The second quarter of 2013 for many industrial stocks was stubbornly soft. With difficult year-over-year comparisons, and the economy both here and abroad struggling to gain traction, many of the top industrial stocks covered at Oppenheimer are looking forward to the other half of 2013. With guidance in place to account for the difficult quarter, Oppenheimer has a list of industrial stocks to buy that it thinks have a strong possibility for sharply pivoting fundamentals the rest of the year. With comparisons easing significantly the rest of the year, investors could be in for some big gains from these top names.
Wesco International Inc. (NYSE: WCC) is the top stock to buy at Oppenheimer. The company is a U.S. distributor of products and supplies to the construction and utility industries, as well as to industrial firms and the government. Wesco has a diverse product base spread across four major industries and covering the United States and Canada, and it has averaged more than 7% topline growth for the past 20 years. The Thomson/First Call price target for the stock is $80.
W.W. Grainger Inc. (NYSE: GWW) has been profitable for the past eight quarters, and for the past four profit has risen year-over-year by an average of 3%. It was in the second quarter that the company saw the biggest boost, a surge of 12%. The consensus price target for the stock is $267.50. Investors are paid a 1.4% dividend.
Hubbell Inc. (NYSE: HUB-B) is set to report its second-quarter earnings tomorrow. The company markets wire and other electrical products that tend to sell well during extensive infrastructure growth phases, such as what has happened in India and China over the past few years. No consensus price target for the stock is posted. Investors are paid a 2.1% dividend.
General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) is expected to have an inline quarter, but orders are expected to be very strong going forward. Oppenheimer believes backlog has continued to increase solidly, and it suspects increasing potential for a real core beat in the seasonally strong fourth quarter of the year. The consensus price target for the iconic industrial giant is $25.50. Investors receive a solid 3.2% dividend.
Honeywell International Inc. (NYSE: HON) is another large cap industrial giant that is poised for a strong second half. Despite some recent controversy over a Honeywell product being related to a fire in the new Dreamliner jet, earnings and expectations have continued to go higher as the company has been a recipient of strong orders from the housing industry. The consensus price objective for this top name is $84.50. Investors a paid a 2.0% dividend.
Generac Holdings Inc.‘s (NYSE: GNRC) trailing-12-month revenue increased 33.1%, and inventory increased 29.3%. Comparing the latest quarter to the prior-year quarter, the story looks very solid. Revenue increased 35.7%, and inventory grew 29.3%. Over the sequential quarterly period, the trend looks healthy. Revenue grew 16.8%, and inventory grew 14.6%. The consensus price target for the stock is $42.
Eaton Corp. PLC (NYSE: ETN) boosted its dividend by 11% earlier this year, and appears poised to have an extremely strong second half of the year. The consensus for this top industrial name is $73.50. Investors receive a 2.5% dividend.
Ametek Inc. (NYSE: AME) manufactures and sells electronic instruments and electromechanical devices in North America, Europe, Asia and South America. The company operates in two segments: Electronic Instruments Group and Electromechanical Group. The consensus price target for the stock is $46. Investors are paid a small 0.5% dividend.
Given that we are right in the thick of the second-quarter earnings season and the market has been printing new highs seemingly daily, investors may want to wait for numbers to initiate or add to positions in these stocks. Remember, Oppenheimer is of the view that these may really be second-half stories, so rushing to buy the stocks now may not be the best for investors.