Tags: Defense | utility | GDP | growth

CNBC: Consider Defense, Utility Shares if GDP Growth Slows

By    |   Tuesday, 25 November 2014 07:20 PM

The economy expanded at an impressive 3.9 percent annualized rate in the third quarter, but many analysts expect a slowdown to about 3 percent from now through 2015. 

So how should a stock-market investor play decelerating economic growth? CNBC suggests taking a look at defensive sectors, such as defense contractors and utilities.

Major defense stocks scored positive returns in two-thirds of the 30 quarters since 1980 when GDP growth totaled 2.5 to 3.5 percent, according to Kensho, a financial analytics firm.

Defense spending soared 16 percent in the third quarter, the highest rate since the second quarter of 2009. "This is the first quarter we've seen some expansion in the military," Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank, told CNBC. "I think that's going to continue."

The news service cited Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Boeing and General Dynamics as stocks that have performed well in times of moderate economic growth.

On the utility front, CNBC mentioned Centerpoint Energy and CMS Energy.

Morningstar analyst Neal Dihora has good things to say about Raytheon. "It offers technologically driven products that meet the needs of a changing marketplace," he writes on Morningstar.com.

But Dihora puts the stock's fair value at $97, well below its level of $106.92 late Tuesday.

His colleague Charles Fishman likes Centerpoint. "We think it can achieve over 5 percent annual EPS [earnings per share] growth from 2014 to 2018," Fishman writes on Morningstar.com.

He sees the stock's fair value at $25, not far from Tuesday's closing price of $24.31.

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If economic growth slows, as some analysts expect, CNBC suggests investors should take a look at defensive sectors, such as defense contractors and utilities.
Defense, utility, GDP, growth
Tuesday, 25 November 2014 07:20 PM
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