‘Pretty compelling value’: Analyst picks his top global stocks to withstand slowing growth
There are still pockets of “pretty compelling value” in a number of sectors despite growing economic headwinds, according to one analyst. Patrick Armstrong, chief investment officer at Plurimi Group, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” last week: “There’s an economic slowdown no doubt about it.” But in a separate note he added: “I think the cyclical boom and bust industries now offer pretty compelling value despite slowing economic growth.” Armstrong named three sectors which “stick out” for him as opportunities for investors: shipping, energy and agriculture. “Oil and gas companies are incredibly cheap, shipping companies are incredibly cheap. And I think agribusiness equities right now maybe aren’t incredibly cheap, but I think they’re going to have a number of quarters ahead of them where they’re beating estimates,” he said. Energy When it comes to oil, Armstrong said he didn’t know if oil prices would be “dropping off a cliff.” “It’s still an incredibly tight market right now that you’ve really not seen demand destruction yet,” he said. “There’s no spare capacity in OPEC of any significant size anymore.” Oil prices soared last year amid a broad rise in most commodities, and jumped higher after the Russia-Ukraine war. Crude prices recently dipped back below $100 a barrel, but remain around 40% higher than a year ago. “While [oil prices are] down significantly from a few months ago, it still allows massive cash flow generation,” Armstrong added. His stock picks in the space include British oil and gas giant Shell and American energy firm EOG Resources . Agriculture The impact of Russia’s war with Ukraine, as well as climate change, are also set to affect crop prices, Armstrong said, driving them higher. “Prices really jumped after Russia invaded Ukraine, they’ve been falling back now but there is serious disruption in potash,” he said, referring to an important ingredient in fertilizer. Russia and Ukraine are among the world’s largest exporters of grain, sunflower oil and other foods. Armstrong said there’s set to be “intensive” farming going on that will require more fertilizers and pesticides. “We’re going to have high grain prices, maybe not spiking grain prices, [but] that should be a tailwind for these kinds of companies,” he told CNBC. His favorite stocks in this sector include U.S. potash and fertilizer producer Mosaic , U.S. agricultural firm Corteva and U.S. food processing and commodities trading firm Archer-Daniels-Midland . Shipping Freight rates will continue to decline from the highs reached last year, but “will not fall off a cliff” as some analysts have forecast, Armstrong said. Covid restrictions and a shortage of shipping containers caused widespread disruptions at ports and saw freight rates spike in 2021 . And although some of these headwinds have lifted, prices remain robust . Armstrong said companies in this space were paying double-digit dividend yields, buying back shares and some could boast a “shocking” free cash flow yield of 40%. Armstrong’s stock picks in shipping include Danish shipping company Moller Maersk and Japanese shipping firm Nippon Yusen.