By John Licata of Blue Phoenix
NEW YORK (
) -- While over for now, the impact of the government shutdown can't be overlooked. In the aftermath, some areas I'm already looking at to outperform the overall stock market in the coming year include cybersecurity and utilities. Names such as
(LMT - Get Report)
American Electric Power
(AEP - Get Report)
should be on your radar.
Many analysts have their own thoughts on the recent government shutdown and the ramifications on decision-making, permitting and mortgage approvals. To me, the recent "political plague" that lasted 16 days was a unique Category 5 hurricane (like Andrew in 1992) that shocked our economic system at its very core. More on that later.
The real damage from this shutdown has yet to be calculated and that could make trying to gauge the domestic employment picture as difficult as walking in the forest at night with a broken compass. This means the government stimulus is not ending anytime soon. But
my friends. It's my belief that the
staying the course on monthly bond purchases may already be reflected in the stock market, suggesting 2014 will be a true stock pickers' market.
In the cybersecurity sector, I'm high on Lockheed Martin, which gets roughly 20% of total sales from cyber-related activities. Infrastructure resiliency is going to be a big theme in 2014 for energy companies in my view so Lockheed should be poised for further growth in the cybersecurity space.
Lockheed, a company that does often look to the private sector for partnerships may also benefit from some timely acquisitions if smaller players stumble thanks to new higher borrowing requirements from banks expected next year.
As for utilities, I'm also expecting the sector to gain investor focus from those seeking higher, more stable dividends, especially if the timing of the Fed tapering bond buying becomes less apparent thanks to the repercussions from the government shutdown. Also, I believe utilities are locked and loaded at looking to boost energy efficiency and focus more on the customer experience post Sandy.
Specific names I believe are making strong efforts to embrace modern technologies and become the new standards for utility progress include American Electric Power, a utility led by Nick Akins, a CEO who is adamant about fighting energy cyberterrorism and creating a modern infrastructure system.