Right about this time of year you start to be reminded of that old Wall Street adage. You know the one I’m talking about: “Sell in May and go away.” Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. However, with the market hitting new highs, the pull to pull away from the market is even greater this year.
Here at the Motley Fool, we eschew market timing. We’d rather buy great businesses and hold them, well, forever. That’s why I want to challenge you this May to buck the conventional Wall Street wisdom and instead of selling, go out and buy a great stock that you can hold on to for the next few years.
With that in mind, we recently held an investor roundtable at the Motley Fool in which each analyst was tasked with selecting one stock worthy of your investing dollars. In selecting my one stock to buy in May I went with a familiar name that truly dominates its market. That stock: National-Oilwell Varco, Inc. (NYSE:NOV). Let’s drill down into its business and why I think it makes a great buy today.
Backlog and building momentum
In some regards National-Oilwell Varco, Inc. (NYSE:NOV) had a down quarter. While revenue jumped 23% year over year it was down 7% over last quarter. Still, beneath the noise were several positives, and topping that list is the company’s record order backlog of $12.9 billion. This exceeds the previous record set in 2008 by over a billion dollars. That speaks of good things ahead.
Further, the company noted on its conference call that its business typically lags that of both services providers and drilling contractors by a quarter or two. That bodes really well when you consider the numbers being put up by the oil services sector.
For example, Halliburton Company (NYSE:HAL) saw record first-quarter revenue of $7 billion. Declining rig counts and pricing pressures in North America were still more than offset by the company’s international operations. Meanwhile, Schlumberger Limited. (NYSE:SLB)‘s results seemed to mirror National-Oilwell Varco, Inc. (NYSE:NOV)’s in that its revenue was up over the year-ago quarter but slipped sequentially. Again, though, the story here was strength internationally with weakness in North America. Further, both companies are very optimistic about the future and neither see any signs of a business slowdown.
Then you have Core Laboratories N.V. (NYSE:CLB) which reported its most profitable quarter ever. Driven by worldwide deepwater developments, the company can be a real leading indicator of future capital spending as it analyzes reservoir rocks and fluids to help exploration and production companies optimize projects.