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United Parcel Service(UPS - Get Report) is a bit different from the other names that made funds' "buy lists" during the fourth quarter. While the other names we've looked at have been industrial manufacturers, this firm is a service stock.
Still, major industrial exposure means that UPS still tips the scales as one of the biggest industrials funds' bought last quarter. With 5.7 million shares added to institutional portfolios, this firm tips the scales in fifth place. (Buyers included
Mairs & Power, and it's also one of
UPS is the world's largest package delivery company, a distinction that gives this stock a massive economic moat that few rivals can compete with. UPS operates in a duopoly with
FedEx (FDX) domestically, and with just a couple of added names abroad. With 500 planes and more than 100,000 vehicles in its fleet, it's no surprise why the field is so limited -- it takes an absolutely massive capital investment to even attempt the sort of reach that UPS has. And in the package delivery business, reach is everything.
Rising fuel costs are a double edged sword for UPS: While they increase one of the firm's biggest costs, they also help to drive logistics revenues from clients looking for more efficient ways to transport freight. The firm's scale and completely integrated network mean that margins shouldn't suffer too much from oil prices in the near-term.
Meanwhile, the firm's positioning on the front-end of the business cycle means that it will continue to be early to benefit from improvements in the economy this year.
Coattail investors looking for industrial service exposure -- and a 2.91% dividend yield -- should take a look at UPS.
To see these stocks in action, check out the
Funds' Favorite Industrial Buys portfolio on Stockpickr.
-- Written by Jonas Elmerraji in Baltimore.