NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- NewMarket (NEU) - Get Report is one of the few makers of oil additives in America, and competing in an oligopoly certainly helps when it comes to pricing power, said Steve Owen, managing director at Touchstone Investments.
"During the market downturn, a lot of the players consolidated the business, cut costs, and now you have a much more rational pricing environment," Owen said. "They are great capital allocators. They're great with return on capital, buying back shares, and they actually bought back 5% of their shares during one quarter. So, they have a lot of free cash flow right now, increasing the dividend, and the best part about future growth is just demand for fuel."
A lot of the increasing demand for fuel will be coming from Southeast Asia as more individuals trade in their bicycles for cars, according to Owen. Shares of NewMarket are up 12% this year. Owen's Touchstone Large Cap Fund has returned slightly over 1% so far in 2015.
Owen is also bullish on housing staple Lowe's (LOW) - Get Report, which has outperformed rival Home Depot (HD) - Get Report in the past 12 months. Lowe's shares have surged 42% in the past year, compared with a 36% rise in Home Depot's stock.
Owen, however, said his positive view of Lowe's is more about the demand coming from people refurbishing their homes than its competition with Home Depot. He is also a big fan of Lowe's capital allocation and its balance sheet.
"If you look at the balance sheet, they bought back half of their market cap over the past 10 years and are looking to buy back another half of the market cap over the next few years," Owen said. "In fact, they just announced a $20 billion stock-purchase plan which is half of their $40 billion market cap right now."
"They don't have the legacy issues of distribution and warehouse centers. They actually warehouse all the goods within their 1,000 stores when you include buybuyBaby, so it's a different business model. You don't have to worry about distribution costs or anything like that," Owen said, adding that "they've got a great balance sheet that's under-levered."
"Coming out of the market bottom, you've seen a lot of people enhancing infrastructure and needing to work on crop enhancements and things like that, so it's not so much about soybeans versus corn prices," Owen said. "It's just about growing demand for agricultural equipment due to the increased demand for food."