3M's earnings seen in line with year-earlier 1Q

3M results in 1Q expected to show that profit growth remains difficult for maker of Post-Its

Associated Press

Wall Street is expecting little change in 3M's first-quarter earnings.

Profit growth has been hard to come by for the maker of everything from popular household brands like Scotch Tape to products used in the marking of cars and planes to films for LCD TVs. Earnings grew about 5 percent in 2011, compared with 28 percent in 2010.

Adjusted earnings for the first quarter are forecast to drop a penny to $1.48 per share. Analysts expect sales grew 2.4 percent to about $7.49 billion, according to FactSet.

3M is an economic barometer of sorts, with sales of so many products around the globe. Slowing growth in emerging markets has constrained 3M's earnings. So has Europe's debt crisis.

Meanwhile, any indication of a recovery in U.S. housing should encourage 3M investors.

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