Editors' pick: Originally published March 15.
Crude oil has shown some remarkable signs of life of late after an extended period of weakness took prices to multi-year lows. Prices have jumped about 30% from a low hit earlier this year, leading many investors to believe that a bottom has finally been established. That's good news for the market, and good news for energy-related shares.
However, while the industry has broadly rallied since the low, investors should pause before they jump into the energy sector. Further volatility should be expected in the space, and the impact of the price collapse will likely be felt for a long time. Instead, market participants would be wise to look at the industrial sector, which is tied to many of the macroeconomic trends benefitting energy but doesn't carry the same risks.
It's understandable if investors remain concerned by industrial or energy-related stocks. Both groups continue to see big swings, and that's always unsettling, even if the move is to the upside. The important lesson for investors to learn is to remove emotion from the equation as much as possible. Don't focus on day-to-day noise or rumors or speculation. Instead, focus on the fundamentals of the companies, and built your portfolio on facts and hard data. That is a strategy that will work for you in any environment.
Here are five industrial stocks with strong fundamentals that appear poised to rally in the current environment
General Electric (GE)
One of the quintessential world companies, GE is a dominant force in nearly any industrial segment you can name. While its international reach makes it somewhat vulnerable to overseas weakness, it is so stable and well-managed that investing here is almost as safe as putting your money in a bank. Also, it boasts a dividend yield of 3.05%, above the 2.62% average of its peers.
The heavy machinery maker has been under pressure of late, hit hard by its heavy revenue exposure to China. However, that decline has merely created an attractive bargain in the shares, especially for long-term investors. The decline has also created a strong yield story; currently, Caterpillar boasts a dividend of 4.25%, more than double that of its peers.
Union Pacific (UNP)
Over the past five years, this railroad operator has grown its dividend by more than 25%, making it one of the great unsung yield stories in the market. To compare, that growth is more than three times the rate of its peers. Union should also benefit from continued strength in the consumer market. The more people buy -- and markets like the auto industry had a record sales year in 2015 -- the more Union will be shuttling across the country.
The aerospace company grew revenue by 5.9% in 2015, a far stronger rate than the overall market, as well as that of its peers, where average revenue growth was under 5%. Boeing also boasts a dividend yield of 3.6%, which provides a strong buffer against any market decline.
Alaska Air Group (ALK)
Airlines have a pronounced inverse correlation with crude oil prices, owing to the centrality of fuel costs to their businesses. The collapse in oil has been a particular boon for Alaska Air, where profits have grown by an average of 41.4% over the past three years. While the space has benefitted overall, Alaska's profit growth has more than doubled the rate of its peers.