The industrial sector includes companies that produce machinery, equipment, and supplies used in construction and manufacturing, as well as those that provide related services. These companies are closely tied to the economy, and their business volume often falls sharply during recessions, though each industrial subsector often performs differently.
Well-known industrial sector companies include Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT), Honeywell International Inc. (HON), and 3M Co. (MMM). The industrial sector also includes companies that provide air transportation services, such as United Airlines Holdings Inc. (UAL).
Industrial stocks, represented by an exchange-traded fund (ETF)–the Industrial Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLI)–have underperformed the broader market, providing investors with a total return of 5.8% compared to the Russell 1000’s total return of 7.5% over the past 12 months. These market performance numbers and all statistics in the tables below are as of Feb. 23, 2022.
Here are the top three industrial stocks with the best value, the fastest growth, and the most momentum.
These are the industrial stocks with the lowest 12-month trailing price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio. Because profits can be returned to shareholders in the form of dividends and buybacks, a low P/E ratio shows that you’re paying less for each dollar of profit generated.
Market Capitalization (Market Cap) ($B)
12-Month Trailing P/E Ratio
Louisiana-Pacific Corp. (LPX)
Seaboard Corp. (SEB)
Nielsen Holdings PLC (NLSN)
Louisiana-Pacific Corp.: Louisiana-Pacific makes building materials and engineered wood products. The company provides oriented strand board sheathing, siding and trim, I-joists, laminated veneer lumber, and similar products. It has manufacturing and administrative locations in the U.S., Canada, and South America. Louisiana-Pacific reported fiscal results for Q4 FY 2021, ended Dec. 31, on Feb. 22. Net income declined by 25.1% while net sales grew by 15.3% year-over-year (YOY) for the period. Strong performance in the company’s Siding Solutions business helped to drive sales growth, offset by the reversal of uncertain tax positions in the prior year, higher depreciation and stock compensation charges, and other factors.Seaboard Corp.: Seaboard is an international agribusiness and transportation company that mostly produces and processes domestic pork and ships cargo. The company also engages in the production of sugar and alcohol, commodity trading, grain processing, and generation of electric power overseas.Nielsen Holdings PLC: Nielsen Holdings is a global data and analytics company. It offers audience measurement as well as other data and analytics services related to audience outcomes and content. The company serves the global media industry. On Feb. 11, the company declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.06 per share of common stock. The dividend is payable March 17 to shareholders of record as of March 3.
These are the top industrial stocks as ranked by a growth model that scores companies based on a 50/50 weighting of their most recent quarterly YOY percentage revenue growth and most recent quarterly YOY earnings-per-share (EPS) growth. Both sales and earnings are factors that are critical to the success of a company. Therefore, ranking companies by only one growth metric makes a ranking susceptible to the accounting anomalies of that quarter (such as changes in tax law or restructuring costs), which may make one figure or the other unrepresentative of the business in general. Companies with quarterly EPS or revenue growth of more than 2,500% were excluded as outliers.
Nielsen Holdings PLC: See above for company description.Copa Holdings SA: Copa Holdings is a Panama-based provider of airline passenger and cargo service. The Company provides scheduled flights to countries in North, Central and South America and the Caribbean.TransUnion: TransUnion provides risk and information solutions to businesses and individual consumers. The company provides consumer reports, insights and analytics, credit scores, and similar products and services. TransUnion’s Q4 FY 2021 ended Dec. 31. For that period, the company reported nearly 10-fold growth in net income along with a strong revenue gain YOY. The company completed the sale of its healthcare business for $982 million during the quarter, positively impacting financial results.
These are the industrial stocks that had the highest total return over the past 12 months.
Market Cap ($B)
12-Month Trailing Total Return (%)
Builders FirstSource Inc. (BLDR)
Carlisle Companies Inc. (CSL)
Robert Half International Inc. (RHI)
Russell 1000 Index
Industrial Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLI)
Builders FirstSource Inc.: Builders FirstSource makes and distributes building products and provides integrated services to professional homebuilders. It manufactures roof and floor trusses, wall panels, stairs, and vinyl windows. It also provides design services, product installation, and other services. On Feb. 18, the company announced the launch of a repurchase of $1 billion of its common shares. This follows the completion of $2 billion of stock repurchase programs authorized in 2021.Carlisle Companies Inc.: Carlisle Companies makes and distributes general industry products including construction materials and transportation products. The company’s products are used in roofing, real estate, food-service, aircraft manufacturing, and related industries.Robert Half International Inc.: Robert Half International is a specialized staffing and risk consulting services company. The company offers temporary and consultant staffing, permanent placement staffing, risk consulting, audit services, and related offerings. In January, Robert Half announced the appointment of Chris Nelson as chief marketing officer. Nelson will lead the company’s marketing strategy, overseeing digital and web marketing, analytics, customer insights, brand identity, and other areas. Nelson was previously a digital marketing executive at VMware.
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YCharts. “Financial Data.” Accessed Feb. 24, 2022.
Louisiana-Pacific Corp. “LP Building Solutions Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2021 Results and Provides Q1 2022 Outlook.” Accessed Feb. 24, 2022.
Nielsen Holdings PLC. “Nielsen Declares Quarterly Dividend.” Accessed Feb. 24, 2022.
TransUnion. “TransUnion Announces Strong Fourth Quarter 2021 Results and Continues to Strengthen its Portfolio by Adding Capabilities in High-Growth Markets.” Accessed Feb. 24, 2022.
Builders FirstSource Inc. “Builders FirstSource Announces Authorization of New $1 Billion Stock Repurchase Plan.” Accessed Feb. 24, 2022.
Robert Half International Inc. “Robert Half Names Chris Nelson Chief Marketing Officer.” Accessed Feb. 24, 2022.