Black & Decker's brighter prospects drive up stock

August 19, 1994|By Bloomberg Business News

Black & Decker Corp. stock hit a 52-week high yesterday on what analysts said was a reflection of the Towson-based company's improved outlook.

The combination of better-than-expected second-quarter earnings, better market conditions in Europe and the potential sale of the company's information technology services unit have sparked Wall Street's interest.

The stock closed up $1.125, at $22.50, after hitting $22.625 earlier in the day. Volume was 902,000 shares, more than triple the 90-day average.

While the stock has climbed steadily since the company released stronger-than-expected earnings last month, yesterday's heavy trading may reflect the the "big-deal fever" that has swept Wall Street, said Andrew Silver, an analyst at Dillon Read in New York.

"Black & Decker could show up on a computer screen as a potential takeover target," said David Leibowitz, a managing director at Burnham Securities in New York. "But I'm unaware of anyone stalking the company."

Since July 22, three days before it released its second-quarter results, Black & Decker's stock has risen 29 percent.

Black & Decker has said since it acquired Emhart Corp. in 1989 that it plans to spin off that company's systems integration and software unit, called PRC, either through a sale or with a public offering.

The company is asking $500 million for the unit, according to one analyst. A Black & Decker spokeswoman said the company isn't actively looking for a buyer for the unit.

At the same time, a surge in retail sales of building materials bodes well for the company, which makes power tools and other household products.

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