Weir Group Reports Slowing Growth

LONDON -- The shares of Weir Group (ISE: WEIR.L) have jumped almost 5.4% to 1,845 pence in London trade today, although the engineer admitted its sales and profit growth had "moderated" during the third quarter.

The FTSE member -- whose product range includes various pumps, hoses, and valves for the mining industry -- also acknowledged that its reported order input during July, August, and September fell by 8% versus the same period last year and was 15% lower on a like-for-like basis.

However, Weir did say that acquisitions helped Q3 turnover and profit improve on 2011, and that margins for the quarter were in line with both last year's and City expectations. The firm also announced it was on track to deliver pre-tax profit for 2012 somewhere between 440 million pounds and 450 million pounds, in line with broker predictions.

Weir claimed the Q3 performance was helped by a "global presence, diverse end-market exposure and cost reductions." But the company also noted "increasing global macro-economic uncertainty" and the "resultant declines in certain commodity prices."

Today's guidance from Weir suggests that earnings for 2012 may be around 148 pence per share, which supports a potential P/E of 12. That rating does not look too bad, given that Weir's earnings will have surged 131% from 64 pence per share in three years if the target of 148 pence per share is achieved. But whether Weir is a "buy" based on this morning's third-quarter update, its share-price rating, and the general outlook for the global economy is, of course, your decision.

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