2 Big Companies on Investing Radars Post Earnings

Illinois Tool Works Inc. (NYSE:ITW) reported its results for the fourth quarter. Net income for Illinois Tool Works Inc. rose to $442.2 million (91 cents per share) vs. $335.7 million (67 cents per share) in the same quarter a year earlier. This marks a rise of 31.7% from the year earlier quarter. Revenue rose 10.4% to $4.32 billion from the year earlier quarter. ITW beat the mean analyst estimate of 88 cents per share. Analysts were expecting revenue of $4.36 billion.

“Our fourth quarter financial performance was a solid effort by the ITW team,” said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer David B. Speer. “We produced strong top line growth, solid margin improvement and impressive free operating cash flow. The fourth quarter capped off very strong full-year performance, with 2011 revenues growing 15.4 percent and organic revenues increasing 7.5 percent. This helped us achieve record 2011 full-year revenues as well as record operating earnings. We also delivered 15.4 percent operating margins that were 80 basis points higher than 2010.”

Competitors to Watch: Dover Corporation (NYSE:DOV), Nordson Corporation (NASDAQ:NDSN), Entegris, Inc. (NASDAQ:ENTG), Graco Inc. (NYSE:GGG), Flow International Corp. (NASDAQ:FLOW), 3M Company (NYSE:MMM), Myers Industries, Inc. (NYSE:MYE), Taylor Devices, Inc. (NASDAQ:TAYD), Core Molding Tech., Inc. (AMEX:CMT), and Pall Corporation (NYSE:PLL).

Lexmark International Inc. (NYSE:LXK) reported its results for the fourth quarter. Net income for Lexmark International Inc. fell to $69.3 million (94 cents per share) vs. $87.6 million ($1.10 per share) a year earlier. This is a decline of 20.9% from the year earlier quarter. Revenue fell 4% to $1.06 billion from the year earlier quarter. LXK reported adjusted net income of $1.25 per share. By that measure, the company beat the mean estimate of $1.15 per share. Analysts were expecting revenue of $1.06 billion.

“2011 was a good year for Lexmark given the challenging global economic environment,” said Paul Rooke, Lexmark chairman and chief executive officer. “Lexmark delivered record laser supplies revenue, record gross profit margin and a strong operating income margin. “We continued solid execution of our strategic initiatives in 2011, focusing our significant imaging talent and resources squarely on business customers and aggressively growing our software business,” added Rooke. “We remain confident in our ongoing ability to generate positive free cash flow as we have for each of the past 10 years, and going forward we plan to return more than 50 percent of free cash flow to our shareholders through dividends and share repurchases.”

Competitors to Watch: Canon Inc. (NYSE:CAJ), Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ), Xerox Corporation (NYSE:XRX), Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL), Synaptics, Incorporated (NASDAQ:SYNA), Immersion Corporation (NASDAQ:IMMR), Hauppauge Digital, Inc. (NASDAQ:HAUP), EMC Corporation (NYSE:EMC) and Logitech Intl. SA (NASDAQ:LOGI).

To contact the reporter on this story: Derek Hoffman at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com