Picking stocks to buy isn’t easy, and new investors should be cautious when they’re starting out. That said, if you are about to wade into the market and open some positions for the long term, you may want to look at a couple of stocks that offer a combination of exciting growth prospects and relative safety: industrial giant Honeywell International (NASDAQ: HON) and agricultural technology company Corteva (NYSE: CTVA). Let’s find out a bit more about these two growth stocks.
1. Honeywell International has growth prospects
Large diversified industrial conglomerates are often seen as sleepy low-growth cash cows. This is because their mixed balance of businesses gives them some surety of earnings. After all, short-term weakness in one area (say, aerospace) can be balanced by strength in another (for example, energy-related spending). However, their size and mix of businesses make it difficult for such companies to escape the growth trajectory of the economy at large. As a result, investors usually look at a $36 billion turnover company like Honeywell and quickly conclude it is a low-growth business.
However, the reality is somewhat different. At the company’s investor conference earlier this year, management upgraded its long-term growth forecast to 4% to 7% a year from the 3% to 5% growth it guided for previously. The reason comes down to the host of growth drivers embedded within Honeywell’s portfolio of businesses.
Its aerospace business ($11 billion in sales in 2021) will participate in the expected multi-year recovery in commercial flight departures and has significant exposure to both business aviation and defense. Honeywell Building Technologies ($5.5 billion) is a major player in building solutions, management solutions, and the fire and security segment. It has a growth opportunity from the movement toward digitally connected buildings that use advanced analytics to improve building efficiency, minimize carbon emissions, and create healthier environments. Its performance materials and technologies segment ($10 billion) is a significant player in process automation.
Its investments in sustainable technologies (renewable fuels, carbon capture, green hydrogen) make it relevant in the ongoing shift to a low-carbon economy. Management believes its sustainable technology revenue will grow from $200 million in 2021 to $700 million in 2024.
Finally, its safety and productivity solutions segment ($7.8 billion) provides e-commerce warehouse automation and sensing technologies used in Industrial Internet of Things applications. Its productivity solutions (scanners and readers used in retail and logistics) help customers capture data and manage inventory.
On top of all this, Honeywell management believes that Quantinuum — a quantum computing business in which it owns a majority stake — will hit $2 billion in sales by 2026 within a market worth $1 trillion.
All told, Honeywell’s long-term growth looks assured, it’s a well-run company, and the dip in its stock price in 2022 has created an attractive entry point for investors.
2. Corteva — an agriculture stock to buy
Seed and crop protection company Corteva couldn’t be farther removed from Honeywell in terms of its end markets. However, the two companies do have something in common. Both can grow sales and profit margin through the increasing use of their proprietary technologies. With Honeywell, that will mean growing the use of embedded software, the investments discussed above, and capitalizing on its mix of businesses exposed to favorable end markets. With Corteva, it will come from growing the sales of products that are under its own patents and expand the sales of its crop systems.
Agriculture technology companies like to sell their seeds and crop protection as parts of an overall system. The seeds are resistant to the herbicides (crop protection), allowing them to be used in combination to produce healthy crop yields. One of Corteva’s growth opportunities comes from reducing the royalties it pays other companies to license their patents for its seeds. For example, it uses the patented technology of its rival, Bayer AG, in its soybeans, and therefore has to pay significant royalties — some $560 million in 2019, representing 7.4% of seed segment sales.
However, Corteva is aggressively ramping sales of its Enlist soybean traits, which use its own tolerance trait for Enlist system herbicides, among others. According to Corteva’s SEC filings, it “expected to significantly reduce the volume of products” using licensed traits beginning in 2021, resulting in lower royalty payments over the long term. Corteva is making good progress with Enlist, and on the Q1 earnings call, CEO Charles Magro said, “we expect to be on at least 40% of the U.S. soybean acres in 2022.”
The progress on Enlist, plus favorable conditions in its end markets (i.e., high crop prices) and productivity actions, are the main reasons Wall Street analysts expect Corteva’s operating margin to expand from 13.3% in 2021 to 16.6% in 2024, with operating income rising 50% over the same period.
If Corteva hits these projections, the stock could appreciate considerably.