Robust export gains played an important role earlier in this economic cycle by lifting factory output and employment. However, this tailwind to growth subsequently entered a phase of steady deceleration from mid-2010 through the end of last year. The equity strategists at Deutsche Bank did not expect much of a positive lift to activity from the export sector in 2013. Then the sector added a full percent to growth in the second quarter and 60 basis points to growth in the third quarter. These are numbers that bode well for large American companies that are the major exporters.
The Deutsche Bank team has plowed through everything from the ISM export orders to container loadings. They feel comfortable that strong exports next year to larger emerging market countries like China and Brazil will help drive Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth here at home. Here are the top large cap exporters to buy.
The Boeing Company (NYSE: BA) is expecting record sales of the 737 and 777 models despite ongoing problems with the flagship Dreamliner. The stock has had a tremendous run over the last year, and may be a better buy on a pullback. Investors are paid a 1.4% dividend. The Thomson/First Call price target for the stock is $142. Boeing closed Friday at $135.97.
Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) continues to have strong sales into China, which is the top export category in to that country from the U.S. The stock has had a difficult time this year as earnings have disappointed Wall Street A strong 2014 may be just what the doctor ordered. Investors are paid a decent 2.9% dividend. The consensus price target for the stock is $89.50. Caterpillar closed Friday at $82.88.
Deere & Company (NYSE: DE) delivered much stronger earnings than expected last week despite a drop in sales and revenues. Most importantly from an export standpoint, Deere & Company is positioned worldwide to deliver high quality farming and construction equipment to help customers increase farm efficiency. Investors are paid a 2.4% dividend. The consensus price target for the stock is posted at $87 and Deere closed Friday at $84.77.
E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (NYSE: DD), or simply DuPont, is benefitting from incredible overseas demand for their chemical products. The company is also experiencing strong momentum in its agriculture business, driven by higher corn seeds and crop protection sales. The agriculture division, which accounted for 30% of sales in 2012, is gaining market share in seed genetics following strong planting activity in North and Latin America. Investors are paid a 2.9% dividend. The consensus price objective for the stock is $63. DuPont closed Friday at $61.70.
Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) continues on its astounding growth in sales domestically and around the world. Ford continues to implement its ‘ONE FORD’ plan successfully and accelerate development of new vehicles customers want. The company continues to have success driving operating margin improvement and has reduced North America’s structural costs by more than $9 billion since 2005. Ford pays shareholders a 2.4% dividend. The consensus price target for the stock is set at $21. Ford closed Friday at $17.01.
General Electric Company (NYSE: GE) is a huge benefactor in the explosion of aircraft sales. Despite some recent issues with potential icing issues on some of their engines, sales have been very strong here and overseas, and exports may stand out more when analyzing the company after the spin-off of the consumer finance operations in 2014. Investors receive a 2.8% dividend. The consensus price target for the stock is almost $28.50 and GE shares closed on Friday at $27.08.
General Motors Company (NYSE: GM) has also benefitted from incredible sales in China to boost revenue. GM invested heavily in China, and grabbed a big chunk of what is now the world’s largest auto market. GM delivered 2.84 million vehicles in China in 2012, representing 11% growth. The consensus price target for the stock is $48. GM closed Friday at $37.63.
International Paper Company (NYSE: IP) was a recent addition in a big way to the portfolio of George Soros. International Paper’s last quarterly earnings report topped expectations due to growth in packaging. The company recently upped their dividend 17% and plans to buy back $1.5 billion worth of their shares over the next few years. Investors are paid a solid 3% dividend. The consensus price target for the stock is $54. The company closed Friday at $46.89.
Monsanto Company (NYSE: MON) acquired The Climate Corporation on November 1st and effectively took control of all of the variables that farmers cannot control on their own. The goal of the acquisition is to provide farmers with more information and tools regarding the climate, and is in-line with Monsanto’s goals of improving agricultural productivity. Monsanto sees the weather-predicting prowess of The Climate Corporation as not only a tool to help increase crop productivity, but also as a business capable of producing substantial annual returns. Investors receive a 1.5% dividend. The consensus price target for the stock is $120. Monsanto closed Friday at $113.86.
Weyerhaeuser Co. (NYSE: WY) is a forest products company, that grows and harvests trees, builds homes, and manufactures forest products worldwide. It grows and harvests trees for use as lumber, other wood and building products, and pulp and paper. The company manages 6.4 million acres of private commercial forestland; and has long-term licenses on 13.9 million acres of forestland. Continued export growth has lifted revenues solidly. Shareholders are paid a very solid 3% dividend. The consensus price target for the stock is $34. Weyerhaeuser closed Friday at $29.56.
If the Deutsche Bank team is right and exports grow in 2014 owning these top stocks may be a solid portfolio move. We continue to caution investors on buying stock after such a gigantic run in the markets. The S&P 500 gain of over 26% is the most since 1997. Scaling money in or waiting for a correction makes good sense now.