There aren't many companies as diversified asBall Corp. ( BLL ), whose products range from tin cans to satellites.
Ball started out in 1880 as a maker of canisters for paints and other products, and later started manufacturing the home-canning jars that became one of its best-known products. While it no longer makes canning jars, Ball has mushroomed into 45 businesses.
Today, the company is a major beverage-can maker, a segment that accounted for more than 70% of first-quarter sales. Its European can and packaging division had the best sales gain in Q1, up 12%.
The aerospace business accounted for $220.7 million in revenue, or 11% of the $2 billion in first-quarter sales. But sales in that division fell nearly 5% over the year-ago quarter. Some of its projects are the planet-hunting Kepler Mission, and a contract awarded last week to provide the U.S. Navy with the Stalker, a long-range detection system.
"Ball Corporation will continue to benefit from product launches and expansion in emerging markets," Zacks Equity Research noted after the company announced results.
"Moreover, the company believes that there is growth potential in many of its segments. Metal beverage packaging, Americas & Asia will benefit from the Alagoinhas plant's third production line, which remains on track. However, uncertainty in the global economic scenario remains a headwind."
Ball pays a quarterly dividend of 13 cents a share, for an annualized yield of about 1%.
IBD gives the stock an Earnings Stability Factor of 3 on a scale of 0 (calm) to 99 (wild).
Earnings excluding extraordinary items increased 40% in Q2. EPS rose 11% and 34% the previous two quarters. But sales inched up less than 1% in Q1 and have declined or risen modestly for nearly three years.
The stock broke out of a 56.43 buy point April 28 and is up almost 5% from that entry.
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