April 17, 2024

Tricia Oak

Business & Finance Excellency

13 Best Materials Stocks To Invest In

In this article, we will discuss the 13 Best Materials Stocks To Invest In. You can skip our detailed industry analysis and go directly to the 5 Best Materials Stocks To Invest In.

The construction industry, which has a strong link to the materials sector, forms the backbone of economies around the world. According to McKinsey, the industry accounts for 13% of the world’s GDP. The construction industry entails real estate, industrial, and infrastructure. The health of a country’s construction sector is directly related to the condition of that country’s economy.

The construction material industry has faced some challenges in recent years, including supply chain issues and labor shortages. The industry faced supply chain issues due to excess demand, which followed after countries around the world lifted lockdowns. Similarly, the labor shortage in recent years was also due to the border closures that prevented cross-border workers from getting to the job site. Moreover, fewer workers were permitted on sites as a result of social distancing measures. As per the Associated Builders and Contractors, there is a shortage of about 650,000 workers in the construction industry in the US to meet the current demand. The demand is expected to grow over the coming two years, which will further increase the shortage if left unmet.

The advancement in technology is reflected in the recent developments in the construction material industry as well. Builders and engineers have started opting for 4D and 5D simulations to tackle the workflow challenges caused by the shortage of labor and scheduling problems. The introduction of such technologies has increased the overall product portfolio of the construction industry, providing them with more room to grow. The shift towards sustainability is also a key trend within the industry and has forced builders to employ environmentally friendly approaches in construction. Stronger demands for green buildings are forcing designers to opt for more antibacterial materials and finishes while also working on more open-space building projects so people can be more spread apart and prevent the spreading of any future outbreak.

The materials industry encompasses all the companies that manufacture products to be used in the construction and manufacturing sector. Chemicals, glass, cement, and metals are all products produced by the materials industry which are utilized in construction activities. Although the construction materials industry is extremely large with many big companies, The Mosaic Company (NYSE:MOS), Teck Resources Limited (NYSE:TECK), and Nutrien Ltd. (NYSE:NTR) are some of the key players in the industry. The revenue of the global construction industry stood at $6.4 trillion in 2020 and is forecasted to grow to $14.4 trillion by 2030.

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Our Methodology

We picked some of the notable materials stocks that have a low PE ratio and high popularity among hedge funds. PE ratio is an effective metric to judge the attractiveness of a stock’s price. A lower P/E ratio is preferred by investors as it means that the stock is trading at a cheaper price as compared with its peers. We have ranked the stocks in order of their hedge fund popularity and gauged the hedge fund sentiment from Insider Monkey’s database of 920 elite hedge funds.

Best Materials Stocks To Invest In

13. Sasol Limited (NYSE:SSL)

Forward P/E ratio as of December 16: 7.81

Number of Hedge Fund Holders: 6

Sasol Limited (NYSE:SSL) is a multinational chemical and energy corporation. The company offers the integration of complex technology and processes into large-scale operating facilities. Sasol Limited (NYSE:SSL) creates and commercializes technology, as well as constructs and operates facilities to manufacture a variety of goods such as liquid fuels, chemicals, and low-carbon energy.

The CEO, Fleetwood Grobler, expects volatile pricing and demand environment going forward in the fiscal year 2023 as the company continues to deal with several challenges, including the war in Ukraine and a slowing global economy causing a decline in sales volume in some business segments.

In addition to Sasol Limited (NYSE:SSL), The Mosaic Company (NYSE:MOS), Teck Resources Limited (NYSE:TECK), and Nutrien Ltd. (NYSE:NTR) are included in our list of 13 best materials stocks to invest in.

According to Insider Monkey’s database, 6 hedge funds held shares of the company at the end of the third quarter of 2022. Arrowstreet Capital was the most bullish fund on the company’s stock at the end of Q3 2022.

12. Olympic Steel, Inc. (NASDAQ:ZEUS)

Forward P/E ratio as of December 16: 13.81

Number of Hedge Fund Holders: 10

Founded in 1954, Olympic Steel, Inc. (NASDAQ:ZEUS) is a leading metals service center with three reportable segments: Carbon Flat Products, Specialty Metals, and Other Metals. The company processes and distributes processed carbon, coated and stainless flat-rolled sheet, coil and plate steel, aluminum, tin plate, and metal-intensive branded products.

On November 04, 2022, Olympic Steel, Inc. (NASDAQ:ZEUS) reported Q3 2022, posting revenue of $634.44 million. The company’s Normalized EPS in the last quarter stood at $1.14, beating market expectations by $0.14. The CEO, Rick Marabito, while commenting on the result, stated that the company’s operating discipline is the main reason behind the company’s resilience amidst ongoing challenges such as declining metal prices, labor shortage, supply chain issues, and inflation.

As per Insider Monkey’s database, 10 hedge funds had stakes in Olympic Steel, Inc. (NASDAQ:ZEUS) at the end of the third quarter. Royce & Associates remained the leading stakeholder in the company at the end of Q3 2022.

Here is what Singular Research has to say about Olympic Steel, Inc. (NASDAQ:ZEUS) in its Q4 2021 investor letter:

In December, global markets recovered from November’s omicron scare as Covid worries dissipated given the fact that the new variant has not been as severe or vaccine-resistant as previously anticipated. For December, Olympic Steel (NASDAQ:ZEUS) also performed well as the price of steel increased three percent. Investors were also enthusiastic for ZEUS given the passing of the U.S. infrastructure bill.

11. ArcelorMittal S.A. (NYSE:MT)

Forward P/E ratio as of December 16: 4.53

Number of Hedge Fund Holders: 13

ArcelorMittal S.A. (NYSE:MT) is a leading global integrated steel and mining company. The company manufactures a broad range of high-quality finished and semi-finished steel products. ArcelorMittal S.A. (NYSE:MT) serves clients in over 155 countries from the automotive, appliance, engineering, construction, and machinery industries.

On November 11, 2022, Luke Nelson, an analyst at JPMorgan, increased his price target on ArcelorMittal S.A. (NYSE:MT) to €24.50 from €23.50 while keeping a Neutral rating on the stock. The company’s Q3 2022 revenue was reported at $18.98 billion, beating market expectations by $1.60 billion, whereas the Normalized EPS of $1.42, beat market estimates by $0.12.

As per Insider Monkey’s proprietary database, 13 hedge funds were bullish on ArcelorMittal S.A. (NYSE:MT), as of the end of the third quarter. GQG Partners was the biggest stakeholder in the company’s stock at the end of Q3 2022.

Voss Capital, an investment management firm, mentioned ArcelorMittal (NYSE:MT) in its fourth-quarter 2021 investor letter. Here’s what the firm said:

ArcelorMittal is a global integrated steel producer trading at around 2x EBITDA which will likely generate over 50% of their market cap in free cash flow in the next 8-10 quarters. This is after a period of substantial deleveraging which now allows the company to use FCF primarily towards share buybacks. We also believe the company’s numerous joint ventures have an underappreciated $10+ billion of value. When accounting for this, we believe MT is even cheaper on a price/tangible book basis (~0.4x).

If the company can simply maintain its multiple while returning most, if not all, that FCF to shareholders in the form of buybacks, we believe 50%+ upside is conservative. Given the company’s deleveraged balance sheet, even if steel pricing and profitability decline materially, we believe the downside will be limited as historically MT trades in a range of 5-7x EBITDA versus the current 2x.

10. West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. (NYSE:WFG)

Forward P/E ratio as of December 16: 13.77

Number of Hedge Fund Holders: 15

West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. (NYSE:WFG) is a Canadian wood products corporation that manufactures, sells, markets, and distributes lumber, engineered wood, and various other products such as pulp, newsprint, wood chips, and renewable energy. West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. (NYSE:WFG) products are utilized in home construction, repair, remodeling, industrial uses, papers, tissue, and packaging materials, among other things. The company operates from over 60 locations in Canada, the USA, Europe, and the UK.

On November 28, 2022, Benoit Laprade, an analyst at Scotiabank, reduced his price target on West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. (NYSE:WFG) to C$138 while keeping an Outperform rating on the stock. The company’s Q3 2022 revenue was reported at $2.09 billion, beating market expectations by $209.64 million, while the Normalized EPS of $2.50 beat the consensus estimate by $0.77.

As per Insider Monkey’s database, 15 hedge funds owned stakes in West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. (NYSE:WFG) at the end of the third quarter. Waratah Capital Advisors remained the leading stakeholder of the company at the end of Q3 2022.

9. Gerdau S.A. (NYSE:GGB)

Forward P/E ratio as of December 16: 7.09

Number of Hedge Fund Holders: 15

Gerdau S.A. (NYSE:GGB) is the largest Brazilian steel company and a major supplier of long steel in the Americas. Gerdau S.A. (NYSE:GGB) also produces flat steel and iron ore for domestic use. The company is also involved in the scrap metal recycling business. The company operates in ten countries and employs over 30,000 people.

On November 09, 2022, Gerdau S.A. (NYSE:GGB) reported Q3 2022 results posting revenue of $4.07 billion, beating market estimates by $150.80 million. The Normalized EPS for the quarter stood at $0.34.

15 hedge funds are currently bullish on Gerdau S.A. (NYSE:GGB) as per Insider Monkey’s database. Contrarian Capital had the leading stake in the company at the end of Q3 2022.

8. Vale S.A. (NYSE:VALE)

Forward P/E ratio as of December 16: 6.86

Number of Hedge Fund Holders: 27

Vale S.A. (NYSE:VALE) is a multinational metal and mining corporation based in Brazil. Iron ore, pellets, manganese ore, nickel, copper, ferroalloys, metallurgical and thermal coal, copper, and cobalt are all produced and exported by Vale S.A. (NYSE:VALE). The company also manufactures platinum-group metals as well as gold and silver.

On December 8, 2022, David Gagliano, an analyst at BMO Capital, increased his price target on Vale S.A. (NYSE:VALE) to $20 while keeping an Outperform rating on the stock. The analyst believes that the company’s improved operating visibility for 2023-2024 has lowered the stock risk and unpredictability and will result in more reasonable multiples.

27 hedge funds were long on the company’s stock at the end of the third quarter, according to Insider Monkey’s database. GQG Partners had the biggest long position in the company at the end of Q3 2022.

GMO LLC is thrilled with the amount of money Vale S.A. (NYSE:VALE) is returning to shareholders, as revealed in its Q1 2022 investor letter:

Let’s look at Vale (NYSE:VALE), the world’s largest iron ore producer, as a case study for how shareholders can be rewarded. Vale’s stock price is about where it was at the beginning of last year. Despite the market’s lack of enthusiasm, the company generated about $20 billion of free cash flow last year. Not bad for a company with a market cap of a little over $100 billion and no substantive debt as of the end of March. 4 What did the company do with all that cash? Last year, Vale paid out about $9 billion in regularly scheduled dividends and distributed another $10 billion between extra dividends and share repurchases. Combined with dividends distributed in the first quarter of this year and a recently announced share repurchase, Vale has returned or announced the return of over $33 billion since the beginning of last year, almost a 32% yield relative to the market cap of the company. Not a bad way to win.

7. Steel Dynamics, Inc. (NASDAQ:STLD)

Forward P/E ratio as of December 16: 7.38

Number of Hedge Fund Holders: 28

Steel Dynamics, Inc. (NASDAQ:STLD) is one of the biggest and most diverse domestic steel manufacturers and metals recyclers in the United States. Steel Dynamics, Inc. (NASDAQ:STLD) processes and sells recycled ferrous and nonferrous metals, steel joists, and deck products. It operates through three subdivisions: Steel Operations, Metals Recycling Operations, and Steel Fabrication Operations.

On November 14, 2022, David Gagliano, an analyst at BMO Capital, increased his price target on Steel Dynamics, Inc. (NASDAQ:STLD) to $100 from $89 while keeping a Market Perform rating on the stock. The analyst believes that the recent buyback announcement is a good sign and shows that the company has ample cash and can keep generating free cash flow in the coming years.

According to Insider Monkey’s database, 28 hedge funds had stakes in Steel Dynamics, Inc. (NASDAQ:STLD) at the end of the September quarter. AQR Capital Management remained the leading stakeholder of the company at the end of the third quarter.

6. United States Steel Corporation (NYSE:X)

Forward P/E ratio as of December 16: 6.15

Number of Hedge Fund Holders: 29

Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Steel Corporation (NYSE:X) is an American integrated steel company. United States Steel Corporation (NYSE:X) mainly manufactures and distributes flat-rolled and tubular steel products in North America and Europe. The company operates in four divisions: North American Flat-Rolled, Mini Mill, United States Steel Europe, and Tubular Products. In 2020 United States Steel Corporation (NYSE:X) was USA’s third largest steel producer.

On September 16, 2022, Curt Woodworth, an analyst at Credit Suisse, reduced his price target on United States Steel Corporation (NYSE:X) to $37 while keeping an Outperform rating on the stock. The analyst believes that the lower-than-anticipated end-market demand was the cause behind the company’s lower volume guide.

At the end of Q3 2022, 29 hedge funds in Insider Monkey’s database were long on United States Steel Corporation (NYSE:X) at the end of the quarter. Soroban Capital Partners remained the leading stakeholder of the company at the end of Q3 2022.

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Disclosure: None. 13 Best Materials Stocks To Invest In is originally published on Insider Monkey.

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