Ride the Trump Trade with Caterpillar

02/08/2017 10:00 am EST

Focus: STOCKS

Chloe Jensen

Chief Analyst, Cabot Dividend Investor

Industrial stocks, materials stocks and stocks of companies that work on major infrastructure projects have also been on a tear since the U.S. election, observes Chloe Lutts Jensen, editor of Cabot Dividend Investor.

Donald Trump has cleared the way for two major oil pipelines, promised to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and reiterated his pledge to reduce environmental regulation on U.S. industry.

Investors interested in benefiting from these moves have plenty of options. The Basic Materials SPDR (XLB) yields 2.4%, while the Industrials SPDR (XLI) yields 2.5%. Both have rallied strongly since the election.

For discerning investors, Caterpillar (CAT) is a great way to play the rebound in multiple heavy industries in a single stock.

Caterpillar makes heavy machinery and vehicles used in the construction, mining, energy and transportation industries. It will benefit from investments in American roads to South American mines to stronger demand for energy in China.

The company’s equipment is so ubiquitous that it’s hard to imagine an area of an industrial, commodity or infrastructure boom where it wouldn’t benefit.

Higher commodity and energy prices are also a tailwind, since they mean many of Caterpillar’s customers have more cash to invest.

Of course, the inverse is true as well: when commodity prices, industrial production and infrastructure investment fall, so do CAT’s fortunes. And that’s exactly what happened in 2014 and 2015, when CAT stock fell 45% from peak to trough.

But 2016 saw the beginning of a solid recovery, and the company has beat earnings estimates in each of the last three quarters. Analysts have started to increase their estimates, with the current year EPS estimate receiving six upward revisions in the last 30 days.

 Earnings are still expected to be slightly lower this year than in 2016, but are expected to grow by double-digits next year.

And then of course there’s the yield: Caterpillar has paid dividends since 1925, and has increased the dividend annually for seven years running. At the current price, the dividend yields a solid 3.1%.

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