While the Democrats and Republicans squabble over President Trump's Russian connections and his staff comes under fire, the Pentagon remains securely ensconced.
If history teaches us anything, it's that the military brass almost always gets their way, regardless of the political party in power. And right now, America's military leaders love drones.
So inside Washington's cacophonous circus tent, there's one trend that you can count on: a massive boost in U.S. defense spending. Below, we examine drone maker AeroVironment AVAV, one of the most promising growth opportunities available in today's volatile stock market.
The U.S. military's fiscal year 2016 budget reached $534.3 billion, an increase of $38.2 billion over the FY 2015 enacted budget of $496.1 billion. The White House in late February announced that President Trump's future budget would propose a whopping $54 billion increase in defense spending next fiscal year, representing a hike of about 10% over already sky-high levels.
The U.S. Department of Defense has allocated approximately $4.457 billion for drones in the proposed fiscal year 2017 budget. That's a yuuuge tailwind for the drone industry.
One of the smartest investing tactics iIn this overbought market is to pinpoint inexorable trends that will play out for years to come. One such trend is the military's increasing reliance on drones. But it's not just warfighters; drones also pervade the commercial sector, as reflected by Amazon's (AMZN) - Get Report significant investment in drone delivery.
That's why you should consider AeroVironment, the world's leading military and business drones maker, that is scheduled to report financial results on Tuesday, March 7. Now's the time to scoop up shares, ahead of the company's earnings release.
Analysts on average expect the company to report a 34 cents a share loss versus 27 profit per share a year ago. But don't let that spook you; the dip is primarily due to the vagaries of the Pentagon's fiscal budgeting process, which can lead to temporarily lean periods. The company boasts a hefty backlog of orders that should propel earnings growth in the future.
Analysts expect next quarter's EPS to hit $1.22, versus a mere 23 cents in the same year-ago quarter. Next year's EPS is pegged at 49 cents, compared to a projection of 20 cents for this year. On a year-over-year basis, earnings growth is expected to come in at 430.4% in the next quarter and 145% for fiscal 2017.
AVAV makes reconnaissance drones for several military services; it also provides drones for civilian sectors such as energy, agriculture, and transportation. This spring, the company plans to bring to market a new drone called Quantix for a variety of commercial applications, especially for farming businesses that need to monitor crops.
With a market cap of $618.4 million, AeroVironment boasts greater room for capital appreciation than mega-cap military sector rivals such as Raytheon RTN. What's more, small caps are expected to outperform this year.
Bewildered by political tumult these days? To profit from an assured trend, consider AVAV. The stock is a "trifecta" investment: a small cap, a growth tech stock, and a defense play.
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John Persinos is an investment analyst with Investing Daily. At the time of publication, he owned stock in Raytheon.