Industrials

The Best Big Conglomerate Stock for 2016

With 2015 coming to an end, it is hard to imagine that December 18 was the final trading Friday of the year. Investors have dealt with choppy markets in 2015 and a new review from 14 Wall Street strategists projected a positive but choppy 2016.

24/7 Wall St. has been reviewing sectors backward and forward and wanted to look at the conglomerates for an outlook in 2016. General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) has so far led 2015, with gains of about 25%, with Honeywell International Inc. (NYSE: HON) up nearly 5%. 3M Co. (NYSE: MMM), after a stellar 2014, was last seen down 7% for 2015, because of the reaction to its recent guidance. Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK-A) has suffered due to mixed investment performance and due to a poor rail bias in the current climate.

So, which conglomerate has the most upside potential? 24/7 Wall St. took a look at what has been working (or has been a drag) for 2015 and provided basic valuation and trading data for what may lie ahead. This also includes consensus analyst data from Thomson Reuters, price-to-earnings (P/E) valuations for 2016 (not on Berkshire though) and individual analyst reports or outlooks, which may be more positive than the consensus estimates.

GE

General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) led the conglomerate wave in 2014 and has 25% gains so far this year. GE has migrated away from being a financial powerhouse and toward more of an industrial conglomerate. It has completed the Synchrony Financial (NYSE: SYF) spin-off and exchange, is buying back billions in shares, and still offers a 3% yield after running up so much. GE is likely to hike its dividend after things start to normalize.

Shares of GE were last seen trading at $30.50, with a consensus analyst price target of $31.77 and a 52-week trading range of $19.37 to $31.23. The company has a market cap of $288 billion and a dividend yield of 3.0%. Looking ahead to 2016, the company has a multiple of 20.2, compared to the current price.

One concern about the stock is that Credit Suisse recently removed GE from its Focus List, but the firm was still very positive with a $34 price target (up from $31). GE has roughly 6% implied upside for 2016 to the consensus target if you include the dividend, so the gains in 2015 may have bitten into that expected upside — which might mean investors will buy aggressively if the stock pulls back very much. Now GE just has to hope for oil and gas to catch up again.


Honeywell

So far in 2015, Honeywell International Inc. (NYSE: HON) was up almost 5%. The company continues to play with its portfolio of units, and its big share price growth was from early 2012 around $55.00 and rising to $100 by the end of 2014. Honeywell appears to be having better margins than expected, and its Elster acquisition is viewed as positive.

Honeywell shares were recently trading at $102.50. The stock has a consensus price target of $114.85 and a 52-week range of $87.00 to $107.41. The market cap is $79 billion, with a dividend yield of 2.4%. Looking ahead to 2016, the company has a multiple of 15.6, compared to the current price.

Analysts have a consensus upside for Honeywell of 12% or so, or almost 15% if you include the dividend, for 2015. Oppenheimer just came out a bit more aggressive, with a price target hike to $120.00 per share after its 2016 guidance of $6.45 to $6.70 earnings per share (EPS) for 6% to 10% expansion, implying upside of closer to 17% if Oppenheimer is correct.