Caterpillar, Discover Financial and Other Illinois Primary Stock Picks
Today, Illinois holds its Republican Primary, as the candidates hope to add to their delegate counts. Polls show a close race between frontrunners Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. While the focus is on Illinois, let's have a look at the stocks of some of the many corporations headquartered in the Land of Lincoln and Obama.
Many of the state's most well-known corporations -- All State (NYSE: ALL), Boeing (NYSE: BA), Deere & Co. (NYSE: DE), Kraft Foods (NYSE: KFT), Motorola Mobility (NYSE: MMI), United Continental (NYSE: UAL) and Walgreen (NYSE: WAG) -- have seen share price growth only in the low single digits since the beginning of the year. McDonald's (NYSE: MCD) share price even is a bit lower year to date. Those stocks featured below, however, have seen growth of at least 20% in that time.
ACCO Brands (NYSE: ABD) has seen its share price rise almost 35% year to date, and it is up more than 118% in the past six months. The Lincolnshire-based office products maker posted better-than-expected Q4 EPS but revenues fell short of estimates. The $721.8 billion market cap company has an operating margin that is higher than the industry average. Over the past six months, the stock has outperformed competitors Avery Dennison (NYSE: AVY) and 3M (NYSE: MMM).
Caterpillar (NASDAQ: CAT) is about 26% higher than at the beginning of the year and less than 3% lower than the recent 52-week high. Last week, Jim Cramer called this DJIA and S&P 500 component a buy. The Peoria-based company has a market cap of $73.6 billion, a long-term EPS growth forecast of 24.3% and a return on equity of 41.6%. The stock has outperformed competitors such as CNH Global (NYSE: CNH) and Deere & Co. (NYSE: DE) over the past six months.
CF Industries (NYSE: CF) shares have largely rebounded from a recent pullback and are trading more than 26% higher year to date. The Deerfield-based company posted record net income results for fourth-quarter and its fifth-straight quarter of double-digit year-over-year percentage revenue growth. It has a market cap of $12.0 billion and its dividend yield is 0.9%. Over the past six months, the stock has outperformed peers Agrium (NYSE: AGU) and Potash (NYSE: POT).
Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS) rose more than 35% year to date and its shares reached a new 52-week high yesterday. Analysts expect year-over-year growth in both EPS and revenues in tomorrow's first quarter report. Based in Riverwoods, the company has a return on equity of 29.9% and a P/E ratio of 7.9. Its market cap is $17.2 billion and the dividend yield is 1.2%. The stock has outperformed MasterCard (NYSE: MA) and Visa (NYSE: V) year to date.
Fortune Brands Home & Security (NYSE: FBHS) is trading near a multiyear high and up about 26% since the beginning of the year. Shares leaped earlier this month when the company made Fortune magazine's 2012 List of the world's most admired companies. It has a $3.4 billion market cap and a long-term EPS growth forecast of 22.2%. The stock's performance was in line with competitor Masco (NYSE: MAS) over the past year but it outperformed the broader markets.
Jones Lang LaSalle's (NYSE: JLL) share price is up almost 42% year to date but is still more than 11% lower than a year ago. The Chicago-based property management company also made Fortune magazine's 2012 List of the world's most admired companies. The $3.8 billion market cap company has seen revenues rise 12.2% over the past five years, and the long-term EPS growth forecast is 17.3%. The stock has outperformed the S&P 500 and the Dow over the past six months.
Tenneco's (NYSE: TEN) share price is more than 31% higher year to date, though it is about the same as it was a month ago. Back in February, the Lake Forest-based auto parts producer reported record fourth-quarter and full-year revenue results. Tenneco has a market cap is $2.4 billion. Its long-range EPS growth forecast is 33.0% and the PEG ratio is less than the industry average. Over the past six months, the stock has outperformed the likes of BorgWarner (NYSE: BWA).
Bullish: Investors also may want to consider the following trades in Illinois-based companies:
- Baxter International (NYSE: BAX) is about 21% higher year to date.
- CME Group (NYSE: CME) is more than 21% higher year to date.
- Hospira (NYSE: HSP) is about 23% higher year to date.
- Illinois Tool Works (NYSE: ITW) is more than 24% higher year to date.
Traders may prefer to consider these alternative positions:
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