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Here's Why Wabtec (WAB) Should Grace Your Portfolio Now

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Wabtec Corporation’s (WAB - Free Report) solid performance in the Freight and Transit segments is boosting its top line. Investor-friendly moves like dividend hikes and share buyback programs are also encouraging.  Driven by the tailwinds, WAB has been an impressive performer on the bourse. If you have not taken advantage of its share price appreciation yet, it’s time to do so.

Let’s take a look at the factors that make the stock a strong investment pick at the moment.

Robust Price Performance: A glimpse of the company’s price trend reveals that its shares have surged 66.2% in a year, surpassing the industry’s 9% growth.

Zacks Investment Research
Image Source: Zacks Investment Research

Solid Rank & Momentum Score: WAB currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and has a Momentum Score of A. Our research shows that stocks with a Momentum Score of A or B, when combined with a Zacks Rank #1 or 2 (Buy), offer the best investment opportunities. Thus, the company seems to be an appropriate investment proposition at the moment.

Northward Estimate Revision: The Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings growth has been revised upward by 28.37% over the past 90 days for the current quarter. For the current year, the consensus mark for earnings growth has moved 19.76% north in the same time frame. The favorable estimate revisions indicate brokers’ confidence in the stock.

Impressive Earnings Surprise History: WAB has an impressive earnings surprise history. Its earnings outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three of the trailing four quarters, delivering an average surprise of 11.46%.

Driving Factors: WAB’s top line is thriving, driven by increased sales in both its Freight and Transit segments. With a robust backlog and strong demand, Wabtec is poised for continued success. Recent new orders in Kazakhstan are expected to further boost revenues, reflecting a positive outlook.

Moreover, Wabtec boosted its quarterly dividend by 17.6% while releasing the fourth-quarter earnings of 2023, raising the annualized payout to 80 cents. Additionally, the company approved a $1 billion share buyback. The company consistently prioritizes shareholder rewards, distributing $123 million in dividends and repurchasing $409 million in shares in 2023.

Bullish Industry Rank: The industry to which WAB belongs currently has a Zacks Industry Rank of 18 (250 plus groups). Such a good rank places WAB in the top 7% of Zacks Industries. Studies show that 50% of a stock price movement is directly related to the performance of the industry group it belongs to.

A mediocre stock within a strong group is likely to outclass a robust stock in a weak industry. Therefore, reckoning the industry’s performance becomes imperative.

Other Stocks to Consider

Some other top-ranked stocks for investors’ consideration in the Zacks Transportation sector include Air Lease (AL - Free Report) and Kirby Corporation (KEX - Free Report) . Each stock currently sports a Zacks Rank #1. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Air Lease has an encouraging track record with respect to earnings surprise, having surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in each of the last four quarters. The average beat is 20.15%.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2024 earnings has been revised 39.62% upward over the past 90 days. AL has an expected earnings growth rate of 29.96% for 2024. AL shares have risen 29.4% in the past year.

Kirby’s measures to reward its shareholders through share buybacks are appreciative. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for KEX’s 2024 earnings has improved 32.63% over the past 90 days. Shares of Kirby have surged 51.4% in the past year.

KEX has an expected earnings growth rate of more than 36.56% for 2024. KEX delivered a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 10.26%, on average.



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