Infrastructure

Searching for Value in the Cyclical Machinery & Equipment Sector (ATU, AVY, DOV, ETN, ITT, ITW, PH)

Machinery stocks rank very high as far as “cyclicality”…. If there is a sector that is dependent upon the broad economy and global growth it is the machinery sector.  Machinery also includes many related sectors in tools and services as well.  After we began dissecting this sector it turns out that there is some rather attractive value for investors who are not so sensitive to the broader dips and pops of the markets on a weekly basis.  Value investors often do not know when their shares will eventually move up but they are getting to get into the shares at levels that offer attractive entry points for the long-term.

After going through our screening process, we identified shares of the following tooling and machinery companies as offering value: Actuant Corporation (NYSE: ATU); Avery Dennison Corporation (NYSE: AVY); Dover Corp. (NYSE: DOV); Eaton Corporation (NYSE: ETN); ITT Corporation (NYSE: ITT); Illinois Tool Works Inc. (NYSE: ITW); and Parker Hannifin Corporation (NYSE: PH).

All of these companies sport attractive valuations in a fairly narrow range.  Avery Dennison posts the best forward PE multiple with 10.9.  Actuant Corporation posts the highest forward PE with a 14.1 multiple.  Every one of these companies boasts an attractive return on equity (ROE) exceeding 14.5%.  Avery Dennison, Illinois Tool Works and Parker Hannifin all boast a ROE higher than 19%.  Analysts’ estimates for next-year earnings growth range from ITT’s 8% to Actuant’s 19.6%.

Market caps among these companies range from Actuant Corporation’s $1.9 billion to Illinois Tool Works’ $29.5 billion.  Price to book ratios range from Actuant’s low of 2.15 to Illinois Tool Works’ high of 2.85. Most of these have above average upside to their consensus price targets from analysts and most are off from recent highs by more than the broader market.  Except where otherwise noted our source for all financial and performance data is Finviz.

Actuant Corporation (NYSE: ATU) posts a forward PE of just under 14 and its market cap is rather small for this group at about $1.8 billion.  Even at this relatively modest level, this is the richest price to earnings multiple among these companies.  Actuant posts a price to book ratio of 2.15 to 1, best among these companies.  Analysts estimate next-year earnings growth at 19.6%, best of this lot.  With a consensus target price of $32.00 the shares have an implied upside of 18%.  Actuant’s shares recently traded at $27.00.  The 52-week price range is $17.71 to $30.41.  This one has also paid an annual dividend of $0.04 for several years in a row and that 0.1% yield is so much lower than the rest of this group that you have to wonder if a dividend policy adjustment is necessary. Shares peaked just over $35 at the peak before the recession took hold.

Avery Dennison Corporation (NYSE: AVY) boasts a forward PE of 10.9 and a return on equity (ROE) of 19.69%.  Both of these figures are first place numbers among these companies.  Analysts estimate next-year earnings growth at 19.3%, second highest among this lot.  With a consensus target price of $46.71 the shares have an implied upside of 20%.  Avery Dennison’s shares recently traded at $38.70 and the 52-week price range is $30.92 to $43.26.  This one is diversified and some of its operations might be considered more office products than the rest of its operations.  The $4 billion company in market cap offers a dividend yield of 2.6%.  More important than its 52-week range is that this one peaked around $70 back in 2000 and then again back before the great recession.

Dover Corp. (NYSE: DOV) has a 13.8 forward price to earnings multiple, second richest of this lot.  Analysts estimate next-year earnings growth at 14.3%, lowest of these companies.  With a consensus target price of $74.67 the shares have an implied upside of roughly 8.2%, the   smallest upside among these companies.   Dover’s shares recently traded at $68.20 and the 52-week price range is $41.41 to $70.15. Dover specializes in industrial products and components and it offers a lower dividend for this group of about 1.6%. Unlike some others in this group, its shares have recently hit all-time highs and this one is down only about 4% from highs.

Eaton Corporation (NYSE: ETN) posts a forward PE of 11.3, second best among these companies.  The company’s $18 billion market cap makes it second largest in this lot.  Analysts estimate next-year earnings growth at 18.6%. With a consensus target price of $60.70 the shares have an implied upside greater than 16%.  Eaton’s shares recently traded at $51.70 and the 52-week price range is $31.87 to $56.12.  Eaton is involved in power management and it makes electrical components and systems, as well as components and systems in hydraulics, aerospace, and more.  The company also sports a common stock dividend of roughly 2.6%.

ITT Corporation (NYSE: ITT): Analysts estimate next-year earnings growth at less than 8%, ranking it seventh of these seven companies.  With a consensus target price of $64.62 the shares have an implied upside of almost 10%.  ITT’s shares recently traded at $58.50.  The 52-week price range is $41.46 to $63.44.  ITT is worth $10 billion in market capitalization and pays a dividend of about 1.7% to investors.  ITT is almost a conglomerate as far as how many segments it services in equipment, tools, and machinery for water, transportation, defense, and more.  This one traded at nearly $70 per share at the peak before the recession.

Illinois Tool Works Inc. (NYSE: ITW) posts a $29.5 billion market cap, largest of these companies.  The company posts one of the better ROE numbers with a return on equity of 19.4%.  With a consensus target price of $67.36 the shares have an implied upside greater than 15%.  The company’s shares recently traded at $58.20.  The 52-week price range is $39.29 to $59.27.  ITW pays investors a dividend of roughly 2.3%.  This one is very cyclical as it is involved in industrial products and equipment in a myriad of areas.

Parker Hannifin Corporation (NYSE: PH) posts one of the better ROE numbers with a return on equity of 19.4%.  The shares’ consensus target price of $107.46 imply an upside of almost 21%, best of this lot.  Parker Hannifin’s shares recently traded at $87.75 and the 52-week price range is $54.79 to $98.99.  The maker of fluid power systems and electromechanical controls and components seems to have lost favor of late with analysts.  If it lives up to its 10% earnings growth for fiscal 2012 (June-end), then it trades at only 11.7-times forward earnings.  It has a dividend yield of about 1.7%.

Using the term “value” certainly does not imply a search for immediate gains and many cheap stocks often get cheaper until a catalyst arises.  This group of value stocks is also not really anywhere close to 52-week lows, which is often a break-down feature that certain value fund managers use in screening value candidates from time to time for bargain bin prices of beaten up stocks.

Jon Ogg and Jim Berdou