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Thursday, 25 March 2004
March 25, 2004 Avon Products (AVP)

Hello Friends! What a difference a day makes. It sure was nice having a bit of a rally after all of these down days. However, it will be interesting to see if we can maintain this more than one day...as always remember to do your own due diligence on all of the stocks discussed on this BLOG and use your financial advisors to make sure that investments mentioned are suitable and timely for you!

I came across Avon Products (AVP) today on the biggest gainers list. You could say it was "Avon Calling". AVP closed today at $75.35, up $4.78 or 6.77%. According to the "Snapshot" on money.cnn.com, Avon's "...principal activity is to manufacture and market beauty and related products globally."

What boosted Avon, besides the overall very strong market, was comments released this morning that upped the estimates to the current quarter up to $.59/share instead of the $.50/share estimated in February, 2004. In addition, they anticipated "...strong gains in every geographic region, with exceptional strength in Latin America and Europe." This is certainly a very bullish outlook.

On February 3, 2004, AVP reported Fourth Quarter 2003 results of $1.09/diluted share vs. $.80/diluted share in the fourth quarter of 2002. These results were $.05-$.06 ahead of previous guidance due to a multitude of reasons given including currency exchange rates and lower net interest. They also reported that sales in fourth quarter grew 14% to $2.09 billion, up from $1.84 billion in the prior year. Excluding the positive affect of currency exchange rates, sales were still up a strong 9%.

If we check the "5-Yr Restated" financials on Morningstar.com we see some interesting information. Sales have grown steadily from 1998 when they were at $5.2 billion, and have increased to $6.6 billion in the trailing twelve months. Earnings/share have also grown but not quite as significantly with a bit of a hiccup between 2000 and 2001, however, since 1998 have increased from $1.02/share to $2.49/share in the trailing twelve months. In addition, dividends have also been rising, increasing from $.68/share in 1998, to $.83/share in the trailing twelve months.

Free cash flow has been quite solid for Avon. They reported $129 million in free cash flow in 2000, and this increased to $451 million in free cash flow, almost 1/2 of a billion dollars, in the trailing twelve months.

The balance sheet is adequately solid with $384.6 million in cash and $1.65 billion in other current assets as opposed to $1.4 billion in current liabilities and $1.8 billion in long-term debt.

If we check the "Key Statistics" on Avon from Yahoo.com, we find that the Market Cap for Avon is a large $17.74 Billion, the trailing p/e is 27.08 with a forward p/e (fye 31-Dec-05) of 21.29. The PEG is moderate at 1.90 and price/sales also moderate at 2.42.

Avon has 235.40 million shares outstanding with 169.50 million of them that float. There are 3.41 million shares out short representing 2.016 trading days and only 2.01% of the float. AVP currently pays a dividend of $1.12/share yielding 1.59%. The last stock split was a 2:1 split back in September, 1998.

If we look at a "Point and Figure" chart from Stockcharts.com, we can see that AVP broke through a resistance level at about $39/share in June, 2001, and has traded fairly steadily higher since that time.

Overall, I like this stock. I do NOT own any shares or leveraged positions on this company. The recent earnings have been nice, the company has been RAISING expectations recently, they are spinning of gobs of free cash flow and the balance sheet is good. I am NOT going to buy any shares because frankly I like smaller, faster growing companies, but MORE important, I am SITTING ON MY HANDS with my 20 positions in my trading account, waiting for a sale of a portion of a stock on a gain before adding anything else new.

Thanks again for stopping by! If you have any questions, comments, or words of encouragement, please feel free to email me at bobsadviceforstocks@lycos.com

Bob


Posted by bobsadviceforstocks at 6:33 PM CST | Post Comment | Permalink

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