Mueller Water Dropped: What You Need to Know


Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: It's summer, and it must be hot out there, because 13% of Mueller Water's (NYS: MWA) just evaporated. (Ba-dum-bum.)

So what: The manufacturer of water infrastructure products (pipes, valves, and so on) reported a 2.5% decline in Q2 sales last night, alongside flat "profits" of -$0.02 per share -- the same amount as last year's Q2 loss.

Now what: America's need for infrastructure improvement is undeniable, but right now, Mueller's working on its third straight year of losing money (as GAAP calculates losses). It's also begun burning cash (as calculated according to free cash flow). Management didn't give specific guidance for what to expect over the rest of this year, but I wouldn't get my hopes up. Municipalities are struggling with weak tax receipts, and a cash-strapped federal government isn't going to be able to give them much relief.

With a forward P/E of 15, no trailing P/E whatsoever, and even long-term earnings growth pegged at just 8.5% per year going forward, I'm afraid Mueller stock is looking all washed up.

Think there's a future in water?Add Mueller Water to your Fool Watchlist. Who knows? Maybe we'll get lucky.

At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributorRich Smithdoes not own (or short) shares of Mueller Water.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Mueller Water Products. Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.

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