5 Stocks to Buy as Capital Spending Poised to Jump in 2018

March 20, 2018 by 247lee

When economic conditions are unsure, and there is any sort of worry around, both companies and consumers are generally reluctant to spend money, and with good reason. Who wants to put their capital at risk if there is a potential for an economic downturn like a recession? That’s when excess cash goes into the bank for the proverbial rainy day.

The good news for the United States is that consumer and business optimism is at heights not seen in years. The combination of less onerous regulations and a positive tax reform law have both small and large business ready to spend and invest.

In a new research report from Jefferies, the analyst sees the potential for a solid increase in capital spending, and the report highlights five stocks rated Buy that look like solid bets to benefit from that increase.

Analog Devices

This stock could very well benefit from an increase in information technology (IT) spending. Analog Devices Inc. (NASDAQ: ADI) is a leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of analog, mixed-signal and digital signal processing integrated circuits for use in industrial, automotive, consumer and communication markets worldwide. It offers signal processing products that convert, condition and process real-world phenomena, such as temperature, pressure, sound, light, speed and motion, into electrical signals.

Last year the company introduced a highly integrated polyphase analog front end with power quality analysis designed to help extend the health and life of industrial equipment while saving developers significant time and cost over custom solutions. Achieving extremely accurate, high-performance power quality monitoring typically requires customized development, which can be expensive and time-consuming.

The analysts believe that the Linear Technology acquisition, which closed earlier this year, is a huge positive. In addition, many on Wall Street expect that corporate management ultimately will exceed its $150 million of targeted synergies.

Analog Devices investors are paid a solid 2.05% dividend. The Jefferies price target for the shares is $110, and the Wall Street consensus price target was last seen at $102.86. The stock closed Monday’s trading at $93.50 a share.

Commercial Metals

This lesser known company is expected from increased spending on industrial construction. Commercial Metals Co. (NYSE: CMC) manufactures, recycles and markets steel and metal products and related materials and services in the United States and internationally. It operates through five segments: Americas Recycling, Americas Mills, Americas Fabrication, International Mill, and International Marketing and Distribution.

As one of the leading suppliers to the nonresidential construction sector, Commercial Metals has revived as that area of the market has picked up. The U.S. Architecture Billings Index (ABI), an economic indicator that provides 9-to-12-month growth forecast of nonresidential construction spending activity, which has shown very consistent growth.

Shareholders of Commercial Metals are paid a 2.0% dividend. Jefferies has a $29 price target for the stock, while the posted consensus target is $27.38. The shares closed at $23.71 on Monday.

Nucor

This top steel company could do very well if the economy continues to pick up and the administration’s infrastructure push comes back to the forefront. Nucor Corp. (NYSE: NUE) is one of North America’s largest steel producers, with almost 27 million tons of finished steel capacity at 23 mini-mills throughout the United States. The company’s downstream steel products business includes rebar fabrication, steel joists/deck, cold finished bars, fasteners, building systems and wire mesh. Nucor also has 5 million tons of scrap processing capacity.

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. Some think that continued demand from the rebuilding of large parts of Houston after Hurricane Harvey and storm damage in Florida is also be a positive that has carried into 2018.

Nucor investors are paid a very solid 2.33% dividend. The $76 Jefferies price target compares with the posted consensus target of $74.54. The stock closed Monday at $65.33 per share.

Schlumberger

This top oil services company is expected to benefit from increased exploration and production spending. Schlumberger Ltd. (NYSE: SLB) is the world’s largest provider of services and equipment used in drilling, evaluation, completion, production and maintenance of oil and natural gas wells. Revenues in 2017 totaled $30.4 billion, and EBITDA was $6.9 billion.

The company operates in the oilfield service markets through three groups: Reservoir Characterization, Drilling and Production. Reservoir Characterization Group consists of the principal technologies involved in finding and defining hydrocarbon resources. These include WesternGeco, Wireline, Testing Services and Schlumberger Information Solutions.

Schlumberger shareholders are paid a very nice 3.09% dividend. Jefferies has set its price objective at $87. The consensus target price is $81.89, and the stock ended trading on Monday at $64.70 a share.

United Rentals

This stock has rallied smartly in 2018 but still has solid upside potential. 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.

With the White House ready to focus on our crumbling infrastructure, many think that United Rentals would benefit from spending on bridge maintenance and airport and utility work, but it may see proportionally less benefit from increased highway spending as many firms use their own gear rather than renting.

The Jefferies price target is $210. The consensus target is $180.29, and the stock was last seen trading at $185.40 per share.

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These five top companies should benefit not only from corporate increases in spending but infrastructure spending, which is expected to be huge. Given that the quarter is almost over, and commentary on earnings could be forthcoming, it may make sense to buy partial positions now and see how the earnings come in.