Investing

4 Stocks to Buy That Win With a Strong Dollar and Low Oil Prices

Philosopher George Santayana wrote in 1905, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Today a more appropriate quote may be “Those who remember the past, are likely to profit from it.” The portfolio strategy team at Oppenheimer put out an excellent research piece that not only takes a good look at the market situation now, but tracks S&P 500 stocks that have historically benefited from lower oil prices and a stronger U.S. dollar. With that current scenario perhaps in place for some time due to expanded energy production and rising U.S. rates, investors may do well to shift money to these stocks.

We screened the stocks that made the Oppenheimer report for companies that appear to have the best value for investors now.

Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS) reported strong third-quarter earnings and is a top pick for investors looking to own one of the best credit card stocks. Many Wall Street analysts think that the company will record higher second-half growth, even above current expectations. They are now forecasting 6% credit card growth for 2014 and higher full-year expected earnings. A continued strong share repurchase program is also expected.

Discover Financial investors are paid a 1.50% dividend. Oppenheimer has a $74 price target for the stock. The Thomson/First Call consensus target is at $70. Shares closed Thursday at $61.89.

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Lowe’s Companies Inc. (NYSE: LOW) is the home improvement company that ranks the highest with consumers, and it ranks high with the Oppenheimer team as they have the stock rated Outperform. The company has been using short ads on social media heavyweights Facebook and Twitter featuring home improvement tips. This resonates well with Americans of all ages that spend time on these sites. A pick-up in residential home sales could also offer a tailwind for the stock in 2015.

Lowe’s shareholders are paid a 1.7% dividend. The Oppenheimer price target is $60, and the consensus price objective is $55.13. Lowe’s closed Thursday at $54.96 a share.

Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) has gone from industry underdog to an industry leader, and it is another stock that screens favorably at Oppenheimer. With the domestic market showing good strength, and the pricing environment looking very solid for the rest of the year, revenues should stay strong. Tumbling jet fuel prices, which are almost 30% of carrier cost, is a plus for investors. Southwest is also busy expanding routes and adding new gates at key airports. With the restrictive Wright amendment now history at the airline’s main hub in Dallas, the company can expand routes all over the country to add additional revenue and service.

Southwest investors receive a small 0.7% dividend. The consensus price target is $37.78. The stock closed Thursday at $33.25.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) continues to reshape the company’s business as the big-box retailing model has changed dramatically over the past decade. By opening grocery stores with a smaller footprint that carry organic products, and shifting emphasis to expanding sales at Sam’s Club stores, the retail behemoth is slowly but surely reassembling the corporate structure and goals. The sheer size and scale makes Walmart a force. As of June 5, 2014, the company operated approximately 11,000 stores under 71 banners in 27 countries, as well as e-commerce sites in 10 countries.

Walmart shareholders are paid a 2.6% dividend. The consensus price target for the iconic retailer is $78.95. Shares closed Tuesday at $76.25.

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While it isn’t a sure bet these stocks will prosper due to the low-oil, strong-dollar situation, the fact they have in the past at least gives investors a leg-up when looking for new stocks to add to growth portfolios.