10 Stocks to Buy If the U.S. Dollar Goes Higher

If the U.S. dollar goes higher, one Jefferies analyst has made the case for investing in small- and mid-cap stocks -- particularly ones that have little overseas sales exposure.

Jefferies equity strategist Steven DeSanctis said in a note on Monday that the U.S. dollar peaked on Jan. 20 and has fallen around 8% since, during which time stocks and sectors with high foreign sales have been outperforming. A change could be afoot, though; the U.S. dollar has risen 2% in May, DeSanctis wrote.

"Since the dollar peaked back on January 20, we have seen those sectors with significant overseas exposure outperform until recently. We think we are starting to see another change in performance and with that, we think small-cap investors should tack along with the market to give themselves a better chance of outperforming," he wrote in a May 23 note to clients.

DeSanctis says small- and mid-cap domestically oriented stocks will outperform. That theory is based on several assumptions:

  • If interest rates rise, the dollar will "stabilize and may in fact regain its momentum and start to appreciate," leading domestic names to outperform.
  • A stronger U.S. economy will also boost those stocks with strong domestic exposure.
  • Volatility is rising, and domestic stocks tend to hold up better under that scenario.
  • An improving economy paves the way for marginally higher interest rates, which also favors domestic stocks over names with higher overseas exposure.
  • Domestic stocks also offer better earnings growth -- providing "better sales and earnings growth in the second quarter and this should continue for all of 2016."

DeSanctis wrote that while valuations are mixed for domestic stocks, "we think valuations matter less as volatility ramps up."

Using a screen against the Russell 2500, DeSanctis found 27 stocks that were above $2 billion in market cap; were buy-rated by Jefferies equity analysts; sat in the highest "two quintiles" of return on equity; and, finally, derive less than 20% of sales from foreign sales. Here are the 10 stocks with market caps above $5 billion on his list.

WhiteWave Foods
WhiteWave Foods

Market Cap: $7.9 billion

Foreign sales totaled 13.8% of WhiteWave Foods (WWAV) sales, according to Jefferies report.

Jefferies analyst Akshay Jagdale has a $52 price target on the natural and organic packaged food and beverage company.

TheStreet's Jim Cramer holds shares of WhiteWave Foods in his Action Alerts PLUS charitable trust. Cramer and Research Director Jack Mohr wrote in a recent weekly roundup:

The company's earnings report was a convincing top- and bottom-line beat and came along with a raised 2016 outlook. Impressive sales growth and margin expansion demonstrated the resilience of WhiteWave's brand amidst a highly competitive environment. That being said, while we are excited about the performance to kick off the year, and intrigued by the guidance increased, we also remain aware of the volatility that can hit a growth name, such as WWAV, when any negative data point is released (e.g., four-week scanner data). 

Huntington Bancshares
Huntington Bancshares

Market Cap: $8.26 billion

Mid-west regional bank Huntington Bancshares (HBAN - Get Report) has no foreign sales, according to Jefferies report.

Jefferies analyst Kenneth Usdin has an $11 price target on Huntington Bancshares.

Signature Bank
Signature Bank

Market Cap: $6.95 billion

Private client bank Signature Bank (SBNY - Get Report) has no foreign sales, according to Jefferies report.

Jefferies analyst Casey Haire has a $162 price target on Signature Bank.

SVB Financial
SVB Financial

Market Cap: $5.42 billion

SVB Financial (SIVB - Get Report) has no foreign sales, according to Jefferies report.

Jefferies analyst Casey Haire has a $130 price target on SVB Financial.

Centene
Centene

Market Cap: $9.95 billion

Centene (CNC - Get Report) has no foreign sales, according to Jefferies report.

Jefferies analyst David Windley has an $80 price target on the health care company.

Mednax
Mednax

Market Cap: $6.24 billion

Mednax  (MD - Get Report) has no foreign sales, according to Jefferies report.

Jefferies analyst Brian Tanquilut has an $85 price target on the neonatal and pediatric specialty health care service company.

KAR Auction Services
KAR Auction Services

Market Cap: $5.58 billion

KAR Auction Services (KAR - Get Report) has foreign sales of 13.2% total sales, according to Jefferies report.

Jefferies analyst Bret Jordan has a $47 price target on the vehicle auction company.

Spirit AeroSystems
Spirit AeroSystems

Market Cap: $5.49 billion

Spirit AeroSystems' (SPR - Get Report) foreign sales totaled 14.1% of total sales, according to Jefferies report.

Jefferies analyst Howard Rubel has a $66 price target on the commercial aero structures manufacturer.

Vantiv
Vantiv

Market Cap: $8.51 billion

Vantiv (VNTV) has no foreign sales, according to Jefferies report.

Jefferies analyst Jason Kupferberg has a $58 price target on the electronic payment processing firm.

Packaging Corp.
Packaging Corp.

Market Cap: $6.13 billion

Packaging Corp.'s (PKG - Get Report) foreign sales totaled 3.1% of total sales, according to Jefferies report.

Jefferies analyst Philip Ng has a $75 price target on the containerboard and packaging products company.

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