If you live in Chicago, then you probably encountered one of the many construction projects currently underway, whether it’s another luxury high-rise condo building or a project to make the city streets operate much more smoothly.
And when President Donald Trump initially proposed his $1 trillion, 10-year infrastructure plan, which seeks to rebuild the nation’s roads, tunnels, and bridges, construction firms turned cautiously optimistic. The proposal, while light on any concrete details, involves trading an 82% tax break for private equity investment in revenue-generating infrastructure projects.
The potential for a trillion-dollar infusion of funds into an industry that has been consistently concerned about the lack of steady federal funding was a likely a breath of fresh air. The president and Congress just have to agree on a path forward, deals and decisions we now know are not easily made.
Overall, construction and infrastructure ETFs have experienced an upswing this year, with the SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF (XHB - Free Report) , the PowerShares Dynamic Building & Construction ETF (PKB - Free Report) , and the iShares U.S. Home Construction ETF (ITB - Free Report) up 14.3%, 8.8%, and 27.8% year-to-date.
Today, we’ve highlighted three construction stocks that sit at a #1 (Strong Buy) on the Zacks Rank, and boast strong growth and value fundamentals.
1. Caterpillar Inc. (CAT - Free Report)
Headquartered in Peoria, IL, Caterpillar is one of the biggest construction names in the world, backed by a global support network that’s pretty much unrivaled by anyone else in the industry. Not only are its products used for construction purposes, but Caterpillar is a trusted name in the mining, road building, forestry, energy, transportation, and material-handling industries as well.
Caterpillar was recently awarded a five-year, $663.6 million fixed-price contract from the Pentagon to supply commercial construction equipment to the U.S. Depart of Defense’s Defense Logistics Agency, beating out three other companies. Shares of CAT hit an all-time high on this news, and the stock has outperformed both the S&P 500 and the Construction-Mining industry on a year-to-date basis.
Sitting at a #1 (Strong Buy), Caterpillar anticipates big growth moving forward. Earnings are expected to grow over 52% for the current year, with nine analysts revising their estimate upwards in the last 60 days compared to none lower.
CAT stock is on the expensive side, reflected by its Value Style Score of ‘C’ and P/E of 23.7. The company’s price-to-earnings has traded above the S&P for the past year, but CAT trades in-line with its industry, showing how much investors value construction stocks at the moment.
2. Terex Corp. (TEX - Free Report)
Terex is a global manufacturer of a wide range of construction and mining related products like cranes, aerial work platforms, and materials handling equipment. The company recently underwent a restructuring effort, and while Terex’s revamp has led to a not-so-desirable near term, these moves should make Terex a better company over the long term.
Investors should note, though, that Terex’s Cranes division returned to profitability in the second quarter, and its Materials Processing segment is progressing as well. And, the company’s commercial excellence initiative continues to make headway.
A #1 (Strong Buy) on the Zacks Rank, shares of TEX have gained almost 40% so far this year. Its earnings growth for this year looks impressive, and Terex expects earnings to grow just over 30%; nine analysts have revised their estimates upwards, too, compared to none lower in the last 60 days. Sales, though, are projected to decline about 11.8% in the same time frame.
Terex has a P/E of 38.6, a value much higher than its overall industry. The stock has also traded above the S&P 500 for the past year. Due to the industry it operates in and investor optimism in both its growth potential and the positive outcome of its restructuring plan, it’s no surprise how expensive shares of TEX trade.
3. Komatsu Ltd. (KMTUY - Free Report)
Based in Tokyo, Japan, Komatsu is the world’s second largest manufacturer of construction machines, and after its acquisition of heavy machinery company Joy Global back in April, Komatsu cemented its position in the mining industry as well. Its products range from compact excavators and bulldozers to backhoe loaders and mechanical dump trucks.
Most importantly, Komatsu’s global presence is a unique advantage. Its Japanese base not only puts it in close proximity to China and Australia, two key mining markets, but it also gives the company a distinct edge over rivals like Caterpillar. One can assume Komatsu has created deep relationships with customers across many markets, markets that Caterpillar may not be familiar with.
The #1 (Strong Buy) stock expects earnings to grow about 22% for the current year, with one analyst revising their estimate upwards in their last 30 days. Sales are projected to increase 23.5% in the same time frame.
Like others in the construction space, Komatsu trades more on the expensive side, with a P/E of 20.9, just slightly below that of its broader industry’s price-to-earnings. The company has also traded above the S&P 500 for the better part of the past year, and gained about 26.5% while the index only returned roughly 12%. From a value perspective, KMTUY could be one to consider, and looks to be a relative bargain compared to its competitors.
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