Jefferies Picks Top Stocks to Buy from Its Key Industrial Conference

The summer Wall Street conference season is starting to wind down, and next week will feature Jefferies Global Industrial Conference in New York City. The 2013 conference will feature an extensive range of public and private companies across the Industrials, Transportation/Automotive and Aerospace and Defense sectors. Jefferies asked each of its global industrials analysts for controversial stocks or themes ahead of the conference. The firm specifically asked for stocks or themes where the analysts felt there could be information presented at the conference that could help to settle at least part of the controversy. Here are the top stocks by sector picked by the Jefferies analysts.

Aerospace and Defense

Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) is certainly a controversial name this year. With problem after problem arising in the new Dreamliner, and grounding occurring as a result, investors certainly will want to know the current status of the gigantic aircraft. Jefferies has posted a $124 price target for the stock. The Thomson/First Call consensus estimate is at $120.50. Shareholders are paid a 1.8% dividend.

Honeywell International Inc. (NYSE: HON) will be targeted with questions surrounding the effect of the sequester on defense spending, and how that will play into the earnings picture. Jefferies forecasts continued margin improvement in 2013 through 2015 due to improved mix and increased productivity. The Defense & Space business also is benefiting from the shared services model. Ongoing upgrade of the M1 tank also adds to the business base. Jefferies has put a $98 price target on the stock, while the consensus figure is lower at $88.50. Investors are paid a 1.8% dividend.

United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX) will be questioned about the sustainability of its current commercial business momentum and profitability in aerospace. With residential construction strong and commercial improving, Jefferies thinks the company will look to Europe for growth. The Jefferies price target for the stock is at $120, and the consensus stands at $117. Stockholders are paid a 2.0% dividend.

Clean Technology Automotive

Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) has been the momentum investor’s dream stock this year. The company blew out earnings after the close on Wednesday and is punishing the short-sellers. Jefferies will pursue whether the current lofty valuation is pricing in successful development and sales of future products, including the Model X and Gen III sedan. The current Jefferies price target is $130, but after crushing estimates, that may go higher soon. The consensus target for the stock is at $110.

Industrial Chemicals

Celanese Corp. (NYSE: CE) shares trade off macro “pegs” — China, oil prices, the yield curve and industrial demand due to high quarter-to-quarter volatility. Jefferies’ thesis is that there are structural shifts that should help Celanese outperform the macro trade in 2014 and 2015. With China economic data firming this week, Celanese may be poised for a strong second half of 2013. The Jefferies price target is $60, and the consensus target is at $54. Investors receive a 1.5% dividend. The Jefferies target is the highest on Wall Street and would represent 25% gain from current trading levels.

W.R. Grace & Co. (NYSE: GRA) is expected to address the competitive balance in fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) catalysts, customer order behavior, the role innovation cycles play in both pricing and share shifts and the longer-term opportunity to extend its catalyst platform into adjacent end-markets, such as isomerization catalysts. With high gasoline and diesel pricing, this could be a critical area for the company. The Jefferies price target is set at $94, while the consensus target is $89.

Steel and Specialty Metals

A.M. Castle & Co. (NYSE: CAS) announced a large restructuring plan in January of this year, and investors will be very interested on the progress of the plan to date. Jefferies expects an update on the overall market environment, insight from management as to its progress in implementing the restructuring plan and its ability to meet near-term targets will be a key focal point among investors, particularly as it relates to cost-cutting efforts. The Jefferies price target is $20, while the consensus is at $18.

Luxfer Holdings PLC (NYSE: LXFR) has a meaningful number of growth opportunities, ranging from energy applications to medical. Of particular focus will likely be its Cylinders business, with substantial future growth potentially driven by compressed natural gas (CNG) cylinders for use in natural gas powered vehicles and gas transportation. The Jefferies price target on this very intriguing stock is $22, and the consensus is at $21. Investors are paid a 2.4% dividend.

With some very high-profile names and issues among some of their top stocks to buy, investors may want to add stocks they like before next week’s conference. Research and analysis often spreads quickly from presentations, and next week could hold big news for names like Boeing and Tesla.