Astec Industries Inc
) shares attained a 52-week high of $41.68 during intraday
trading on Mar 7, finally closing lower at $41.34.
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The company has delivered a year-to-date return of about 7.3%,
outperforming the S&P 500 return of 2%. Astec has a market
cap of $945 million. Average volume of shares traded over the
last 3 months was approximately 89K. The company has long-term
estimated earnings per share growth rate of 10%.
What's Driving Astec?
Shares of Astec have been on the rise since the company reported
upbeat fourth-quarter results and 2013 results on Feb 25.
Earnings improved 50% to 36 cents per share from 24 cents in the
year-earlier quarter. Moreover, the reported figure beat the
Zacks Consensus Estimate of 31 cents. The year-over-year growth
was driven by successful operation of the new wood pellet plant
in Georgia and strong performance of the aggregate processing
equipment businesses. For full-year 2013, Astec reported earnings
per share of $1.69, up 15% from $1.48 in 2012.
The U.K. parliament has approved a tax credit for utilities to
burn wood pellets as a source of fuel and switch from coal-fired
plants to wood plants. This opens up a sizeable opportunity for
Astec as the company is a supplier of all equipments used in wood
pellet plants. Astec continues to receive new orders in addition
to existing orders for wood pellet plants and these are expected
to be significant contributors to its top line.
Astec continues to invest significantly in increasing its
capacity, manufacturing new products as well as upgrading its
existing products. Introduction of products such as stabilizers,
new models at Roadtec, larger crushers at Telsmith, pump trailers
and vertical drilling rigs will effectively contribute to sales
growth. The revealing of 37 new products at ConExpo, the premier
construction equipment trade show, will act as a catalyst.
Other Stocks to Consider
Astec currently holds a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked
stocks in the sector include
The Manitowoc Company, Inc.
Hyster-Yale Materials Handling, Inc.
). While Manitowoc sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy),
Hyster-Yale Materials Handling and Komatsu carry a Zacks Rank #2