Ceradyne's Good News Really Isn't News

|
 |  About: 3M Company (MMM)
by: William Trent, CFA

We have done about as well this year betting that Ceradyne (CRDN) would not go down as we could have betting it would go up. The company has significantly raised guidance (twice) so coming in at the high end should have been somewhat expected:

For the year, sales reached $663 million, 80 percent above the $368 million reported in 2005, and total new orders hit about $730 million, up 64 percent year-over-year. Due to the strong demand for its services, Ceradyne predicts full-year earnings will come in at the high end of its $4.45 to $4.55 per share range.

While the news has lifted the shares this morning, it will be more interesting to see what the company predicts for 2007 when they hold their conference call in late February. So far the company has not only beaten consensus estimates but even the most wildly bullish ones. However, we are still concerned that military body armor orders are peaking and the leverage will work both ways.

Disclosure: At the time of publication the author holds a short position in Ceradyne put options.

CRDN 1-yr chart:

CRDN 1-yr chart