5 Jefferies Franchise Picks to Buy With Virtually No Foreign Tariff Exposure

Like it or not, at least for the time being, it appears that the U.S. president is staying true to his word and slapping 25% tariffs on up to $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, and with good reason. It was reported last week that the Chinese had started reneging on some already agreed upon parts of the trade deal, and two days of talks at the end of the week was apparently not enough to get something permanent done.

Despite the imposition of tariffs, the market did rally back from a big hole on Friday. We decided to scan the Jefferies Franchise Picks list of top stocks to Buy that are based in the United States and do the vast majority of their business here. We found five that are solid picks for growth accounts looking to hunker down while waiting for trade deals to be finished, not only with China but with the European Union, Mexico and Canada.

Casey’s General Stores

Jefferies has remained positive on this hot consumer staples stock. Casey’s General Stores Inc. (NASDAQ: CASY) and its subsidiaries operate convenience stores under the name Casey’s General Store in approximately 10 Midwestern states, including Iowa, Missouri and Illinois.

The company operates approximately 1,930 such stores, as well as two distribution centers through which it supplies grocery and general merchandise items to its stores. Its general store typically carries over 3,000 food and nonfood items. The stores sell regional brands of dairy and bakery products, and approximately 90% of the stores offer beer. Its nonfood items include tobacco products, health and beauty aids, school supplies, housewares, pet supplies and automotive products.

Shareholders receive just a 0.86% dividend. The Jefferies price objective for the shares is $147, and the Wall Street consensus price target is $139.20. The stock closed trading last Friday at $134.88.

Floor and Decor

Jefferies continues to view this company as a beneficiary of storm-related events, such as those that have plagued the Midwest this spring. Floor and Decor Holdings Inc.’s (NYSE: FND) initial concept focused on buyouts of product, but the company has since evolved to direct sales.

The stores carry all major categories of hard flooring (tile, wood, laminate and stone), along with decorative items and the accessories needed to complete a project. Some 40% of sales are to do it yourself and 60% are to pros. The company currently operates 84 stores and is targeting 400 or more stores over the long term.

After a mixed bag first-quarter earnings report, the analysts said this:

Following a 30%+ run in shares since the fourth quarter print, shares were off as management revised the top-line guide. Comparisons for the quarter came in at +3.1%, well-ahead of peers and against a tough 15.6% compare. Gross Margins of 42.2% came in well-ahead of Street and guide. The light second quarter guide reflects cautious near-term optimism given the housing hangover from late 2018/early 2019, in our view. That said, we think the low bar and set-up for sequential improvement positions the company well for the second half. We see plenty of tailwinds to drive shares higher and we would be buyers on any weakness.

Jefferies has a $53 price target, and the consensus target is $48.Shares closed on Friday at $41.38, down almost 2% on the day.

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