LEG

Why Leggett & Platt Stock Was Lagging This Week

One of the steeper declines on the stock market these past few days has been that of Leggett & Platt (NYSE: LEG).

The company, which manufactures a range of industrial products from furniture parts to aerospace tubing, published its latest set of quarterly earnings on Tuesday. These weren't greeted warmly by the market, nor was news of a dividend cut. In fact, according to data compiled by S&P Global Market Intelligence, the stock's price had declined by almost 25% week to date as of early Friday morning.

Everyone hates a dividend cut

Leggett & Platt's first-quarter headline numbers certainly didn't look very handsome. Sales for the period landed at just under $1.1 billion, which represented a 10% decline year over year. Generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) net income fell harder, tumbling to under $32 million from the first-quarter 2023 profit of over $53 million. According to non-GAAP (adjusted) standards, the bottom line eroded to $0.23 per share from the year-ago number of $0.39.

Although management said these numbers met its expectations, it admitted that its restructuring plan -- aimed at optimizing production and distribution -- was still in progress.

Expectations were slightly higher with analysts tracking Leggett & Platt stock. They were collectively modeling $1.11 billion on the top line and $0.24 per share for net income.

While few investors enjoy a double miss, with Leggett & Platt it's likely they were more dismayed by the company's dividend cut. In order to shore up its finances, it's heavily reducing its quarterly payout to $0.05 per share. The previous amount was $0.46. This will remove the company from the very exclusive list of Dividend Kings.

Staying pat on guidance

Leggett & Platt maintained its full-year 2024 guidance. It expects to earn $4.35 billion to $4.65 billion in sales and book an adjusted per-share net income of $1.05 to $1.35. The average analyst estimates of just under $4.5 billion and $1.16, respectively, fall within these ranges.

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Eric Volkman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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