Shares of Ball Corporation (BLL - Free Report) have gained 1.8% since Sep 10, following its exclusive license agreement to manufacture light-detection and ranging (LIDAR) cameras for defense and aerospace industries. The company’s shares finally crafted a 52-week high of $43.48 during intra-day trading, closing lower at $43.20 on Sep 12.
Investors are also optimistic on this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company, backed by its focus on cost-cutting actions and acquisitions.
The company has a market cap of $14.9 billion. Over the past three months, its average volume of shares traded has been approximately 2.8M. Ball Corporation surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three of the trailing four quarters, the average positive earnings surprise being 3.66%.
Ball Corporation’s shares have outperformed the industry over the past year. The stock has gained around 7%, while the industry recorded loss of 4% during the same time frame.
Also, Ball Corporation has an impressive VGM Score of B. In this, V stands for Value, G for Growth and M for Momentum, and the score is a weighted combination of these three scores. Such a score eliminates the negative aspects of stocks and selects winners. However, it is important to keep in mind that each Style Score will carry a different weight while arriving at a VGM Score.
Our research shows that stocks with Style Scores of A or B, when combined with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3, offer the best investment opportunities.
What’s Driving the Stock?
On Sep 10, Argo AI LLC — a subsidiary of Ford Motor Company (F - Free Report) — granted a license to Ball Corporation to make Geiger-mode avalanche photodiode (GmAPD) LIDAR cameras. The license provides sole ownership to Ball Corporation to make these cameras after Argo AI. These cameras are mainly used in the U.S. Department of Defense, space and other government missions, to craft an accurate 3-D representation of wide-area terrain in dense foliage.
Thus, the license will be favorable for Ball Corporation’s Aerospace segment which has more than 40 years of experience in providing advanced imaging capabilities to government and commercial customers. This manufacturing right is also in sync with Aerospace segment’s current portfolio of products.
Notably, Ball Corporation remains on track with deleveraging and anticipates net debt to comparable EBITDA ratios of 3.0-3.5 times by the end of 2018. Furthermore, the net $50 million of annual fixed cost savings associated with the North American optimization program will likely benefit the company's performance in fourth-quarter 2018 and beyond.
In 2018, Ball Corporation will focus primarily on expanding its geographic footprint, aligning with the right customers and markets, growing new products and capabilities, and leveraging on its technical knowhow. In line with this, the company began production on time and on budget in its new specialty beverage-can manufacturing facility in Goodyear, AZ, during second-quarter 2018. Further, the company's new aluminum beverage can facility, near Madrid, Spain, commenced production late in the quarter. Its Colorado facility expansions in Westminster and Boulder, CO, are on track for completion in fourth-quarter 2018. Regarding the Rexam acquisition which was closed in June 2016, Ball Corporation is on track to achieve its 2019 targets largely through the stated synergy benefits from the transaction.
The above-mentioned tailwinds have raised investors’ optimism in the stock and are anticipated to drive the company’s share price in the days ahead.
Stocks to Consider
Some better-ranked stocks in the same sector are W.W. Grainger, Inc. (GWW - Free Report) and iRobot Corporation (IRBT - Free Report) . Both the stocks sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
Grainger has a long-term earnings growth rate of 12.5%. Its shares have appreciated 109%, over the past year.
iRobot Corporation has a long-term earnings growth rate of 21%. The company’s shares have gained 32% in a year’s time.
Today's Stocks from Zacks' Hottest Strategies
It's hard to believe, even for us at Zacks. But while the market gained +21.9% in 2017, our top stock-picking screens have returned +115.0%, +109.3%, +104.9%, +98.6%, and +67.1%.
And this outperformance has not just been a recent phenomenon. Over the years it has been remarkably consistent. From 2000 - 2017, the composite yearly average gain for these strategies has beaten the market more than 19X over. Maybe even more remarkable is the fact that we're willing to share their latest stocks with you without cost or obligation.
See Them Free>>