5 Rocket Stocks Ready for Blastoff This Week
BALTIMORE ( Stockpickr) -- 3.11%. That's how much stands in between the S&P 500 and new all-time highs for the big index. We may only be inching closer to that number, but the fact that we're only one or two moderately bullish trading weeks away from pushing up the S&P's high water mark shouldn't be ignored.
After last week's sideways consolidation in stocks, the S&P is entering this week coming off of a rest -- a healthy pause in a rally that's been in force since the start of last summer. For that reason, the big index is likely to have an easier time finding bids at higher levels in today's session, even as earnings season adds some fundamental headline risk to the equation.
To take full advantage, we're zooming in on five new Rocket Stock names this week.
For the uninitiated, "Rocket Stocks" are our list of companies with short-term gain catalysts and longer-term growth potential. To find them, I run a weekly quantitative screen that seeks out stocks with a combination of analyst upgrades and positive earnings surprises to identify rising analyst expectations, a bullish signal for stocks in any market. After all, where analysts' expectations are increasing, institutional cash often follows. In the last 187 weeks, our weekly list of five plays has outperformed the S&P 500 by 76.86%.
Without further ado, here's a look at this week's Rocket Stocks . Altria
Altria (MO) is the quintessential "sin stock." The $70 billion firm is the largest tobacco company in the U.S., led by its crown jewel Marlboro brand. Altria's other businesses include cigars and smokeless tobacco, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and a massive stake in SABMiller (SBMRY) . And like you'd expect from any good sin stock, the firm pays out a mammoth dividend right now, weighing in at just over 5%.
Let's face facts: Altria's business is dying slowly. Demand for tobacco products in the U.S. has been dropping over the last couple of decades, and Altria long ago spun off its growth prospects in Phillip Morris International (PM) . But the key word is that demand is dying slowly; cigarette volumes should see slips in the mid-single digits for the next few years.
In the mean time, the firm generates massive cash flows, and it pays out a huge chunk of those cash flows in the form of dividends. With sales declines already priced into shares, MO could surprise some investors in 2013.
And while the firm's biggest business is in decline, its side businesses are in growth mode right now. Take Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and MO's 27% stake in SABMiller. The alcoholic beverage market is hot right now, and that should remain the case. With Miller alone making up around $7 per share for MO, a material chunk of the firm's balance sheet enjoys reduced risk.