Martin Marietta Tempers Profit Outlook
May, 11 2007
(RALEIGH, North Caroliina) — Martin Marietta Materials Inc., which makes and markets aggregates for the construction industry, on Tuesday reiterated its 2007 earnings guidance, although the outlook included weaker growth in aggregate sales and remained below Wall Street's current estimate.
The company anticipates earnings of between $6.10 per share to $6.65 per share, an outlook it increased on April 19 from previous guidance of between $5.95 per share and $6.50 per share. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial, however, forecast a profit in 2007 of $6.67 per share. Last year, Martin Marietta earned $5.29 per share.
The company also reiterated its second-quarter guidance from last month of $1.85 per share to $2.10 per share. Analysts expect $2.02 per share. A year ago in the quarter, Martin Marietta earned $1.63 per share.
The company's full-year guidance reflects expectations that heightened commercial and infrastructure activity in the second half of the year will offset continued weakness in the residential market. It also assumes pricing improvements and adherence to costs controls.
"Management continues to have a positive outlook for 2007," said Martin Marietta Chairman and Chief Executive Stephen P. Zelnak Jr., in a statement.
Commercial and infrastructure construction, however, will not grow at the same rate as last year, the company warned. It expects demand for aggregate product to finish flat or down 2 percent and thinks delays in infrastructure spending in North Carolina and South Carolina will continue.
Shares of Martin Marietta fell $5.39, or 3.6 percent, to $144.72 in morning trading. The stock has traded in a 52-week range of $74.05 to $154.51.
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