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Buy FedEx and UPS on global trade upside, overblown Amazon fears: Goldman Sachs

  • Shipping companies United Parcel Services and FedEx could see as much as 50 percent earnings upside thanks to accelerating global trade, according to Goldman Sachs.
  • Shares tumbled last month after reports that Amazon is experimenting with a new delivery service hit the Street.
  • Goldman sees significant upside for FedEx over the next 12 months as the company recovers from a major cyberattack on its new European subsidiary TNT Express.
Cargo aircrafts from UPS, FedEx and West Air Europe are parked at Cargo City at Arlanda airport in Stockholm.
Johan Nilsson | AFP | Getty Images
Cargo aircrafts from UPS, FedEx and West Air Europe are parked at Cargo City at Arlanda airport in Stockholm.

United Parcel Services and FedEx could see as much as 50 percent earnings upside thanks to accelerating global trade, according to Goldman Sachs.

Analysts at Goldman initiated coverage on UPS and FedEx with buy ratings, citing a strong international outlook and overblown worries about Amazon's foray into airfreight and logistics.

"We think the market is overlooking acceleration in global trade," analyst Matt Reustle wrote in Monday's note to clients. "Concerns about margins and what impact Amazon may have on the airfreight and logistics industries are overstated and point to dependency on the US Postal Service and the $125 billion capex hurdle we think it would cost to compete in airfreight and logistics on a global scale."

"Lost in the shuffle of 'e-commerce'" has been growth in UPS' export business and strength in FedEx's international business, according to Reustle. He said that although more than 95 percent of residential deliveries in the U.S. are made by the Postal Service, UPS and FedEx, the companies should benefit from growth abroad.

The Goldman analyst cites UPS' $2 billion investment in its international network as evidence for its buy rating and optimism abroad.

But while UPS may see upside abroad, shares tumbled last month after reports that Amazon is experimenting with a new delivery service hit the Street.

Bloomberg reported that Amazon's new service would be aimed at making more items available for free two-day shipping. It would also relieve overcrowding in the company's warehouses.

Shares of UPS and FedEx fell after the news in October.

UPS also made headlines in domestic markets after making an unprecedented move for the holidays, announcing it will charge extra during peak shipping weeks in November and December. Citi Research said the move suggests UPS "is in the process of accelerating" its business, and raised its forecast for the company's stock in August.

Reustle established a $148 price target on UPS, representing 31 percent upside from Friday's close. Shares closed up 1.4 percent on Monday.

As for FedEx, the analyst also sees significant upside over the next 12 months as the company recovers from a major cyberattack on its new European subsidiary TNT Express.

FedEx announced in June that TNT was attacked, disrupting operations and communications. While the company said that no data had been breached, some Wall Street firms grew skeptical that the hack would leave FexEx strapped for volume. But with the holiday season fast approaching, those concerns may take a backseat to speedy deliveries.

"We believe that the upcoming peak season and ongoing restoration of the TNT systems are catalysts for FDX shares," wrote the analyst. "While fiscal year 2018 likely carries noise from TNT integration, we estimate FedEx will meet its more than 10 percent earnings per share growth and 10 percent or more operating margins in fiscal year 2019.

The analyst's $270 price target on FedEx represents 24 percent upside from Friday's close. Shares closed up 1.5 percent on Monday.