Long-time readers of this column know of my affinity for reviewing winning stocks. Even just a cursory review of stocks that have done very well helps in my view to improve your stock-picking skills. At the very least, it helps to develop your market view. It’s like a race car driver reviewing tapes of previous races; the process of doing so improves your own skill.
One of the most outstanding stock market performances from a large-cap, S&P 500 company has been from Cummins Inc. (NYSE/CMI). This is an industrial company that nobody thinks about, but business is booming. The company manufactures diesel and natural gas engines, and it’s highly likely that you’ve ridden around in a vehicle or bus with one of its engines under the hood. You probably didn’t even know it.
Cummins has been a powerhouse wealth creator this year and is another positive signal for economic recovery, particularly in the transportation sector. This stock has more than doubled to its current level of over $100.00 a share, and I think company management will soon consider a two-for-one stock split.
This stock has actually been a huge wealth creator ever since the financial crisis. The share price is up nearly fivefold since then and the company is hiring new workers again. The company’s domestic demand for new engines is flat, but it’s the business in China, India and Brazil that’s booming. Cummins is likely to experience a significant increase in bottom-line earnings in 2011 and the stock should keep breaking new records.
Companies like General Electric Company (NYSE/GE), United Technologies Corporation (NYSE/UTX) and 3M Company (NYSE/MMM) are also saying the same thing. Business is getting better. Fourth-quarter earnings should be decent. And their operations in Asia are doing great. Cummins is getting nearly 20% of its revenues now from China and India and this number should increase, as those two countries have a greater tendency to use diesel over gasoline.
You can see then how stock prices in U.S. large-caps can be so strong, even as the domestic economy is weak. It’s because these international businesses are doing well in Asia and those earnings are translating even better with a weaker dollar.
The broader market might pull back significantly in 2011 on domestic economic news. For now, however, the action is tending towards more upside.