3M says 4Q profit rose 3.9 percentby Martin Moylan, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Demand for office and health care products helped lift 3M's fourth-quarter profit, despite a slowdown in other parts of the company's business.
The Maplewood-based firm earned about a $1 billion in the quarter. That was a 4 percent increase over the same quarter a year ago.
"We were a bit surprised to see some of the strength in the U.S. market," said Morningstar analyst Adam Fleck. "The consumer pickup was very strong, double digits in the quarter. The holiday season was very good."
Fleck said he's impressed by the company's profit margins.
"It put up a 32-plus percent operating margin, which is very, very good for 3M," Fleck said.
Sales topped Wall Street expectations. Because the company includes a wide range of industries and sells products worldwide, its results are a closely-watched economic bellwether.
And 3M indicated it's optimistic about the future, forecasting an earnings increase of 6 percent to 10 percent this year, despite an uneven world economy.
The company also said it is eliminating about 300 jobs across the company in connection with a merger of its security and traffic-safety units. The company didn't specify how many Minnesota jobs would be cut.
3M's share price closed up 18 cents or 0.2 percent at $99.67.