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Industrial Production Rebounds in October: 4 Stocks to Buy

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U.S. industrial production rebounded strongly in October as the adverse effect of Hurricane Ida faded. The country’s economy is trying to bounce back to normal and an increase in industrial production is a major sign that the recovery is taking place faster than expected.

Industrial production has been on the rise but unexpectedly declined in September as Hurricane Ira wreaked havoc and hampered production at factories. However, October’s jump again proves that the momentum is not lost and is likely to continue as the economy reopens further. This is likely to benefit stocks like Welbilt (WBT - Free Report) , Helios Technologies (HLIO - Free Report) , Ferguson plc (FERG - Free Report) and Applied Industrial Technologies (AIT - Free Report) in the near term.

Industrial Production Rises

The Federal Reserve said on Nov 16 that industrial production grew 1.6% in October after declining 1.3% in September. The Fed attributed October’s jump to the fast recovery from the effects of Hurricane Ida.October’s jump was higher than analysts’ expectation of a 0.7% rise.

The rebound in production was led by a solid increase in the production of automobiles and motor vehicle parts that increased 11% in October.

Capacity utilization for the overall industrial sector rose 1.2% to 76.4%.Moreover, manufacturing activity rose 1.2%. Mining, which includes oil and natural gas, grew 4.1% in October. Manufacturing accounts for nearly 11.9% of the total U.S. economy. The sector is being supported lately by low interest rates and continued higher demand for goods.

Economy Recovering Faster Than Expected

September was a bad month, particularly for motor vehicles, as semiconductor shortages hampered vehicle production. Moreover, Hurricane Ida slowed down production, which somewhat eased in October.

The massive fiscal stimulus that totaled more than $5 trillion coupled and broad-based vaccination drive gave people confidence and the power to make purchases. The huge stimulus, which saw direct payments being made via checks to millions of Americans, has been driving their spending. U.S. households amassed a massive $1.6 trillion in savings in just the third quarter.

Moreover, the government, too, has been relaxing restrictions in a bid to reopen the economy faster. Although manufacturing activity somewhat slowed down in October, it has been gathering steam in the United States ever since the economy started reopening.

Manufacturing activity came up with a reading of 60.8 in October. Anything above 50 indicates expansion in manufacturing.

Our Choices

Given this scenario, it would be ideal to invest in the four stocks we have picked below. All these stocks have a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) and assure good returns. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Applied Industrial Technologies is a distributor of value-added industrial products, including engineered fluid power components, bearings, specialty flow control solutions, power transmission products and miscellaneous industrial supplies. AIT is also well known in the market for its engineering, design and systems integration services. Moreover, Applied Industrial Technologies’ inventory management solutions and maintenance training services boost the value of end users in the market. 

Applied Industrial Technologies recently reported first-quarter fiscal 2022 earnings of 1.36 per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.19. AIT posted revenues of $891.68 million for the quarter ended September 2021, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 4.56%.

Applied Industrial Technologies’ expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 14.1%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 1.9% over the past 60 days. Shares of Applied Industrial Technologies have gained 10.2% in the past 30 days. AIT has a Zacks Rank #2.

Welbilt designs, manufactures and supplies food and beverage equipment for foodservice market. WBT operates primarily in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Welbilt’sbrands include Cleveland, Convotherm, Delfield, fitkitchen, Frymaster, Garland, Kolpak, Lincoln, Manitowoc Ice, Merco, Merrychefand Multiplex. 

Earlier this month, Welbilt reported third-quarter fiscal 2021 earnings of 21 cents per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 15 cents. Over the last four quarters, WBT surpassed the consensus EPS estimates each time.

Welbilt’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is more than 100%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 3.2% over the past 60 days. Shares of WBT have gained 2.3% in the past 60 days. Welbilt has a Zacks Rank #1.

Helios Technologies is an industrial technology company. HLIO develops and manufactures hydraulic and electronic control solutions. Helios Technologies’operating subsidiaries include Sun Hydraulics, Enovation Controls and Faster Group. Its operating business segment consists of Hydraulics and Electronics. The Hydraulics segment includes material handling, construction equipment, agriculture, specialized vehicles and energy.

On Nov 7, Helios Technologies reported third-quarter fiscal 2021 earnings of $1.07 per share, outpacing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 82 cents per share. Helios Technologies’expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 82.1%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 6.8% over the past 60 days. Shares of HLIO have gained 30% in the past 30 days. Helios Technologies sports a Zacks Rank #1.

Ferguson plc distributes plumbing and heating products in the United States and Canada. FERG offers plumbing and heating solutions to customers in the residential, commercial, civil/infrastructure, and industrial end markets.

Ferguson plc also distributes pipes, valves, fittings, plumbing supplies, water heaters, kitchen and bathroom fixtures, and appliances; heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration products and supplies; and plumbing parts and supplies, fire sprinkler systems, hangers, struts, and fasteners. 

Ferguson plc’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 9.7%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 10.5% over the past 60 days. Shares of FERG have gained 10.6% in the past 30 days. Ferguson plchas a Zacks Rank #2.