3M's 4Q Profit Tops Wall Street Expectations2

3M (NYSE:MMM) revealed fourth-quarter results on Tuesday that narrowly beat Wall Street’s expectations, but the diversified manufacturer’s stock slipped on concerns about tightening margins.

The St. Paul-based maker of Post-It notes and Scotch Tape said it earned $928 million, or $1.28 a share, compared with a profit of $935 million, or $1.30 a share, a year earlier. Analysts had called for EPS of $1.27.

Sales jumped 9.6% to $6.7 billion, slightly surpassing the Street’s view of $6.6 billion. Organic volumes increased 8.6% and acquisitions added 1.8% to sales.

However, gross margins decreased to 46.7% from 47.9% amid a slight decline in prices.“3M made great progress in 2010 as we achieved record sales and earnings per share for the year, and made significant investments to improve long-term growth,” CEO George Buckley said in a statement.

Like DuPont (NYSE:DD) and other companies on Tuesday, 3M boosted its 2011 guidance. 3M now sees a non-GAAP profit of $6.17 to $6.42 for 2011 on a 5.5% to 7.5% increase in organic sales.

3M posted rising sales in all six of its business segments, led by a 20.3% jump in electro and communications sales to $759 million and a 10.4% jump in industrial and transportation sales to $2.1 billion.

Shares of 3M, which used to be known as the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company, slid 1.74% to $88.75 in Tuesday’s premarkets. The stock had been up more than 4% on the year as of Monday’s close.