2012 Preview: Corning

The calendar has turned, and the new year has begun. Now... what are you going to do with it? In our 2012 preview series, we're taking a look at some of our favorite stocks and wondering: Will they do as well this year as last year? Or in Corning's (NYS: GLW) case: Could they do any worse?

A few Foolish facts about Corning

Corning's Performance in 2011




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1-Year Revenue Growth


1-Year EPS Growth


CAPS Rating (out of 5)


Source: Motley Fool CAPS.

What's ahead for Corning?
Corning runs several business units -- glass for electronic devices, fiber optics, environmental technologies -- but to my Foolish eye, the two that are key to the firm's success in the year ahead are LCD TV glass and the company's proprietary Gorilla Glass product.

As regards LCDs, Corning has warned of sales weakness in the final quarter of 2011. But as we move into 2012, the company's statement that display glass inventories are "at historically lean levels" sounds promising. If retailers like Amazon.com and Best Buy do their part moving product (and judging from the level of discounting going on this past Christmas season, I'd say they are doing their part) this should bode well for Corning's sales in the new year.

Additionally, Corning confides that "forty-inch and larger LCD TVs" are "the fastest-growing size category" being sold at these retailers. Demand for bigger screens suggests strong glass sales by volume in the coming year. To top it all off, the company says it will temporarily cut production capacity by as much as 25%, which could boost prices for the product it does supply. (Incidentally, the money Corning will save on capital expenditures, it promises to pour into stock buybacks and increased dividend payments -- which is even more good news for shareholders.)

On the Gorilla Glass side, Corning has warned of weak demand among tablet PC makers in Q4. But again, this could change in 2012. Weakness today could owe to reduced production of Apple iPad 2s ahead of the introduction of the next iPad iteration. Meanwhile, additional manufacturers -- notably Nokia with its new Lumia line -- are signing up to use Gorilla Glass on their smartphones. I'd say the prospects here look bright as well.

Considering the potential positives, I'd say Corning at six times earnings is a pretty cheap entry point as we begin the new year.

Aside from Corning, what other stocks look attractive in 2012? Funny you should ask. Read on to discover5 Stocks The Motley Fool Owns -- And You Should Too.

At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributorRich Smithholds no position in any company mentioned -- though he'd love to buy some Corning just as soon as Fool disclosure rules permit.Click hereto see his holdings and a short bio.The Motley Fool owns shares of Best Buy, Amazon.com, and Apple.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Apple, Amazon.com, and Corning.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended writing covered calls in Best Buy. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors.

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