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UBS New Equity Focus List Features Stocks Designed to Outperform the Market

Lee Jackson

With the equity markets seemingly hitting new all-time highs every day, we were intrigued by the makeup of the new UBS A.G. (UBS) Equity Focus List. The analysts incorporate all of the aspects of research from fundamental to technical to quantitative to come up with their stocks to buy. Most often at a Wall Street firm, the individual stock analyst that covers a company is focused almost solely on the business fundamentals and the balance sheet. Rarely do technicals or secular themes play in to the overall mix.

We screened the Equity Focus list by sector for the top stocks to buy that had gone up the least in the most recent leg up in the rally.

Starwood Hotel and Resorts Worldwide Inc. (HOT) checks in as the consumer discretionary stock to buy. Starwood is a global lodging company that is well positioned within the lodging industry, given its focus on high-end consumers and business travelers. Recently, management raised the low end of its RevPAR guidance (revenue per available room, a proxy for pricing) by 100 basis points, or one percentage point, and guided 2013 earnings slightly above consensus. The UBS price target is $71. The Thomson/First Call estimate is at $71.50. Investors are paid a 1.9% dividend.

Colgate-Palmolive Co. (CL) is the stock to buy in consumer staples. UBS thinks Colgate continues to deliver solid execution and is one of the best-positioned companies in the consumer staples sector given its strong brands in attractive categories, particularly oral care. Over half of total revenues (52%) are derived in faster-growth emerging economies, and the company maintains leading or near-leading market shares across Brazil, Russia, India and China. UBS has not put a price target on the stock, and the consensus stands at $63. Investors receive a 2.3% dividend.

Phillips 66 (PSX) recently completed a very successful spin-off as a master limited partnership (MLP) of its substantial downstream assets. Phillips shares suffered in June and July as the spread between West Texas Intermediate (WTI) and Brent narrowed. However, UBS believes that this spread will widen as domestic supply continues to increase while the industry struggles to process the growth in volumes. Philips intends to increase dividends and share repurchases. The UBS price target for the stock is $71, the same as the consensus target. Investors are paid a 2.2% dividend.

J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM) is the top name to buy in the financial sector. The UBS team thinks the company is the cheapest of the large cap diversified banks. They believe this is unwarranted and presents an attractive opportunity for investors to benefit from an improving capital markets and lending environment. In short, UBS thinks the bank has a strong balance sheet with ample loan loss reserves, but also exposure to rebounding capital markets and consumer trends, which should propel earnings power going forward. Their price target for the stock stands at $62, while the consensus is at $62 as well. Investors are paid a 2.7% dividend.

Abbott Laboratories (ABT) is a top name to buy in the healthcare sector. The “new Abbott,” after the January 2013 spin-off of its proprietary pharmaceuticals business AbbVie (ABBV) is a large, diversified medical products company with four well positioned business segments: Nutritionals (30% of revenues), Medical Devices (25%), Established Pharmaceuticals (25%) and Diagnostics (20%). The new Abbott is a top three player in businesses that account for over 75% of its revenues. UBS has not yet established a price target on the stock. The consensus number is at $40. Shareholders receive a 1.6% dividend.

KBR Inc. (KBR) is a solid stock to buy in the industrials sector. KBR is an engineering and construction firm that is well positioned to benefit from the build-out of infrastructure to support booming natural gas production. KBR has strong Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) export terminal construction expertise. On the heels of a recent US Department of Energy study that showed that exports of natural gas from the US would have minimal impact on domestic prices, UBS expects the federal government to approve additional export terminals. Their price target for the stock is $36 and the consensus target is at $40. Investors are paid a 1% dividend.

Lam Research Corp. (LRCX) is a top technology stock to buy on the equity focus list. Lam Research is a leading wafer fabrication equipment supplier. UBS firmly believes that Lam will benefit from an increase in capital spending by semiconductor manufacturers over the next few years. Chip spending has flattened out over the past several years as companies have been increasingly focused on cost management. In particular, memory semiconductor manufacturers have been “under-spending” for the last three years. UBS has a $52 price target for the stock and the consensus is at $56.

Celanese Corp. (CE) wraps up the list of stocks to buy in the materials sector. Celanese is a global chemical manufacturer with a new management team that is restructuring underperforming businesses. The company is generally exposed to end markets such as automobiles, appliances, paints, construction, carpets and solar photovoltaics. Celanese is also attempting to commercialize a new technology that can convert coal and natural gas-based methanol into ethanol for use as a transportation fuel. UBS target price for this top name is $53, and the consensus comes in at $54. Investors are paid a small .7% dividend.

UBS Equity Focus list of stocks to buy combines all of the best research aspects the company has to put forward. Combining all these various metrics with dividend growth, is an area we have written at length about. With the market once again scaling new heights, investors may want to scale in, or buy partial positions in their portfolios in the event we get another 5% to 7% downturn like the one we experienced from May until June.