Jefferies Gives Industrial Stocks of the Month to Buy

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Jefferies is out with its industrial picks of the month as stocks to buy. The higher the stock market goes, the more difficult it becomes for investors to put money to work. When breaking down stocks to buy after such a big move up, there are two good indicators to look at: 1) companies that face easy second half of 2013 comparisons and 2) companies with earnings that are biased or loaded towards the second half of this year.

The analysts at Jefferies scoured their coverage universe for industrial stocks that fit those two categories. They continue to expect several specific end-markets to lead an acceleration in industrial activity in the second half of the year. After a generally lackluster first quarter, the degree of the improvement is difficult to project. So using several important industrial variables, they found that even with no improvement in the industrial economy, second half of the year sales should benefit from easier comparisons.

They believe machinery and auto/transports are relatively more attractive from a valuation perspective. The industrial stock picks of the month that fall in those two categories are:

Ingersoll-Rand PLC (NYSE: IR) also has been on the radar screen of CNBC’s Jim Cramer this week. The company engages in the design, manufacture, sale and service of a diverse portfolio of industrial and commercial products in the United States and internationally. The Thomson/First Call price objective for the stock is $58. Investors receive a 1.50% dividend.

PACCAR Inc. (NASDAQ: PCAR) hit a 52-week high less than two weeks ago. The company designs, manufactures and distributes light, medium and heavy-duty trucks and related aftermarket parts worldwide. The consensus price target for the stock is $50, which is below the current trading level. Shareholders are paid a 1.50% dividend.

AGCO Corp. (NYSE: AGCO) is another name the recently bounced down from a 52-week high. Valuations remain attractive for this agriculture equipment company even after a 30% return since May 2012. The consensus price target is $59. Investors receive a small 0.7% dividend.

Norfolk Southern Corp. (NYSE: NSC) is a major railroad that makes the Jefferies list of stocks to buy. Transporting raw materials around the country, the company operates approximately 20,000 miles of route in 22 states and the District of Columbia. Consensus price estimates for the stock are at $85. Shareholders are paid a 2.50% dividend.

Dana Holding Corp. (NYSE: DAN) recently received two grants totaling $3 million to develop technology to improve thermal management systems for battery systems in electric, plug-in hybrid-electric and hybrid-electric vehicles. The consensus for the stock is $19.50. Investors receive a 1.10% dividend.

Ryder System Inc. (NYSE: R) is the last stock of the month to buy at Jefferies. Ryder System is more than just a truck rental company these days. It also provides innovative outsourced transportation, logistics and supply chain solutions globally. The consensus price target is $69. Investors receive a 2.00% dividend.

Investors interested in the Jefferies stocks need to remember the main thesis. These are stocks expected to benefit more than others in the second half of 2013. So while they may be the stock picks of the month, there may not be any rush to buy them today.

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