NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Union Pacific (UNP), Smart & Final Stores (SFS) and Party City (PRTY) are three stocks investors should consider right now, said Marshall Kaplan, managing director at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management.
Kaplan said Union Pacific shares, now near $102, have retreated because investors are focusing on short-term issues with the rail company, such as declines in demand and earnings. However, "as you get into easier comps, which you will see in the fourth quarter, you'll start to see momentum, operating efficiencies and probably investor sentiment improve," he said.
Kaplan pointed out the stock currently trades at about an 8% discount to the market, so "this is a wonderful time to accumulate positions because management is strong and earnings will ramp over time."
Smart & Final, now at $18.40, has had lethargic unit growth over the past several years, but that is about to change, Kaplan said. He noted the company has raised some funds with a recent initial public offering ans so he expects 10% unit growth over the next few years, along with 4% same-store sales growth.
Smart & Final is a warehouse club chain, but the stores are smaller than other warehouse companies. "One thing that attracts us is, demographically speaking, you have about 15% of the population living around the poverty line. About 45% literally live paycheck to paycheck. Smart & Final charges no membership fees," said Kaplan, who added that the company is beginning to offer food at its warehouse stores, which will drive traffic.
Kaplan also is a fan of Party City, trading close to $21, and said that party supplies are a $15 billion market. He expects mid to high single-digit revenue growth over time, and looks for 30% store growth over the next couple of years. Additionally, Kaplan sees international expansion opportunities in Mexico and Europe.
"You've got a growth story, also, similar to Smart & Final, you have a situation where you could see lots of private label brand expansion and your margins are meaningfully higher there," he added.