×

Ford’s F-150 truck franchise alone is worth more than the whole company: Morgan Stanley

  • Morgan Stanley raises its rating to overweight from underweight for Ford shares, saying it will thrive from rising construction and infrastructure spending.
  • "Ford has some attributes that make it arguably a cheap machinery stock with leverage to any infrastructure spending," the firm says.
Ford's 2015 F-150
Getty Images
Ford's 2015 F-150

Ford Motor will thrive from rising construction and infrastructure spending, according to Morgan Stanley.

The firm raised its rating for the automaker's shares two notches to overweight from underweight, a rare "double upgrade."

"Ford's out-of-favor status has brought valuation to where the F-150 [truck franchise] may be worth >150% of its EV [enterprise value]," analyst Adam Jonas wrote in a note to clients Wednesday. The company is "highly levered to US pickup trucks. [It] can see material upside from economic stimulus/US infrastructure spending."

Jonas raised his price target to $15 from $10 for the company, representing 39 percent upside to Tuesday's $10.78 close. He estimates Ford's F-series truck business is worth about $16 per share alone, showing how undervalued the company is overall, according to his estimates.

The analyst said approximately 30 percent of demand for the Ford F-150 truck is from nonresidential construction. He said every 5 percentage-point increase in the company's U.S. truck unit sales drives Ford's profits higher by an incremental 10 percentage points.

"A recovery of the price of oil also boosts pickup truck demand more than investors may realize (Texas is the world's largest pickup truck market)," he wrote. "We also believe there is potential for any US infrastructure spending to be an incremental positive for Ford. … Ford has some attributes that make it arguably a cheap machinery stock with leverage to any infrastructure spending."

Ford shares have underperformed the market this year. Its shares declined 14 percent year to date compared with the S&P 500's 3 percent return through Tuesday.

The company's stock was up 3 percent Wednesday.

— CNBC's Michael Bloom contributed to this story.