4 Splits and a Play on New Jersey

02/23/2015 7:00 am EST

Focus: STOCKS

Neil Macneale III

Editor, 2 for 1 Stock Split

January got 2015 off to a good start with four split announcements, all worth consideration, explains Neil Macneale, who assesses each month's split announcements in order to select one stock to add to the portfolio at his 2-for-1 Stock Split Newsletter.

New Jersey Resources (NJR) offers regulated and unregulated energy services to customers from the Gulf Coast to Canada but is primarily a provider of natural gas to customers across northern and central New Jersey.

NJR is a fairly small ($2.8B market cap) under-the-radar company with a good record of steady growth and profitability. Its low volatility, PE ratio, and price to book ratio are especially attractive.

Based on its revenue per employee and its relatively low debt to equity ratio, compared to other gas utilities, NJR appears to run a very efficient operation.

Visa Inc. (V) created quite a buzz with its 4-for-1 split announcement. Visa's score was significantly lower than that of New Jersey Resources. Its high valuation numbers and slowing growth rates are particularly notable.

HanesBrands (HBI), an apparel manufacturer, scored just behind Visa and was hurt primarily by its very high debt-to-equity ratio.

Southern Missouri Bank (SMBC) reminds me of many of the small banks that have been very important to the 2-for-1 portfolio over the years. This time it's a case of just being too small. Otherwise, the available numbers look terrific.

Based on our overall assessment of all four stocks that have announced splits, New Jersey Resources wound up on top of the list and will be added to the model portfolio.

Considering the current volatility of the market, NJR should bring a measure of stability to the portfolio. NJR provides both.

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