The conventional wisdom on Wall Street at almost every major firm we cover is that interest rates are going higher in 2014. The bond market is a very anticipatory vehicle. From the beginning of the Federal Reserve's quantitative easing tapering all the way to the first increase in the federal funds rate, we should expect to see a gradual increase in rates back to more normal levels.
Ward McCarthy, the chief financial economist at Jefferies, suggested Thursday that the likelihood of a December taper was higher than many expect. The firm got some pushback on that call, with some citing too much budget and political uncertainty. However, the trend in real rates has been higher. Even if we do not get a taper in two weeks, it could come early next year.
Since cyclicals tend to outperform defensive names in a rising rate environment, Jefferies analysts screened for stocks that should outperform under that scenario. They have a list of non-commodity cyclicals to buy that should work well for investors as rates move up.
Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) had a blazing cyber Monday and is expected to have a record-setting holiday season. CEO Jeff Bezos has kept the stock in the news, suggesting the company may even deliver packages via drones. The Thomson/First Call price target for the Internet retail giant is $404.50. Amazon closed Thursday at $384.49.
Best Buy Co. Inc. (BBY) is another top consumer discretionary stock to buy. The electronic retailer has been on fire this year and may be poised to have one of its best holiday sales seasons ever. Investors are paid a 1.7% dividend. The consensus estimate for the stock is $48.50. Best Buy closed Thursday at $41.60.
Deckers Outdoor Corp. (DECK) is another stock to buy that screens well at Jefferies. The company was very positive on reorders for the popular Ugg line of boots, and several firms on Wall Street upped their price targets this week. Deckers indicated that wholesale and retail comparison numbers could grow for 5% to 7%. The consensus price target for this short sellers' nightmare is only $76, but Deckers closed Thursday at $85.60.
Intel Corp. (INTC) hits the Jefferies screens, and the chip giant may be due for an up year. Commercial PC purchases have picked up, and the company is working on boosting the ability of its general-purpose processors to move high volumes of data. Shareholders are paid a very nice 3.8% dividend. The consensus price target for the stock is $24. Intel closed Thursday at $24.26.
Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) is another mega-cap tech company to make the Jefferies list. The Xbox One had a smashing late November debut, selling well over a million units. The company will also get a new CEO in 2014, as longtime Microsoft veteran Steve Ballmer steps down. Investors receive a solid 3% dividend from the software giant. The consensus price target is $36, but Microsoft closed Thursday at $38.
Capital One Financial Corp. (COF) is a top name to buy for rising interest rates in the financial sector. With loan growth improving and its credit card business expected to resume growth next year, earnings could grow nicely. Shareholders are paid a 1.7% dividend. Capital One closed Thursday at $71.94.
Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB) is a top regional banking name that makes the grade at Jefferies. The company recently cleaned up some headline risk when it settled an SEC accounting charge issue. Investors receive a 2.3% dividend from this leading Midwest bank. The consensus price target is $21. Fifth Third closed Thursday at $19.82.
Ingersoll-Rand PLC (IR) is a top industrial name that is showing up on the stocks to buy lists at many of the major Wall Street firms we cover. With the housing market continuing to grow next year, the company's wide range of portfolio products should continue to sell well. Investors are paid a 1.2% dividend. The consensus price objective for the stock is posted at $67. Ingersoll-Rand closed Thursday at $55.76.
PACCAR Inc. (PCAR) is another top industrial name that should fare well in 2014 as rates rise. The company beat earnings and revenue expectations when it reported third-quarter results in late October. The company also issued very positive guidance for the fourth quarter and next year. Investors are paid a 1.4% dividend. The consensus price target for the stock is $58.50. PACCAR closed Thursday at $55.60.
24/7 readers know that we have stressed for more than a year now that interest rates would rise. The bond market was jolted last May when the mere mention of tapering came up. The Jefferies stocks are a nice combination of growth and income that should fare well as the inevitable Fed tapering begins and interest rates continue their move higher.