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7 Best Long-Term Stock Picks by Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley Research analysts published a report titled “50 for 2105”on Dec 15, 2011. They have chosen Morgan Stanley’s (MS) top stocks for 2015 by trying to identify companies “whose business models and market positions would be increasingly differentiated by 2015”. In choosing these long term investment ideas they have looked for “best franchises” and not just undervaluation. In filtering these stocks the focus was on sustainability of “competitive advantage, business model, pricing power, cost efficiency and growth”.

Morgan Stanley

From these 50 chosen stocks, we will discuss 7 long-term stock picks by Morgan Stanley in this article.

Schlumberger (SLB) has been given an overweight rating by Morgan Stanley due to an advanced technology portfolio and has a $1 billion investment in its Research and Development segment. The company has a leading market share in most of its products, some of the greatest field personnel, and a great performance reputation, opines Morgan Stanley. Up until the year 2000, Schlumberger managed to quadruple its size and expand into the Eastern Hemisphere and the next ten years are expected to witness a new wave of exploration. With high barriers-to-entry technologies, Schlumberger continues to gain market share while also providing an unmatched service quality.

Currently, its shares are trading at $68.04 and are expected to go north of $98 by the end of 2012. Earnings per share are expected to grow at 32.6% over the next two years against an industry median of 27.6% while sales growth of 19.2% is expected against the industry median of 18.8%. It has a P/E ratio of 15x. Jim Simons’ Renaissance Technologies had $191 million in SLB at the end of September.

Target (TGT) is in charge of operating the Target general merchandise stores. The company has been given an overweight rating by Morgan Stanley due to its middle market opportunity as it enters the Canadian market (which is expected to be a positive NPV project) and stabilizes U.S. growth (which is expected to provide 90% of estimated earnings in 2017). With an aim to increase customer loyalty, the company has introduced two sales-driving programs.

Currently, Target’s shares are trading at $51.70 and are expected to reach $64 by the end of 2012. Morgan Stanley expects a 16-20% EPS growth after 2012 and beyond. A P/E ratio of 12.5x is expected in 2012 against the industry median of 13.7x. Jonathan Jacobson’s Highfields Capital Management doubled its stake in TGT during the third quarter to nearly $300 million.

Teradata (TDC) has been given an overweight rating by Morgan Stanley as the company is seeing an accelerating growth in revenue driven by a large increase in the sales force and consultants, recent acquisitions which have led to the expansion of Teradata’s customer base, and a strong market growth. Teradata sells to Global 3,000 companies, dominating over one-third of the market.

Currently, its shares are trading at $50.44 and are expected to go north of $65 by the end of 2012. Earnings per share are expected to grow at 15.2% over the next two years against an industry median of 9% while sales growth of 12.4% is expected against the industry median of 6.6%. Its EV/EBIT ratio of 13.2x is expected to be greater than the industry median of 6.7x. Stephen Mandel’s Lone Pine Capital had nearly $200 million invested in TDC at the end of September.

Union Pacific (UNP) has been selected as one of Morgan Stanley’s best ideas in the freight transportation market segment. Morgan Stanley is bullish on the rail industry’s advantage over its truck competitors. Morgan Stanley believes that the EPS growth will come due to latent pricing power, operating leverage, long term volume growth, and improvements in long term productivity. Currently, its stock is trading at $101.45 per share and is expected to go north of $128. Earnings per share are expected to grow at 18.5% over the next two years against an industry median of 17.9% while sales growth of 7.6% is expected against the industry median of 6.4%. The company’s expected P/E ratio of 12.9x is lower than the industry median of 14.2x. Chris Hohn had nearly $300 million invested in UNP at the end of September.

United Technologies (UTX) provides technology products and services to the building systems and aerospace industries globally. It has been given an Overweight rating by Morgan Stanley since it is believed to be in the best position for the upcoming wave of aerospace aftermarket. The anticipated acquisition of Goodrich (GR) will help the company surpass its competitors as the leader of aerospace systems suppliers. Almost 65% of its operating income is generated from a less cyclically sensitive aftermarket. Through its six business lines, United Technologies keeps a diverse revenue base and a strong balance sheet.

Currently, its stock is trading at $74.57 per share and is expected to reach $95. Earnings per share are expected to grow at 13.9% over the next two years against an industry median of 11.7% while sales growth of 14% is expected against the industry median of 8%. The company has an expected P/E ratio of 13x. Billionaire Ken Fisher’s Fisher Asset Management had $440 million invested in UTX at the end of September.

VF Corporation (VFC) has been given an overweight rating by Morgan Stanley. The company is changing its portfolio mix in order to accelerate growth with the acquisition of Timberland. Morgan Stanley expects VF to increase global sales by more than $2.6 billion over the next few years and its recent survey showed that customers in China are responding positively to VF’s brands. The company wants to double the number of stores by 2015, adding roughly 4% to annual revenue growth. VF also has the lowest volatility in sales and margins. The company’s stock is trading at $129.32 per share and is expected to go north of $152 by the end of next year. Earnings per share are expected to grow at 17.8% over the next two years against an industry median of 14.7% while sales growth of 14.6% is expected against the industry median of 9.7%. The company’s P/E ratio is 14.4x against the industry median of 15.4x. Ken Heebner initiated a brand new $68 million position during the third quarter.

Visa (V) is the owner of the largest credit/debit card network in the world. It has been given an overweight rating by Morgan Stanley. With cash transactions accounting for 85% of all global transactions, there is a large market potential for the company in the coming years. Emerging technologies like prepaid, eCommerce, mobile payments, and electronic remittances are under Visa’s focus for potential sources of growth. Morgan Stanley projects a 10% organic revenue growth for the company over the next 5 years. Currently, its stock is trading at $101.32 and is expected to go north of $105 by the end of 2012. Earnings per share are expected to grow at 14.5% over the next two years against an industry median of 10.9%. The company has an expected P/E ratio of 16x. John Scully’s SPO Advisory Corp had more than $600 million invested in Visa at the end of the third quarter.

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