On the surface, it may seem as if now’s not the time to buy industrial stocks. With macro issues still unresolved, and the threat of a 2023 global recession still looming, there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the near-term operational performance of companies in the industrial sector.
However, that uncertainty is not a reason to sit on the sidelines. For starters, for some stocks, high uncertainty equals favorable opportunity. That is, there are plenty of cyclical industrials still trading at heavily discounted valuations, as their prospects remain murky. Some stocks in this category have become overly discounted, creating a favorable risk/reward proposition.
In other cases, there are industrial names currently benefiting from more positive trends. For example, companies with exposure to recent geopolitical conflicts, as well as companies with exposure to secular growth trends. Between these two categories, there are plenty of industrial stocks worth buying in today’s market, including these seven. All of them are reasonably-priced, and have catalysts that could each one to “crush it” in the years ahead.
Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile
United Parcel Service
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Cleveland-Cliffs (NYSE:CLF) has traded wildly over the past twelve months. Skyrocketing on the heels of the commodities supply shock caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine early last year, this steel stock gave back most of its gains (and then some), thanks to poor quarterly results.
However, investors have responded favorably to the company’s recent price hikes for steel products. As the company supplies steel based on fixed price contracts, these price increases point to higher profitability going forward. Although analyst forecasts call for Cleveland-Cliffs to earn just $1.99 per share this year, and $2.26 per share in 2024, increased steel prices, plus a rebound in automotive demand, could mean much better-than-expected results. On a longer timeframe, as InvestorPlace’s Larry Ramer recently argued, the forthcoming infrastructure spending boom could provide a further boost for the CLF stock price.
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Dover (NYSE:DOV) may be best known for its “dividend king” status. This industrial conglomerate has increased its dividend payouts an impressive 66 years in a row. Yet besides its steady, growing quarterly payouts (current forward yield of 1.41%), there’s another reason why DOV is one of the best industrial stocks to buy.
Trading for 17.8 times earnings, DOV stock trades at a discount to industrial conglomerate peers like Danaher (NYSE:DHR) and Illinois Tool Works (NYSE:ITW), which trade for 27.6 and 26.1 times earnings, respectively. Sure, one may argue this is due to low expected earnings growth for DOV. Yet while earnings growth is expected to slow in 2023, analyst forecasts call for around 9.3% earnings growth in 2024. A resumption of earnings growth, plus a modest amount of multiple expansion, could mean strong price appreciation for DOV in the years ahead.
Lockheed Martin (LMT)
Outperforming the market in 2022, Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) continues to perform well. With geopolitical uncertainty serving as a tailwind, the LMT stock could continue to stay strong, as the company continues to report solid results. As seen in recent headlines, Lockheed Martin continues to secure big-ticket contracts with the U.S. Department of Defense, such a recent $656.77 million contract win by its Sikorsky aircraft unit.
Alongside the prospect of steady results, LMT remains appealing thanks to its dividend policy. Raising its payout annually over the past twenty years, the company recently raised it again, to $3 per share quarterly. This gives LMT stock a forward yield of 2.61%.
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Over the last few months, shares of Paccar (NASDAQ:PCAR) have been recovering nicely. That’s not surprising, given that this commercial truck manufacturer continues to beat expectations with its quarterly results, despite the overhanging fears of an economic slowdown, which in theory could impact demand for its products. Admittedly, some analysts are hesitant about PCAR stock, after its hot run over the past few months. For instance, analysts at Credit Suisse earlier this month stressed that Paccar’s rally may not be sustainable, as economic challenges could start to affect results in 2023.
However, with shares trading for just 13 times earnings, even as shares have surged, the risk of an earnings slowdown could still be accounted-for in its valuation. Don’t forget, either, that Paccar has “green wave” catalysts as well. The company is working on the technology necessary to make battery electric and hydrogen-powered versions of its semi-trucks.
Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile (SQM)
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Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile (NYSE:SQM) may not be a household name in the United States, but plenty of American investors have caught onto the opportunity with the U.S.-listed shares of this Chilean-based industrial company. That’s mostly, due to its high exposure to the lithium boom. Better, with lithium demand expected to climb with the electric vehicle boom, this leading miner of lithium is poised to continue experiencing strong growth for years to come.
With this, SQM stock isn’t only one of the top industrial stocks out there. As Louis Navellier put it earlier this month, it’s also one of the best large-cap stocks to buy for the long haul. Besides the long growth runway, other factors that make this stock a strong buy-and-hold opportunity are its low earnings multiple (8.7), and its high dividend yield (9.51%).
Union Pacific (UNP)
Among stocks in the industrial sector, railroads may be some of the most appealing out there. There are several large publicly-traded U.S. Class 1 railroads out there you can buy, but Union Pacific (NYSE:UNP) in particular stands out, namely for the two ways it is returning capital to shareholders. Why? First, UNP stock offers a slightly-higher dividend compared to peers like CSX (NASDAQ:CSX) and Norfolk Southern (NYSE:NSC). UNP’s forward yield currently comes in at 2.58%, versus 1.33% for CSX, and 2.24% for NSC.
Second, UNP is aggressively buying back shares. Last year, it initiated a new share repurchase program. Through 2025, the company is authorized by its board to repurchase up to 100 million shares. Given this railroad has 642.88 million shares outstanding, this could have a tremendous impact on earnings per share (or EPS), and UNP’s stock price.
United Parcel Service (UPS)
To cap off this list of top industrial stocks, let’s look at another high-profile transportation stock: United Parcel Service (NYSE:UPS). The current economic slowdown has had an impact on the performance of shares in this package transportation company.Surging during 2020 and 2021, as the pandemic’s “stay at home economy” boosted results, UPS stock has moved lower since 2022, when pandemic headwinds dissipated, and macro headwinds emerged. That said, as I argued earlier this month, this uncertainty has pushed shares to a low valuation.
At today’s prices, UPS trades for only 14.1 times earnings. For most of the past ten years, this top transportation stock has traded for between 15 and 20 times earnings. As the economy normalizes in 2023 and 2024, United Parcel Service could revert back to this historic valuation. Alongside a low earnings multiple, UPS sports a moderately-high dividend yield of 3.38%.
On the date of publication, Thomas Niel did not hold (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.
Thomas Niel, contributor for InvestorPlace.com, has been writing single-stock analysis for web-based publications since 2016.