Clean-up companies have historically offered decent returns with low volatility as demand remains fairly stable through the economic cycle. Even the coronavirus mayhem seems to have failed to reverse this trend as reflected by the above 10% return from major waste removal firms over the past three months.
The coronavirus outbreak has, in fact, necessitated the proper disposal of trash, and waste management companies are at an advantage in such a situation, as healthcare officials have to dispose off used masks, gloves, suits, syringes and other medical equipment properly to contain the spread of infection.
General Industry Strength is Intact
Increase in population and urbanization has resulted in a significant rise in garbage and recycling. However, the number of places to store or dump garbage has declined with landfills being filled and closed. Also, in pace with the rapid industrialization, awareness regarding renewable waste management systems is increasing and so are the concerns regarding rise in CO2 emissions.
These are creating growth opportunities for waste management service providers. Most of the companies have increased their focus on recycling municipal solid waste (MSW) and non-hazardous industrial waste management for the reduction of pollution.
Further, technology adoption and use of advanced collection and recycling solutions is picking up pace. New technologies in containers are helping companies enhance operational efficiency and save costs. High tech containers now include odor reduction systems and capacity sensors.
Hence, income and cash flow for the industry have grown steadily over the past few years, enabling most industry players to pursue acquisitions and other investments.
Numbers Remain Encouraging
The Zacks Waste Removal Services industry has rallied 13.8% over the past three months. It currently carries a Zacks Industry Rank (the average of the Zacks Rank of all the member stocks) of 77, which places it in the top 31% of more than 250 Zacks industries. This indicates solid near-term growth prospects.
According to Allied Market Research, the global waste management market size is anticipated to reach $530 billion by 2025 from $330.6 billion in 2017, at a CAGR of 6% from 2018 to 2025.
Stocks That Warrant a Look
Over the past three months, the stock prices of six major clean-up companies have had impressive run on the bourse. GFL Environmental GFL, Stericycle SRCL and Clean Harbors CLH gained 30.1%, 24.8% and 22.3% respectively. Waste Connections WCN, Republic Services RSG and Waste Management WM have rallied a respective 18.6%, 11.1% and 10.7%.
Republic Services is a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) company, currently. The other stocks mentioned above are also considerable for your portfolio as these firms carry a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), at present.
The chart below shows the year-to-date price performance of six major waste removal stocks compared with the industry and the S&P 500 composite.
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Stericycle, Inc. (SRCL): Free Stock Analysis Report
Waste Management, Inc. (WM): Free Stock Analysis Report
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