“We are right smack at the beginning of a brand-new aerospace cycle,” Cramer said Wednesday, “one that could last for as long as seven years.”
How does he know? Well, first there was Alcoa this week telling us that it sees the airlines turning a corner, with aerospace demand stronger than expected and airplane orders up big. Then AAR, a leading supplier of parts and services to the aerospace business, yesterday reported a slight earnings miss but without any negative incremental news for the quarter. In other words, Cramer said, the aerospace industry has stopped its downward trajectory, which is a big change from not that long ago.
Also, the Journal today reported that FedEx plans to grow its fleet of long-range Boeing 777s by six over the next 12 months as a result of increased shipping demand overseas.
“We’re now in a world where air traffic is recovering, airplane orders are coming in better than expected, cancellation rates have declines, and production is on the rise,” Cramer said, “something which, incidentally, should create a lot of new jobs.”
And the up-cycle he’s predicting could be even stronger than normal because the recession/depression halted the buying of new planes, meaning that most fleets are much older than their historical average age. So some much-needed upgrades, and the spending they entail, should be on the way.
If you’re going to play it, keep it simple, Cramer said, and start with Boeing . It has lean cost structure, it’s taking share, and two new products – the 787 Dreamliner and 747-8 – could lead to double-digit sales growth over the next few years. The stock’s down 15% from its high, trading at 13.4 times earnings. But compare that to the last time this sector ramped: BA earned a multiple as high as the mid-20s back then, and that was when the company was expected to earn $9 a share. For 2011, analysts predicting only $4.84 of EPS in 2011, leaving Cramer thinking that number is way too conservative.
“I think the estimates will have to be raised,” he said, “which should take this $64 and change stock much higher.”
There are other aerospace stocks worth consideration, too. Goodrich , maker of landing gear, wheels and brakes; Rockwell Collins , the electronics supplier; Precision Castparts , for its fasterners and engine components; air-frame component maker Spirit Aerosystems ; and Hexcel , which sells lightweight composite materials. All of these are plays on Boeing’s success as well, because they manufacture the 787’s essential parts.
Cramer also likes Honeywell International for its aerospace exposures. And he said that investors who want a buy on corporate jets should look at Textron TXT, which owns Cessna and Bell Helicopter.
There’s no rush on these stocks, though. This is a multiyear bull marker, Cramer said. So be patient and buy these names on weakness.
When this story published, Cramer’s charitable trust owned Boeing and Honeywell.
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