency changes, the sales increased 9%.
Looking at Morningstar.com for "5-Yr Restated" financials, we find that revenue growth has been solid but not overwhelming increasing from $5.2 billion in 1998, to $6.6 billion in the trailing twelve months. Earnings have grown almost uninterrupted from $1.02/share in 1998, to $2.49/share in the trailing twelve months.
This company generates a lot of free cash, improving from $129 million of free cash flow in 2000 to $451 million, almost half a BILLION dollars of free cash, in the trailing twelve months.
The balance sheet looks adequate if not debt-free, with $384.6 million of cash and $1,651.9 million in other current assets, more than enough to cover the current liabilities of $1,365.7 million as listed on Morningstar, but not enough to also pay off the significant long-term liabilities of $1,810.1 million.
If we check out the "key statistics" on Yahoo.com, we find that this is certainly a LARGE cap stock with a market cap of $16.15 billion. The trailing p/e isn't too bad at 24.59 and the forward p/e, based on 2004 estimates, is a bit better at 21.48. Even with the moderate p/e, the value isn't that great as the growth isn't that impressive: the PEG is at 1.90, and the price/sales ratio at 2.25.
There are 236.51 million shares outstanding with 170.30 million of them that float per Yahoo. As of 1/8/04, there are 3.17 million shares out short, representing 1.86% of the float or 2.411 trading days. The company DOES pay a little dividend of $1.12/share yielding 1.64%. The last stock split was a 2:1 split which was executed on 9/14/98.
Overall, this company has a nice scent to it :). What else could a guy say? They make nice hand cream? But seriously, if you would like a large cap company, that pays a dividend, has steady growth, and pretty nice numbers, this stock may be for you. As for me, I would rather get a bit more bang for my buck. I like faster growth and lower PEG ratios...and am not as needy of a dividend. Just my angle I guess.
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