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Cramer: This Stock Offers ‘Plenty of Upside’

It might be time for the infrastructure stocks to make a comeback, Cramer said during Tuesday’s Mad Money.

US stimulus money is working its way into the system, the global economy is rebounding, and, despite today, oil prices have clawed their way back from earlier in the year. It’s this latter point specifically that Cramer wanted to play. As oil and gas companies expand, the infrastructure companies that win these project contracts should see a spike in revenues.

Both Fluor and Jacobs Engineering are high-quality infra firms, Cramer said. But in the interest of diversification, investors should own only one. The charts, it seems, lean toward the former. One of Cramer’s favorite technical analysts said that Fluor’s decline is ending and looks ready to break out. So, as far as the analyst is concerned, the stock’s a buy at this level or lower.

Jacobs Engineering, however, looks less promising. The stock has broken its long-term upwards trend line and is now sinking to its July lows on high volume. Chartists view high volume as an indicator that a move is legitimate, so that’s a bad sign for JEC. The previously mentioned technical analysts said that Jacobs could drop to as low as $30 from its present level of $36 if the current prices don’t hold.

What about the fundamentals? They side with Fluor as well. The company has a bigger international footprint, which translates into increased dollar-denominated profits come earnings season, and it has more exposure to China. Just last week, Fluor signed a deal with a subsidiary of China National Offshore Oil Corp., giving it what Cramer called “a meaningful presence in the People’s Republic.”

Also important right now is the company’s business model. Fluor is hired to build new projects, Jacobs Engineering to maintain them. So in this environment of expansion and growth for oil and gas, it is Fluor’s services that are in demand. That’s why Jacobs has been talking about margin pressure in 2010, while the highlight of Fluor’s most recent quarter was the margin strength across its oil and gas, industrial and power segments.

The downside for these stocks is priced in, Cramer said, because both companies missed their quarterly estimates. But Fluor missed by less and maintained its guidance, something Jacobs did not do. They trade at 12 and 13 times 2011 earnings, respectively, with Jacobs having a higher growth rate, but Fluor is “better positioned for the moment,” Cramer said. And Fluor historically maintains a P/E of 18, so “the stock has plenty of upside.”

Cramer’s bottom line?

Fluor is the best way to play the global energy and infrastructure build-out.

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