Bell-weather 3M Co. (NYSE: MMM – $159.43) reported first-quarter earnings of $1.85 per share, an increase of 3.4% versus the first quarter of 2014, but eight cents below Street views. Sales declined 3.2% year-on-year to $7.6 billion. Organic local-currency sales, however, grew 3.3% and foreign currency translation reduced sales by 6.5% year-on-year. First-quarter net income was $1.2 billion and the company converted 66% of net income to free cash flow. Organic local-currency sales growth was 5.8% in Electronics and Energy, 4.1% in Safety and Graphics, 3.0% in Health Care, 2.7% in Industrial and 2.1% in Consumer. On a geographic basis, organic local-currency sales grew 5.6% in Asia-Pacific, 3.6% in Latin America/Canada, 3.1% in the U.S. and 0.3% in EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa). In light of the stronger U.S. dollar, 3M updated its 2015 financial expectations. The company now expects earnings to be in the range of $7.80 to $8.10 per share versus $8.00 to $8.30 previously. Foreign currency translation is expected to reduce 2015 sales by 6 to 7 percent versus a previous expected reduction of 4 to 5 percent. The shares of MMM were getting a bit ahead of themselves, up nearly 20% over the past 52-weeks, and took a hit in today’s trading after the earnings news. Nonetheless, the long-term the story is still a good one and the shares can continue to be held in a well-diversified conservative account.