How investors could profit from the space industry

Audrey Tay
Lift off: Space stocks to look out for

Whether it's Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin, Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic, Elon Musk's SpaceX or any of a host of other space tourism ventures, the future will likely hold many extraterrestrial opportunities.

But even for people who would rather keep both feet on the ground, there are still ways to gain from the cutting-edge industry.

Brent Wilsey, president of Wilsey Asset Management, counts himself among those who would prefer to keep their feet on the ground, but he still offered some ways to profit from the space race.

Wilsey, speaking with CNBC's "Capital Connection" on Wednesday (which marked the annual International Day of Human Space Flight), said he feels it is hard to find good value in the space industry, but patient investors could stand to win.

Likely opportunities, he told CNBC, could include these three space stocks: Ducommun, Orbital ATK and United Technologies.

Ducommun, a manufacturing company that supplies space program products and engineering, closed Tuesday at nearly $30. The company has a good balance sheet, Wilsey said, and a debt-to-equity ratio of 79 — compared to the industry at 109.

He estimated December 2018 earnings per share to be $2.00, yielding a target sell price of $33. He told CNBC that investors can "wait for a pullback on this company and get a good deal."

Another pick was Orbital ATK, a rocket developer, in part for its cash flow and balance sheet. The company's stock closed Tuesday at $97.49. Wilsey recommended being patient with buying stocks of the company, but said there will be good growth, estimating December 2018 earnings per share of $6.77, yielding a target sell price of $112.

United Technologies
Brendan McDermid | Reuters

Holding stocks of United Technologies, a company that designs space suits and other space products, would be "a safer play" at this moment, according to Wilsey. Despite the company having a net profit margin of 9.5 percent as compared to the industry average of 7.7 percent, Wilsey said he doesn't see enough growth just yet. He estimated December 2018 earnings per share to be $7 for a target sell price of $115 — barely up from the current price of $113.14.

The annual International Day of Human Space Flight commemorates Yuri Gagarin becoming the first human to travel through outer space when he orbited the Earth in 1961.

DISCLOSURE: Brent Wilsey says he does not have any personal or company holdings in shares of Orbital ATK, United Technologies or Ducommun.