Top Wall Street Strategist Says to Buy Stocks With Foreign Exposure Now

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For years, the prevailing wisdom, especially as the dollar strengthened, was to focus on buying stocks with more exposure to the United States for sales and revenues than overseas. However, the tide may be shifting for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that the consistent drone of lousy economic news and data from abroad may be ready to turn some in 2020. One top Wall Street analyst thinks it’s time to look for stocks with foreign exposure.

Top-notch Jefferies market strategist Steven DeSanctis says there are numerous reasons for investors to look overseas. In a new research report, he cites some specifics:

We shift our preference to favor names with more overseas exposure given our view that economic news outside the US should improve over the next few months, resulting in a softer dollar. In addition, we anticipate an earnings recovery for stocks with foreign exposure in the fourth quarter and in 2020 estimated (foreign exposed names should outgrow domestic) and point out that revisions appear to have bottomed. Valuations have also become attractive on an absolute basis, now trading below the long-term average.

The Jefferies team screened the firm’s Buy-rated companies with market caps between $2 billion and $30 billion with foreign sales greater than 25%, and return on equity greater than 12%. Over a dozen companies matched the metrics, and here we picked five of the bigger and more well-known companies.

Ciena

This company has had a very up and down 52 weeks and frequently has been the subject of takeover rumors. Ciena Corp. (NASDAQ: CIEN) is a vendor for high-capacity optical transport and Ethernet switching equipment to carriers, enterprises, cable operators and governments. It specializes in transitioning legacy communications networks to converged, next-generation architectures capable of efficiently delivering a broader mix of high bandwidth services.

The company’s Converged Packet Optical segment offers networking solutions optimized for the convergence of coherent optical transport, Optical Transport Network (OTN) switching and packet switching. Its products comprise the 6500 Packet-Optical Platform, 5430 Reconfigurable Switching System, CoreDirector Multiservice Optical Switches and OTN configuration for the 5410 Reconfigurable Switching System.

The Jefferies price target for the stock is $55, and the Wall Street consensus target was last seen at $50.22. The final trade on Friday came in at $38.45 a share.

Eastman Chemical

This stock has rallied smartly off the August lows but is still way below highs printed back in the spring. Eastman Chemical Co. (NYSE: EMN) engages in the provision of specialty chemicals. It operates through the following segments.

The Additives and Functional Products segment includes chemicals for products in the transportation, consumables, building and construction, animal nutrition, crop protection, energy, personal and home care, and other markets. The Fiber segment offers cellulose acetate tow for use in filtration media, primarily cigarette filters.

The Advanced Materials segment of Eastman Chemical produces and markets its polymers, films and plastics with differentiated performance properties for value-added end uses in transportation, consumables, building and construction, durable goods, and health and wellness markets.

The Chemical Intermediates segment consists of large scale and vertical integration from the cellulose and acetyl, olefins and alkylamines streams to support operating segments with advantaged cost positions.

Investors in Eastman Chemical receive a solid 3.4% dividend. The Jefferies team has an $87 price objective, near the posted consensus target price of $85.75. The shares were last seen trading at $73.09 apiece.