Industrials

After the Fall: Value and Upside in Conglomerate Stocks (GE, MMM, UTX, HON, TYC)

Searching for a value play in conglomerate stocks may resemble looking for a needle in a haystack. The companies are so large and diversified that anything short of a major shake-up barely moves the share price needle. Well, not counting a bad miss on quarterly estimates.

We’ve looked at five conglomerates that offer some upside: General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE), 3M Co. (NYSE: MMM), United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX), Honeywell International Inc. (NYSE: HON), and Tyco International Ltd. (NYSE: TYC).

With one exception, implied upside for these companies wanders in the mid- to high-teens. The exception is United Technologies. The second-lowest of the five is Tyco, the de-conglomerated conglomerate.

General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) traded at $19.06 and has a market value of $203 billion. The consensus target price from Thomson Reuters is $22.57 and the 52-week range is $14.02 to $21.00. GE has a dividend yield of 3.6%. The implied upside to the consensus target is 18%, but we would note that the target is above the 52-week high.

3M Co. (NYSE: MMM) traded at $83.38 and has a market value of around $58 billion. The consensus target price from Thomson Reuters is $95.47 and the 52-week range is $68.63 to $98.19. 3M has a dividend yield of 2.8%. The implied upside to the consensus target is 14.5%, but we would note that the target is also above the 52-week high.

United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX) traded at $73.37 and has a market value of around $67 billion. The consensus target price from Thomson Reuters is $94.60 and the 52-week range is $66.87 to $91.83. UTX has a dividend yield of 2.6%. The implied upside to the consensus target is 29%, but we would note that the target is also above the 52-week high.

Honeywell International Inc. (NYSE: HON) traded at $56.72 and has a market value of around $44 billion. The consensus target price from Thomson Reuters is $67.56 and the 52-week range is $41.22 to $62.00. Honeywell has a dividend yield of 2.6%. The implied upside to the consensus target is 19%, but we would note that the target is also above the 52-week high.

Tyco International Ltd. (NYSE: TYC) traded at $53.59 and has a market value of around $24 billion. The consensus target price from Thomson Reuters is $62.20 and the 52-week range is $37.39 to $57.75. Tyco has a dividend yield of 1.9%. The implied upside to the consensus target is 16%, but we would note that the target is also above the 52-week high.

Based on these numbers, United Technologies offers the most potential upside, but the thing to keep in mind that its acquisition of Goodrich Corp. (NYSE: GR), which is set to close by mid-year, will leave the company with a large debt and not the brightest prospects for profit growth for another year or so.

Tyco, with the lowest implied gain at 16%, is splitting itself into three pieces. The company expects to complete the spin-off of its home security division into The ADT Corp. later this year as well as the spin-off of the fire and security division and the spin-off and merger of the flow control business with Pentair Inc. (NYSE: PNR). All these moves pushed the stock to a year-to-date gain of 20% in late March, which has since been ratcheted back to 15%. And over the past 12 months, only Tyco has shown an increase in share value, up more than 11%.

GE, with its 3.6% dividend yield, and implied upside of 18% is a safe choice here. 3M, with the lowest upside potential, and Honeywell are about equal otherwise. United Technologies has the most potential upside, but it may take a while to materialize. Overall, Tyco, which has withstood the fall in prices better than any of the others, may offer the best reward sooner than any of the others.

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Paul Ausick

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