Friday’s nonfarm payroll number was a pleasant surprise. However, for real growth to return we need to consistently add 250,000 jobs per month. Our economy is sluggish at best, and corporate profit margins are at or near cyclical highs following several years of cost reductions. This very mixed picture for investors implies that sector, industry and stock selection is extremely important now.
The Institutional Portfolio team at Oppenheimer ran extensive screens and filtered for stocks that have the qualities needed at this lofty level of the markets. Scanning everything from market breadth to companies that beat sales expectations, they have a list of stocks to buy that should hold their ground even in the event of a market correction.
Here are the institutional stocks to buy at Oppenheimer broken out by sector.
Materials: Celanese Corp. (NYSE: CE) is the stock to buy in this sector. Celanese engages in the manufacture and sale of value-added chemicals, thermoplastic polymers and other chemical-based products. The Thomson/First Call estimate for the stock is $54.
Industrials: Owens Corning (NYSE: OC) is one of three names to buy in this sector. Owens Corning produces and sells glass fiber reinforcements and other materials for composite systems and residential and commercial building materials worldwide. The consensus price target is $49.
Republic Services Inc. (NYSE: RSG) is one of the largest waste management companies in the United States. Bill Gates’s investment company Cascade holds a large position in the stock. The consensus target for the stock is $37. Republic pays a 2.8% dividend.
Norfolk Southern Corp. (NYSE: NSC), although a railroad, it is placed in the industrials category at Oppenheimer. With coal shipments rebounding, earnings have grown smartly. The consensus is $84.50. Shareholders receive a 2.60% dividend.
Consumer Discretionary: Johnson Controls Inc. (NYSE: JCI) has hit new highs recently as sales surge to home builders and automakers. The consensus price target is $36. Investors are paid a 2.20% dividend.
Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (NYSE: CMG) makes the Oppenheimer list. Often a target of short sellers, Chipotle continues to expand at a fast pace. The consensus price objective for the stock is $375.
Consumer Staples: Walgreen Co. (NYSE: WAG) is the largest drug retailing chain in the United States, with stores in all 50 states. With the long running dispute with Express Scripts Holding Co. (NASDAQ: ESRX) settled, the stock has been on fire. The consensus estimate is $50. Shareholders receive a 2.20% dividend.
Health Care: Aetna Inc. (NYSE: AET) is the managed care pick in this sector at Oppenheimer. Investors are carefully watching how the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) will affect corporate earnings. The consensus price target for the stock is $60. Aetna pays a 1.40% dividend.
BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. (NASDAQ: BMRN) is also a stock to buy. With the company’s explosive “orphan drug” pipeline, the stock hit a 52-week high on Friday. The consensus price target for BioMarin is $67.
Technology: Corning Inc. (NYSE: GLW) is another stock that hit a 52-week high on Friday. With five different segments generating revenue, the stock could be poised for a substantial breakout. The consensus target is $15. Investors receive a 2.80% dividend.
Lam Research Corp. (NASDAQ: LRCX) is the other top tech stock to buy at Oppenheimer. The company designs, manufactures, markets, refurbishes and services semiconductor processing equipment used in the fabrication of integrated circuits. The consensus price target is $50.
With giddy traders pushing all of the indices to either record or multiyear highs, investors need to be selective when putting any capital to work. Generally, knowing when to sell is much harder than knowing when to buy. Readers may want to examine their portfolios and sell partial positions of any big winners and hold the cash to purchase new shares after a market correction.