Since the S&P 500’s all-time high of 2,093.55 on Dec. 29, the index is off 1.5% in just seven trading sessions. And that performance includes the bounce-back rally of Wednesday and Thursday. Based on this shaky start to the year, I want to play it safe by picking stable stocks with solid charts and strong revenue and earnings growth projections.
International aerospace parts designer and manufacturer, HEICO Corporation (NYSE: HEI) is just such a stock.
Its parts are found on everything from commercial and military aircraft to industrial turbines and missiles.
HEICO has two main operating divisions.
Its flight support group creates and distributes FAA-approved airliner parts such as hydraulic brakes and electromechanical engine components.
The company’s electronic technologies segment is a world leader in designing, manufacturing, and selling electrical and electro-optical systems for the aerospace, defense and space industries.
The company reported record sales and profits in fiscal 2014 (ended in October). Revenue increased 12% to $1.1 billion while earnings rose 18% to $1.80 per share.
The company pays a small but increasing dividend. Based on solid and growing cash flow, management recently hiked the bi-annual payout by 17% to $0.07 per share.
HEICO’s fiscal 2015 outlook is encouraging. Management anticipates aftermarket replacement parts, as well as repair and overhaul products, will continue to drive growth, despite a potential dip in demand for specialty products. They forecast net sales and net income will increase approximately 8% to 10%.
According to market researcher TechNavio, the global commercial aircraft aftermarket parts sector is expected to grow at a 4% compound annual growth rate between 2013 and 2018. HEICO’s focus on developing new products and services and further market penetration should position it to take advantage of this growth.
For the company’s upcoming first quarter, analysts anticipate year-over-year revenue growth of 7.6% to $287.2 million. Earnings are estimated to rise 9.8% to $0.45 per share from $0.41 in the same quarter a year ago.
For fiscal 2015, analysts expect sales growth of 9.7% to $1.2 billion and for earnings to jump 10.6% to $1.99 per share.
The chart shows shares have more than doubled since their September 2012 low near $26 and are currently trading near a multi-month peak.
In March, the stock hit an all-time high just above $65. HEI then backed off and formed a multi-month downtrend, retreating to the $46 level in October. In doing so, it broke through support provided by the major uptrend line drawn from the September 2012 bottom.
However, shares quickly recovered from their October low, forming the current uptrend line and bullishly breaking an intermediate downtrend line.
In mid-December, HEI surged more than 10% in one week on higher-than-average trading volume following the company’s upbeat earnings announcement. By the end of the year, the stock hit a recovery high near $63. Shares have since pulled back, presenting a potentially profitable entry point.
If HEI moves back toward overhead resistance at the all-time high near $65, traders stand to make roughly 10% on this stable, defensive play.
Given HEICO’s strong growth outlook, backed by an upbeat technical and fundamental picture, I plan to go long on the aerospace parts manufacturer.
Risks to consider: The adoption of 3D printing technology is both a potential benefit and risk for parts manufacturers like HEICO. On the plus side, 3D printing allows the company to more cheaply and easily design and prototype proprietary parts. However, it could also be used by competitors to create similar low-cost replacement parts. While 3D printing could eventually change the industry, for now, HEICO appears to have a solid foothold in the aerospace parts market.
Recommended Trade Setup:
— Buy HEI at the market price
— Set stop-loss at $53.50
— Set price target at $64.49 for a potential 9% gain by mid-2015
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Source: Profitable Trading