Top Picks 2017: Lear

01/26/2017 6:00 am EST

Focus: STOCKS

Richard Moroney

Editor, Dow Theory Forecasts

This Top Pick — an auto parts firm involved in seating and electrical systems — scores better than about 99% of the nearly 5,000 companies in our proprietary Quadrix ranking system, explains Richard Moroney, editor of Dow Theory Forecasts.

At nine times trailing earnings, Lear (LEA) has a P/E ratio that is by far the lowest on our Focus List, among the lowest 9% in our universe, and 33% below the average for auto-parts makers in the S&P 1500 Index.

Lear ranks among the cheapest 20% in more than half of the metrics we used to calculate its Value score — no surprise the company earns a 97 in Value.

Lear’s Overall score of 99 is tops on the Focus List, and tied for highest in an industry averaging Overall scores of 75, among the strongest in our research universe.

While the 2017 consensus estimate has risen 4% over the last 90 days, the target still projects per-share-profit growth of just 7%.

Lear has topped the consensus profit target by at least 10% in each of the last three quarters, and we see plenty of room for upside versus expectations.

Operating profit margins have trended higher over the last three years, and continued efficiency improvements should keep profitability rising.

By nearly any measure, U.S. stocks are richly valued. But, relative to historical norms, they remain attractively valued compared to bond yields.

Also, we still see some decent values, especially among somewhat volatile shares of cyclical growers like Lear.

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