Sure, Johnson Controls (JCI) beat Wall Street estimates by a huge 14 cents a share when it announced first quarter fiscal 2010 earnings before the stock market opened on January 22.
But the big news, the news that had the stock up 4.5% for the day as of 2:30 in New York, was the company’s blow out guidance for all of 2010. Johnson Controls now sees 2010 revenue of $33 billion. That’s up from the company’s earlier projection of $31 billion and well above the Wall Street analyst consensus of $31.7 billion. Earnings for fiscal 2010 will be in the range of $1.70 to $1.75 a share. The company had projected earnings of $1.35 to $1.45 a share. The Wall Street consensus was $1.53.
Three things contributed to the earnings and guidance beat.
First, the company has cut costs in its business. That’s producing higher profit margins as sales volume picks up. For more on why the first stage of a recovery can be good for profits even as unemployment stays high see my post http://jubakpicks.com/2010/01/22/2010-well-the-first-half-anyway-looks-good-for-stocks-despite-the-current-correction/
Second, the global automotive industry is selling more cars than it did earlier in 2009 and 2010 looks like it will continue that recovery. (For example, the company now forecasts production of 10.3 million vehicles in 2010 in North America. That’s up for an earlier forecast of 9.8 million vehicles.) The company is also seeing improvements in its heating and air-conditioning controls and service business.
Third, Johnson Controls is picking up market share, according to company CFO Bruce McDonald, in North America, Europe, and China.
As of January 22, 2010, I’m raising my target price to $36.27 a share from $32 a share by July.
Full disclosure: I own shares of Johnson Controls in my personal portfolio.