3M says graphics business not signaling recession
NEW YORK, June 14
NEW YORK, June 14 (Reuters) - 3M Co is seeing steady growth in its commercial graphics business that puts images on the sides of trucks and on storefronts, and which acts as an economic indicator, 3M's finance chief said on Thursday.
"That is a business that tends to see early signs of either an upturn or an inflection down," Chief Financial Officer David Meline told a Deutsche Bank industrial conference in Chicago.
"We do continue to see steady growth with those businesses right now. We're watching them very carefully because we, too, see what's in the headlines ... but I can't say right now that we've seen any changes that are significant."
June is an important month for 3M, Meline added, so it is too soon to tell how the quarter will finish.
The commercial graphics business accounts for about a fifth of sales in 3M's display and graphics segment, which itself is one of 3M's smaller divisions.
U.S.-listed industrial stocks are down some 9 percent from their March highs, lagging the wider market, amid concerns Europe's debt crisis is dragging down even those countries that have so far seemed insulated, such as Germany. That, in turn, has raised fears of a potential United States recession.
"While the U.S. still seems like the best game in town, it's impossible to ignore the potential impact a slumping Europe may have on the already slow-going recovery," industrial analyst Jeff Sprague of Vertical Research Partners said in a note to clients.
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