7 Materials Stocks Ready to Supply the Infrastructure Boom

materials stocks - 7 Materials Stocks Ready to Supply the Infrastructure Boom

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The U.S. is pulling out all the stops to modernize its infrastructure. While that word doesn’t inspire a lot of excitement for most investors, it’s a very enticing prospect on the whole.

It means all of the things we rely on to conduct the fundamental business of living our lives will get an upgrade. The magnitude of this is hard to grasp.

For example, the U.S. power grid is so old, Thomas Edison (or Nikola Tesla) would find it familiar. The U.S. interstate highway system was designed in the 1950s and there are bridges and tunnels that are woefully in need of repair. That hamstrings our intermodal commerce.

I could go on. But the point is, investing in infrastructure means infrastructure jobs in the short term and a more vibrant economy in the long term. The materials stocks featured here will be big players in that effort in the U.S., and many will also be global winners.

Here are 7 materials stocks ready to supply the infrastructure boom:

  • Alcoa (NYSE:AA)
  • Cleveland-Cliffs (NYSE:CLF)
  • Cemex (NYSE:CX)
  • Freeport-McMoRan (NYSE:FCX)
  • James Hardie Industries (NYSE:JHX)
  • ArcelorMittal (NYSE:MT)
  • United States Steel (NYSE:X)

These materials stocks might not be as adrenaline-inducing as the latest meme stocks, but they’re far more reliable. Let’s take a closer look.

Materials Stocks to Support the Infrastructure Boom: Alcoa (AA)

alcola stock
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In 1886, Charles Martin Hall developed a smelting process for aluminum and launched a company in Pittsburgh. By 1907, he had built the Aluminum Company of America, Alcoa for short.

For decades, AA was the first company to report earnings every quarter, illustrating materials stocks’ influence over financial stocks as America grew. This is also reflected in the power of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which has become less of economic barometer over the decades.

Today, it’s the No. 8 aluminum producer in the world and remains a major force in the global economy. It currently has operations in seven countries, with customers around the world.

Some price rises in materials stocks have been due to a weakening dollar since most commodities are priced in dollars. But now demand is increasing, which bodes well for AA.

AA has gained 66% year to date yet trades at a P/E of just 17.

The stock has a B rating in my Portfolio Grader.

Cleveland-Cliffs (CLF)

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When CLF was founded, James Polk was President of the United States; the nation was busy fighting the Mexican-American War and acquiring the Oregon Territory from the British.

Today, CLF remains a U.S.-based iron ore producer that serves the steel industry through mines in Michigan and Minnesota. U.S.-based materials stocks will be big winners in this infrastructure effort because the Biden administration is committed to bringing back jobs back to the U.S.

With a market cap of nearly $12 billion, this is an important stock in the American industrial commodities sector and should see significant business in coming years. Remember, these infrastructure projects will take years to build.

CLF is up 62% year to date and trades at a current P/E of 15.

The stock has an A rating in my Portfolio Grader.

Cemex (CX)

A Cemex (CX) mixing truck driving in Santa Clara, California.
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When you’re driving around your city or town the next time, look around and see how much cement and concrete are around you — buildings, roads, bridges, houses.

Again, materials stocks are almost camouflaged because we’re so used to seeing them we never really think about how critical they to our daily lives.

Founded in 1906 in Monterrey, Mexico, CX currently operates in more than 30 countries, including the U.S., and distributes its materials in more than 50 countries. It’s the fifth-largest building materials company in the world.

Also remember, offshore drilling rigs also depend on cement to secure their wellheads. The energy industry is a significant consumer of specialized concrete as are other industries.

CX has gained 57% year to date, yet it’s still struggling through pandemic-related slowdowns. However, when the world grows, CX grows.

The stock has a Portfolio Grader A rating.

Freeport-McMoRan (FCX)

Freeport-McMoRan (FCX) sign on a Freeport-McMoRan office building in Phoenix, Arizona.
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If you’re looking for a globally diversified miner and processor in the materials stocks sector, look no further. US-based FCX mines copper, gold, silver and molybdenum in operations that stretch around the globe. And it’s vertically integrated, so it can sell raw as well as processed materials. FCX has a substantial $52 billion market cap.

Molybdenum first reached the periodic table of elements in 1781 and is used today as a key component in steel alloys. It has the sixth-highest melting point of any element, so it makes high-strength steel used in structural steel and stainless steel. It’s also a key component in armor and weapons-grade materials.

FCX is very much a barometer of the global growth, so it’s a great stock when things are on the upswing. It’s risen 39% year to date and is trading with a current P/E of 19.

The stock has a Portfolio Grader A rating.

James Hardie Industries (JHX)

workers on a construction site with the sun setting in the background
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Did you know that 15% of new homes are built with fiber cement siding? Basically, fiber cement is wood pulp, water, fly ash and cement that’s mixed together to form a material that is highly durable and highly versatile. It’s used on homes and on commercial buildings due to its durability and relative affordability.

JHX is the global leader in supplying fiber cement products. It has 10 facilities in the U.S., Asia, Australia and Europe.

This is certainly a niche player, but it’s a significant business sector and a major materials stock with a $15 billion market cap. JHX has been on a run because it’s part of the real estate boom in China and the US, so it isn’t as cheap as the other stocks here. But it offers a direct play in a very hot niche.

JHX is up 18% year to date and trades at a current PE of 59.

The stock has a Portfolio Grader B rating.

ArcelorMittal (MT)

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If you’re looking for the king of all materials stocks, MT has to be on the short list. It’s the largest steelmaker in the world.

The crazy thing is, in this world of trillion-dollar market cap companies, MT is a major global materials stock yet has a market cap of just $37 billion.

It’s a vertically integrated player that has mining operations all the way down the production chain to milling cold rolled steel, hot rolled and cold rolled coil, coated steel and plate. It also does flat and tubular steel, which means if you need something made of finished steel, MT has you covered from mine to delivery.

The steelmaker has had a strong run, posting a 51% return year to date. Yet MT is still only trading at a current P/E below 6.

MT stock has a Portfolio Grader A rating.

United States Steel (X)

rods, bars and other forms of steel
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This company was formed by J.P. Morgan in 1901 and was the steel company that built the railroads and shipping fleets, bridges and buildings in the early 20th century. Ironically, most of those bridges and buildings are still in use today.

But X isn’t that powerful engine of commerce that it once was. By the end of the 20th century, most of X’s revenue was from its energy investments. U.S. steel production had been undercut by the globalization of the economy and during the late 20th century, it was cheaper to import steel from Japan and sail it to the U.S. than it was to produce it in the U.S.

But X has been doing well in the 21st century and it’s the second largest steel company in the U.S. X will also be a big beneficiary of the Made in America movement that’s underway now as well. U.S. materials stocks are well positioned and X is near the top of the list.

X has gained 52% year to date, yet it’s trading at a current P/E of just 8.

The stock has a Portfolio Grader A rating.

Disclosure:  On the date of publication, Louis Navellier has positions in AA, CLF, CX, KHX and MT. Louis Navellier did not have (either directly or indirectly) any other positions in the securities mentioned in this article.

 The InvestorPlace Research Staff member primarily responsible for this article did not hold (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article.


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