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Why Pentair (PNR) is a Must-Add Stock to Your Portfolio

Zacks Equity Research

Pentair plc PNR, a diversified industrial manufacturing company, has been performing well of late. The Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock has an estimated long-term earnings growth rate of 10.8%. Going by the Zacks model, companies carrying a Zacks Rank #2 have strong chances of outperforming the broader market.

Strength in order activity and cost saving actions will help the company sail through the near-term challenges. Further, based on its strong fundamentals, we believe Pentair has plenty of upside potential.

Year to date, Pentair has outperformed the Zacks categorized Machinery-Thermal Products industry. The company’s shares gained around 12.7% compared with industry’s growth of roughly 8.7%. We note that the industry is also favorably placed as it occupies a space in the top 2% of the Zacks classified industries (6 out of the 256).

Upbeat Guidance

For 2017, the company expects adjusted EPS in the range of $3.45–$3.55 driven by revenues of approximately $4.7 billion. Compared with the earnings of $3.05 in fiscal 2016, this reflects a year-over-year rise of 15% in earnings.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for fiscal 2017 of $3.46 depicts growth of 13.5% while the estimate for fiscal 2018 reflects a year-over-year growth of 10.5%.

Positive Earnings Surprise History

Pentair has an impressive earnings surprise history, outpacing the Zacks Consensus Estimate in the trailing four quarters, delivering a positive average earnings surprise of 5.06%.

Earnings Beat Likely to Continue in Next Quarter

Our proven model shows that Pentair is likely to beat earnings in the to-be-reported quarter because it has the right combination of two key ingredients – a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 or 3 (Hold), which have a significantly higher chance of beating earnings. Pentair’s Earnings ESP is +6.85% as the Most Accurate estimate of 78 cents is pegged higher than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 73 cents. A positive ESP serves as a meaningful and leading indicator of a likely positive earnings surprise. The combination of the company’s favorable Zacks Rank #2 with a positive ESP makes us confident of an earnings beat. You can uncover the best stocks to buy or sell before they’re reported with our Earnings ESP Filter.

Growth Drivers on Track

Pentair continues to aggressively manage cost structure and drive productivity to work through the near-term challenges. Entering 2017, the company is well positioned to optimize opportunities across the organization to get back to creating shareholder value. Pentair is combining the former Water Quality Systems and Flow & Filtration Solutions into one Water segment, which will allow executing Water strategy and lead to more predictable long-term growth. The company’s Technical Solutions business is being renamed as the Electrical segment. This step will also allow deploying expertise to drive performance more effectively.

With the pending sale of Valves & Controls, Pentair anticipates to address stranded costs and simplification of the organization. The company believes the sales of its Valves & Controls business remains on track for close in early 2017. Further, it continues to make good progress on aligning cost structure as well as repositioning the company with the divestiture of Valves & Controls.

Pentair saw distributors pause order activity in Oct 2016, but orders returned to more normalized levels in Dec 2016 and exited the year on a positive note. On the infrastructure front, the company continues to see several jobs deferred, but signs are pointing to potential improvement in 2017.

Stock Seems Undervalued

Pentair has a trailing 12-month price earnings (P/E) ratio of 18.32 while the Zacks categorized Machinery-Thermal Products industry’s average trailing 12-month P/E ratio is at 19.21. Based on this ratio, the stock seems undervalued.

Other Stocks to Consider

Some other favourably placed industrial product stocks are John Bean Technologies Corporation JBT, Casella Waste Systems, Inc. CWST and ACCO Brands Corporation ACCO. All of these stocks sport a Zacks Rank #1. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

John Bean Technologies has a positive average earnings surprise of 21.01% in the last four quarters. Casella Waste generated a remarkable positive average earnings surprise of 165.21% in the trailing four quarters. ACCO Brands delivered an average positive earnings surprise of 24.74% in the preceding four quarters.

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