Conservative · Stocks to Consider and Updates

ABB Revenues Fall on Weak Demand; Earnings Beat Estimates

ABBZurich-based ABB, Ltd. (NYSE: ABB – $18.14) reported a 21% drop in third-quarter earnings, confirming the drag on its performance from slowing demand in China and other emerging markets, which the power and automation technology provider had warned about last month. Revenue at the world’s largest producer of power grids fell 13% to $8.52 billion from $9.82 billion, below analysts’ expectations of $8.78 billion, partly reflecting the strength of the U.S. dollar, ABB’s reporting currency. Profit fell to $577 million in the three months ended September from $734 million in the same period a year earlier, a decline which wasn’t as severe as analysts had forecast. Adjusted per share earnings of $0.32 was equal to last year’s figure, but four cents ahead of Street estimates. Chief Executive Ulrich Spiesshofer said the company was facing “challenging markets” with weakening demand from the oil and gas industry, China and the U.S., the two countries from which it derives much of its business. Spiesshofer went on to say that markets will remain tough well into 2016 and the company would continue to focus on improving its profitability, including reductions in its workforce. ABB gave no new details on its strategic review, one which could see ABB sell its $12.6 billion power grids business, apart from saying it was “well on track to be completed in 2016.” These shares are best suited for patient investors. The stock is likely to underperform the broader market over the next year, but by contrast, appreciation potential out to late decade appears quite strong. The dividend yield at about 4%, is attractive, as well.


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