J.P. Morgan Top Equity Strategist Says to Buy the Weakness in Stocks

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Thomas Lee at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) was one of the last equity strategists to abandon his call for a correction back in the spring. On April 12, he threw in the towel and told clients “We capitulate on our correction call.” Last Friday he completed his 360 by telling clients that they should now be buying the weakness. Specifically, add positions in cyclicals as stocks will continue to decouple from bonds. He went on to add that ultimately the rising interest rate environment should prove good for equities in the long run.

We looked through the 25 suggested names to buy from Thomas Lee, and wanted to profile the stocks that looked best situated for a rise in rates.

Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC) is a financial name that should get a boost as rates head up. The company was recently named a Top 25 “Dividend Giant” by ETF Channel. An astounding $6.18 billion of the company’s stock is held by exchange traded funds. The Thomson/First Call estimate for the stock is $41. Investors are paid a 2.9% dividend.

PNC Financial Services Group Inc. (NYSE: PNC) was another top financial stock to buy. Wall Street analysts see PNC’s revenues growing to about $16.5 billion by 2015. That is about 6.3% revenue growth across three years’ time. Although that sounds low, it is much higher than peer regional banks. Over the next few years, analysts see PNC growing per-share earnings by more than 43% in total. The consensus price target for the stock is $74. Investors are paid a 2.5% dividend.

CA Technologies (NASDAQ: CA) provides information technology (IT) management solutions that help customers manage and secure complex IT environments to support agile business services. Organizations leverage CA Technologies software and SaaS solutions to accelerate innovation, transform infrastructure and secure data and identities, from the data center to the cloud. The consensus price target for this fast growing company is $26, which is below current trading levels. Investors are paid a solid 3.6% dividend.

LyondellBasell Industries N.V. (NYSE: LYB) is a name we see showing up on quite a few Wall Street firms’ list of stocks to buy. Together with its subsidiaries, it manufacturers and sells chemicals and polymers, refines crude oil, produces gasoline blending components and develops and licenses technologies for the production of polymers. LyondellBasell Industries has a market cap of $38.8 billion and is part of the chemicals industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 12.3, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. The consensus estimate for the stock is $72, and investors receive a 3.0% dividend.

Delta Air Lines Inc. (NYSE: DAL) is a transport name to make the list. The company announced yesterday that it and Virgin Atlantic Airways had signed a codeshare agreement across 108 routes that offers customers seamless connections to 66 destinations across North America and the United Kingdom. The company also acquired a 49% stake in the U.K.-based airline. The consensus price target for Delta is at $23. Shareholders are paid a 1.3% dividend.

Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) sold more than 70,000 F-Series pickup trucks last month, as domestic and international sales continue to grow. Ford is already posting a 14% increase in sales over last year. The consensus price objective for the stock is $17. Investors are paid a 2.7% dividend.

Macy’s Inc. (NYSE: M) is a top retail name for investors to buy. With e-commerce transactions expected to be up 13.4% this year, according to Forrester, the company is planning to expand the number of its store participating in their Omnichannel strategy. Omnichannel allows the customers to shop across various channels — online, mobile or a combination of both. This expansion will increase delivery of goods and speedy clearance of its inventory. With this initiative, the total revenue is expected to reach $9.4 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013 from $6.3 billion in the first quarter. The consensus price target is $54. Investors receive a 2.1% dividend.

Reinsurance Group of America Inc. (NYSE: RGA) hit a 52-week high last week and continues to surge forward earnings. The company offers life and health insurance products, including term life, credit life, universal life, whole life, group life and health, joint and last survivor insurance, disability income and critical illness products, as well as asset-intensive, longevity and financial reinsurance products. The consensus price objective for the stock is at $70. Investors are paid a 1.4% dividend.

Many of the Thomas Lee ideas mirror stories we have posted recently on companies with growing earnings and dividends. While the quick and dramatic market sell-off is painful, it also gives investors who have kept some powder dry an excellent opportunity to pick up quality names cheaper. We continue to advise scaling in or buying partial positions, and watching for another leg down to the 1,525 level of the S&P 500.

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