For the past century, Sherwin-Williams has boasted that its paints cover the earth. That’s pure hyperbole: The company has virtually no business outside the Western Hemisphere. But in the U.S. its paints unquestionably cover more walls and ceilings than anyone else’s. Sherwin-William has been good to shareholders. As a matter of policy, the company pays out 30% of its earnings in dividends, which has resulted in 28 consecutive years of rising payouts. CEO Christopher Connor is confident that 2007 will be No. 29. Despite a drop in housing starts and a slowdown in home remodeling, he predicts the Cleveland company will earn up to 10% more this year than its record $576 million in 2006. How? By selling more to builders of nonresidential properties through its chain of 3,000 paint stores, and by expanding its automotive-paint operations in Latin America. With buckets of cash, Sherwin-Williams may also buy smaller paintmakers to lengthen its lead.
|Sales Growth Rate**|
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|Total Return||Past 12 Months|
|Past 36 Months
|Economic Sector||Consumer Discretionary|
|Industry||Home Improvement Retail|