Shares of industrial supplier Kennametal Inc. (NYSE: KMT) jumped as much as 12.8% in trading Thursday after the company reported fiscal first-quarter results. At 3:15 p.m. EDT, shares were still up 9.9% on the day.
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Revenue rose 13.7% to $542.5 million in the quarter, and Kennametal swung from a loss of $21.7 million a year ago to a profit of $39.2 million, or $0.48 per share. Adjusted earnings were $0.55 per share. Analysts had only been expecting revenue of $513.5 million and earnings of $0.38 per share on an adjusted basis, so the surprise is what sent shares soaring.
Growth was widespread across the business, but a 22% jump in energy sales helped drive results. Oil and gas companies are spending much more freely, and that's welcome news for investors.
Strong results should continue this fiscal year, but the first quarter may be the highlight. Management said that organic sales growth will be 5% to 7% for the year, and earnings per share will be $2.30 to $2.60. Shares aren't cheap at 18 times the top end of estimates, but if the energy business continues its recovery, we could see sustainable growth beyond this year. I think shares are too expensive to jump into today, but the results were positive nonetheless.
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