US Stocks have experienced a stellar growth spurt in 2019. We are now at record levels, with the S&P 500 trading up 24% year-to-date. The question is, can the rally continue?
According to Barclays, the answer is ‘yes.’ Heading into 2020, the banking firm’s Chief U.S. Equity Strategist, Maneesh Deshpande, is optimistic that lower recession odds, along with stronger data and a cooling down in the U.S. – China trade war could drive the S&P 500 even higher in 2020.
“Our “mini-bubble melt-up scenario” appears to be materializing: Recent data indicates the global manufacturing slowdown is stabilizing, and although we are not completely out of the woods, we do not expect it to morph into a recession next year. We are cautiously optimistic for a détente in the US-China Trade War, and monetary policy also remains accommodative around the globe,” Deshpande stated.
So, which stocks should you have on your watch list? We used TipRanks’ Stock Screener tool to dig out 3 stocks analysts think are undervalued right now, and are poised for growth in the months ahead. Let’s take a closer look.
Fortress Transportation (FTAI)
Dealing with all manner of large transportation modes, Fortress Transportation is our first stock up for consideration. Wall Street has been looking at Fortress of late, and investors seem to like what they see. Year-to-date, Fortress stock is up an impressive 35% and remains close to its 52-week high.
Traditionally, the company has used the cash flow generated from its successful aviation leasing business to fund longer-term infrastructure projects, along with paying a substantial dividend to shareholders. The company has done this by looking for assets that are selling well below inherent value.
There’s a lot happening behind the fortress gates, and 2020 looks promising on several fronts; the company is expected to monetize several infrastructure assets over the coming months. Additionally, the company is about to launch its advanced engine repair joint venture, which should cement FTAI’s cost advantage for managing commercial engines. This is a market that’s expected to double over the next 10 years. Furthermore, a potential structural corporate change from a limited partnership to a corporation should open FTAI shares to new investors. This comes alongside an anticipated dividend increase.
B.Riley FBR’s Scott Buck is impressed, noting, “We see multiple opportunities for share appreciation, as we expect the monetization of some infrastructure assets to be used to invest in additional high-return aviation assets and pay down some debt. Furthermore, we believe the potential shift away from the K-1 tax structure will likely increase the number of institutional investors willing to own FTAI shares.”
Buck suggests that if everything goes as planned, FTAI will be a $23 stock in the next 12 months, implying nearly 30% return. (To watch Buck’s track record, click here)
Overall, the FTAI runway is pretty quiet at the moment, with only 3 analysts pitching in over the last 3 months. The 3 Buy ratings, though, amount to a Strong Buy consensus. An average price target of $22.50 puts the upside potential at almost 26%. (See FTAI stock analysis on TipRanks)
Cantel Medical (CMD)
From transport, we move on to the healthcare industry. Cantel Medical is a supplier of infection prevention products and services to the healthcare market, with a focus on endoscopy, water purification and filtration, and healthcare disposables.
The last couple of years have seen Cantel face headwinds from several different directions. Medical water challenges, dental distributor destocking, reinvestments, and a contracting operating margin due to revenue growth slowing down, have all played their part.
In October, though, the medical equipment maker completed the acquisition of Hu-Friedy, a global leading manufacturer of dental instruments, and provider of instrument reprocessing workflow systems.
5-star Needham analyst Michael Matson believes the acquisition “should drive revenue growth and margins higher for the Dental business and CMD overall.”
The 5-star analyst thinks CMD’s medical business is in good shape moving forward, noting, “We believe that CMD’s organic growth and margins have bottomed and should begin to improve in FY21 with continued double-digit Medical growth and improving organic Dental growth. We believe that a divestiture of the medical water business would be a positive catalyst with the benefit to organic growth offsetting the modest EPS dilution. Taking all of this into account, we believe that CMD shares are now undervalued.”
To this end, Matson upgraded his rating on CMD from a Hold to a Buy, along with a price target of $94, which implies 22% upside potential. (To watch Matson’s track record, click here)
Similar to FTAI, the Street is rather quiet on Cantel, with only one other analyst chipping in with a neutral opinion on the medical business provider over the last 3 months. (See CMD’s price targets and analyst ratings on TipRanks)
Commercial Metals Company (CMC)
Our final pick is Commercial Metals Company. Founded over a century ago, this Texas based company manufactures, recycles, and markets steel and metal products. The company owns steel minimills in various U.S. states, as well as in Poland.
CMC has been showing a whole lot of momentum lately. Up over 35% year-to-date, the stock is outperforming the S&P 500 handily. Can the stock keep marching higher in 2020?
Deutsche Bank’s Chris Terry believes CMC is still undervalued. The analyst instigated a “catalyst call” and upgraded the stock from a Hold to a Buy rating, while boosting the price target from $18.5 to $25. (To watch Terry’s track record, click here)
Terry commented, “The company has completed a major acquisition in the past 12 months and is now seeing the benefits for the overall business. CMC is reaching an infection point where mill segment earnings remain strong and in addition fabrication profitability swings from a headwind to a tailwind.”
CMC will report its 1Q20 results on January 6th, and Terry believes consensus EBITDA of $140 million and EPS of $0.52 are too low. The analyst forecasts EBITDA of $164 million, 17% above the consensus and EPS of $0.70, 35% above the consensus.
All in all, the street is fairly positive on this metal player. CMC has a Moderate Buy consensus rating based on 5 “buy” and 3 “hold” ratings, with an average price target of $23.81. This suggests upside potential of nearly 13% from the current share price. (See CMC stock analysis on TipRanks)