JPMorgan Has 4 Aerospace and Defense Stocks to Buy for Big Upside

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One sector that has been on fire since the election last November has been defense and aerospace, and with good reason. The president has made it clear that improving the nation’s defense capability and upgrading the armed forces is a huge priority. Toss in some billion dollar deals with Arab countries recently, and the future continues to look bright.

One area of concern is the elevated stock prices, and in a new report, while JPMorgan remains positive overall, only six companies in the firm’s research universe are rated Overweight. We screened those stocks for the ones with double-digit upside potential to the analyst’s price target and found four that look solid.

Harris

This top defense sector play is way cheaper than peers and could be an outstanding buy at current levels. Harris Corp. (NYSE: HRS) provides technology-based solutions that solve government and commercial customers’ mission-critical challenges.

The company designs, develops and manufactures a line of secure radio communications products and systems for manpack, handheld, vehicular, airborne, strategic fixed-site and shipboard installations that span the communications architecture from high-capacity line of site, backbone radios, small soldier personal radios and tablet computers, as well as offers assured communications systems and equipment, including Internet Protocol based voice and data communications systems.

Shareholders are paid a 1.95% dividend. The JPMorgan price objective for the stock is $120, and the Wall Street consensus target is $121.90. The shares closed most recently at $109.31.

L3 Communications

This is one of the companies that many analysts like into the second-quarter earnings. L3 Communications Holdings Inc. (NYSE: LLL) provides aerospace systems and a range of communication and electronic systems and products used on military and commercial platforms in the United States and internationally.

The company operates in three segments: Electronic Systems, Aerospace Systems and Communication Systems. It offers a range of products and services, including components, products, subsystems and systems, as well as related services to military and commercial customers in business areas, including precision engagement and training, power and propulsion systems, aviation products and security systems, sensor systems, warrior systems, and optics, telescopes and precision optical subsystems.

Investors are paid a 1.8% dividend. JPMorgan has a $190 price objective, while the consensus target price is $184.40. The shares closed on Tuesday at $167.69.

Mercury Systems

The JPMorgan team sees this stock as one of the only pure plays on defense electronics. Mercury Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: MRCY) provides secure processing subsystems for various critical defense and intelligence programs in the United States. Its products and solutions are deployed in approximately 300 programs with 25 defense prime contractors. Its principal programs include Aegis, Patriot, Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program, Gorgon Stare, Predator, F-35 and Reaper.

The company also designs, markets and licenses software and middleware environments under the MultiCore Plus name to accelerate development and execution of signal and image processing applications on a range of heterogeneous and multi-computing platforms. The analysts are looking for multiple expansion and see upside to current guidance and estimates.

The $48 JPMorgan price target compares with the consensus target of $44.86. Shares closed most recently at $38.04.

Rockwell Collins

Top Wall Street analysts are positive on this top aerospace player and cite the recent closure of the B/E Aerospace deal as a catalyst. Rockwell Collins Inc. (NYSE: COL) is a leader in providing design, production, integration and support of communications and aviation electronics for military and commercial customers worldwide. The company’s products include avionics suites for business and commercial aircraft, radios, GPS navigation and IFE systems.

Rockwell Collins paid a total of $8.6 billion to buy B/E Aerospace in a deal that unites two of the biggest suppliers to airliner and plane makers. The arbitrage accounts that were long B/E and short Rockwell should have taken those positions off, giving Rockwell solid upside potential.

Shareholders are paid a 1.26% dividend. The JPMorgan price target is $125. The posted consensus target is $116.69. The stock closed Monday at $105.94.

With the pledge to rebuild the military and global sales remaining strong, the sector remains a solid space to stay weighted in. All four of these companies could take-off on continued good earnings, and the added catalysts may be additional fuel for the fire.