Industrials and adhesives company 3M ($MMM) is in quite a bind: most of the analysts covering the stock don't seem to know how to approach it, and most are in a literal holding pattern (a recent Barron's report notes that more than 80% rate the stock a hold). 

3M stock is down double digits over the last 12 months, part of what's vexing Wall Street analysts. The other things that have them worried are concerns over sluggish industrial activity in China, as well as potential new environmental ability. The Barron's report also notes that falling auto sales could hurt 3M. 

So, then, the fact that job postings have positively soared with the Minnesota-based company may come as a bit of a shock to the market watchers. Its chart above, which tracks both job postings and stock price, reflects a 34% increase in job postings at 3M since Q4 began. 

It's a growing theme, as Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping move closer to a detente in the US-China trade war that has thrown many market leaders off their stellar trajectory in 2019. Companies perceived to have trade war exposure, like Whirlpool, Tesla and Micron rushed out into the job market to staff up in the US, in China, or both toward the end of 2019 and earlier this year. 

3M will announce earnings before the market open on January 28; analysts tracked by Zacks Investment Research are expecting EPS $2.10. 

About the Data:

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue, and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

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