By Steve Reitmeister
This is my latest article in a series sharing my best stock ideas for the year ahead. Last week I highlighted my favorite growth & income stocks. You may also want to check out other recent articles on small caps, tech stocks, large caps and value picks.
Few indicators are more powerful than insider transactions. Especially when insiders reach into their own pocket to add more shares, when they already have ample shares in their portfolio. It is well understood that there is only 1 logical reason for these insiders to buy additional shares. That being a great deal of confidence that the share price will be higher in the future, most likely because of their intimate knowledge about the company’s future prospects. Thus, it is wise for investors to follow this breadcrumb trail to find stocks likely to outperform. Each of the 3 stocks below were selected using the exclusive insider data provided on TipRanks.com.
Air Lease (AL)
I created a screen looking for stocks that enjoy positive readings for Insiders, Bloggers, Hedge Funds and had a price target 20%+ above current levels. That is because I wanted to stack the odds in our favor. From that list the most attractive to me was Air Lease who does pretty much what the name says…provides financing for large commercial aircraft.
Airlines is another economically sensitive group. The healthier the economy the more that consumers and businesses will spend on air travel. Thus, the getting is good for the airlines right now pushing them to expand their fleets. On top of that you have a very large number of old planes that are likely to be replaced over the next 5-10 years. This creates a strong pipeline of business for Air Lease.
Like I said up top, the prime TipRanks indicators of Insiders, Bloggers and Hedge Funds are all pointing positive. And the value investor in me got a surge of adrenaline when I saw that the average target price stands at $48.50 which is 28% above Tuesday’s close.
The most recent earnings report was a reminder to investors that they continue to deliver on growth expectations. The more that message spreads, the greater the odds of enjoying outperformance as these shares move towards these fair value targets.
BrightView Holdings (BV)
BrightView is a professional landscaping firm. The interesting part of that story is that traditionally landscaping is a highly fragmented business with many small regional operators. However, if you are a larger company you might be interested in contracting with one firm who can handle your needs across the country. Few landscapers can offer that reach and flexibility like BrightView.
On top of that they are very active on the M&A front constantly adding other landscaping firms to the BV family. This type of rollup strategy is successful as long as management has a track record of operational efficiency to squeeze out redundancy. That is another check in the plus column for BrightView.
Analysts continue to be favorable on the stock seeing ample upside potential. The average target price is $18. However, the top rated analyst covering the firm, Dan Dolev at Nomura, sees $22 as a more likely destination for shares. That represents 67% upside from Tuesday’s closing price.
The most intriguing part of this story for me is the 2 recent Insider buys including from the CEO, Andrew Masterson. No doubt Masterson already has a large percentage of his net worth tied up with BV shares. There is only one logical reason for him to reach into his pocket to put another $221,000 on the line. And that is his supreme confidence that the company will outperform expectations in the coming year. That tone was on display in the most recent earnings report when the confirmed guidance above street estimates for the year ahead. Perhaps we should join his lead by raking some BV shares into our portfolio.
Jacobs Engineering (JEC)
One of the most important themes coming out of the President’s recent State of the Union address is the need to improve the nation’s infrastructure. This is an area of spending with bi-partisan support given clear signs of need for investment in better roads, bridges, airports, energy grid, telecom and more. Jacobs Engineering would be a clear beneficiary of any increase in this infrastructure spending.
JEC had a strong earnings report earlier this month showing that the trends for the group are already quite favorable. Not only did they beat estimates, but they also raised guidance for the future. The reason that was possible was a 8% increase in their already impressive backlog of projects. In the construction industry this backlog of business is the key for understanding future growth given that many of these contracts are multi-year projects. The healthier that backlog looks…the more likely they are to produce attractive profits going forward.
There are a number of positive TipRanks indicators for JEC starting with Bloggers at 100% bullish. News Sentiment also skews Positive. So too does the action of the Best Individual Investors we measure.
The most intriguing indicator though is that both Insiders and Hedge Funds are moving in their direction. In fact, just a few days ago a Director of the company added more shares. This smart money flow is quite encouraging that ample upside lays ahead for these shares. So it makes sense to construct some of these shares into your portfolio.
(AL, BV and JEC are just 3 of the stocks I have selected for the Smart Investor portfolio. There you will see many others stocks loaded with positive TipRanks indicators that are primed to outperform in the year ahead. Discover the Smart Investor portfolio here).
Disclaimer: In general, I own the stocks that I highlight in commentary. When you think about it…why would you ever take advice from an investment professional who wasn’t willing to put his money where his mouth is?