5 Infrastructure Stocks to Buy for a Clinton or Trump Presidency

October 3, 2016 by 247lee

Presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton don’t agree on many talking points, and for obvious reasons. Trump is more in the conservative arena while Clinton the liberal one. But there is one thing that both candidates have said they will take action on if elected, and many of the top companies that stand to benefit from this may be outstanding buys now.

A new Jefferies research piece points out that both of the candidates have said that the infrastructure issues in the United States will be one of their biggest priorities, and with good reason. After years of neglect the nation has many roads, bridges, airports, electrical grids and a host of other important needs that need immediate attention. According to the report:

Public spending on infrastructure as a percentage of GDP is approaching all-time low levels, and the need for spending is further evidenced by increasing commuter delays, delayed flight departures and a high percentage of deficient bridges and roads. Should infrastructure spending rise towards the higher end of the historical range, it would be worth ~50 basis points of GDP (plus multipliers and external effects) and while there are many arguments against an increase in spending, the data in the report strongly suggests there is vast scope for improvement, especially with the backdrop of low rates, ample financing and an abundance of labor with limited skills.

The analysts feel steel companies, miners, autos, specialty finance and other sectors could benefit. Here are some stocks they specifically mentioned, and others in the categories.

AO Smith

This is a more off-the-radar pick that the Jefferies team thinks has big upside potential. AO Smith Corp. (NYSE: AOS) is a global leader applying innovative technology and energy-efficient solutions to products manufactured and marketed worldwide. The company is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of residential and commercial water heating equipment, as well as a manufacturer of water treatment products.

The company’s primary business is manufacturing water heaters and boilers for the residential and commercial markets. It is the market share leader in the United States for both residential and commercial water heaters. The innovative Wisconsin-based company also has a small — but growing — consumer water-treatment business that it started in China but has expanded into the United States.

An increased spend on infrastructure, including health, education, office buildings and commercial, should bode well for the company. The sales in infrastructure and commercial implies better margins and bodes well for the sustainability of improved margin.

Investors receive a 1.0% dividend. The Jefferies price target for the stock, which will soon split two for one, is $111. And the Wall Street consensus target is $100.09 The shares closed Friday at $98.79.

Commercial Metals

Jefferies has remained very positive on this company for years. Commercial Metals Co. (NYSE: CMC) manufactures, recycles and markets steel and metal products, and related materials and services in the United States and internationally.

As one of the leading suppliers to the nonresidential construction industry, Commercial Metals has revived as that area of the market has picked up. The U.S. Architecture Billings Index, an economic indicator that provides nine-month to 12-month growth forecasts of nonresidential construction spending activity, has shown growth in 21 of the past 24 months.

Shareholders receive a 2.96% dividend. Jefferies has a $16.50 price target for the Hold-rated stock, while the consensus target is $16.19. Shares closed Friday at $16.19.

Freeport-McMoRan

This stock has been absolutely crushed over the past five years and may indeed be a compelling value at current levels. Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (NYSE: FCX) is a premier U.S.-based natural resources company with an industry-leading global portfolio of mineral assets, significant oil and gas resources and a growing production profile. It is the world’s largest publicly traded copper producer.

The company’s portfolio of assets includes the Grasberg minerals district in Indonesia, one of the world’s largest copper and gold deposits; significant mining operations in the Americas, including the large-scale Morenci minerals district in North America and the Cerro Verde operation in South America; the Tenke Fungurume minerals district in the DRC; and significant U.S. oil and natural gas assets principally in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico and in California.

Highly leveraged toward copper mining, the company could be a big player in a scenario of rebuilding and repairing old and battered projects and would clearly benefit from stronger demand and higher prices for industrial commodities.

The stock is rated Buy at Jefferies with a $15 price objective. The consensus price target is $11.51. The shares closed on Friday at $10.86.

Nucor

This top steel company could do very well if the economy sees a solid pickup next year. Nucor Corp. (NYSE: NUE) and its affiliates are manufacturers of steel products, with operating facilities primarily in the United States and Canada. Its products include: carbon and alloy steel – in bars, beams, sheet and plate; steel piling; steel joists and joist girders; steel deck; fabricated concrete reinforcing steel; cold finished steel; steel fasteners; metal building systems; steel grating and expanded metal; and wire and wire mesh.

Nucor, through the David J. Joseph Company, also brokers ferrous and nonferrous metals, pig iron and HBI/DRI; supplies ferro-alloys; and processes ferrous and nonferrous scrap. Nucor is North America’s largest recycler.

While the residential construction market could slow down some in 2017 after years of a very torrid pace, Jefferies and other top Wall Street analysts remain positive on nonresidential commercial construction. Nucor has always kept a very conservative balance sheet and is poised for slow but steady growth next year and beyond, especially if a huge infrastructure build-out becomes a reality.

Nucor investors receive a 3.03% dividend. The $55 Jefferies price target compares with the consensus target of $53.75. The stock closed Friday at $49.45.

United Rentals

This stock got hit last month pretty hard and may be offering investors a good entry point. United Rentals Inc. (NYSE: URI) is the largest equipment rental company in the world. It has an integrated network of 876 rental locations in 49 states and 10 Canadian provinces. With approximately 12,200 employees, the company serves construction and industrial customers, utilities, municipalities, homeowners and others. It offers for rent approximately 3,100 classes of equipment for rent.

The Jefferies analysts point out that while the focus will be on the type of infrastructure seeing increased spending, they think that United Rentals would benefit from increased spend on bridge maintenance, airports and utility work, but may see proportionally less benefit from increased highway spending as many firms use their own gear rather than renting.

The Jefferies price target for the Buy-rated stock is $88, and the consensus target is $75.40. The shares closed Friday at $78.49.

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Regardless of who ends up in the White House, the crumbling infrastructure in the United States is a huge issue, and both candidates know it needs to be addressed. While it certainly won’t even start to be financed and actually proceed until later next year and beyond, it’s smart for investors who like this angle to add some small positions now.