Build Better Act and Infrastructure Stocks: 3 Stocks to Consider

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Have you heard about the $1.85 trillion Build Back Better Act? More than a trillion dollars in new spending across eight years will sink into the nation’s roads, bridges, rail, internet, water systems and more. 

White House, Martin Marietta Materials Inc. (NYSE: MLM), Vulcan Materials Co. (NYSE: VMC), Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (NYSE: FCX)
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Of that amount, $550 billion in new spending should boost traditional infrastructure stocks.

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What’s that mean for you? Does that mean you should make a mad dash for infrastructure stocks? Possibly. Let’s find out what you might want to invest in based on this new government infrastructure behemoth.

What’s in the Build Better Act?

What’s in the Build Better Act? Here’s a quick summary from the White House about the infrastructure law related to specific infrastructure add-ins:

  • Passenger rail: The largest investment in passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak. The U.S. lags behind in other countries, such as China, which contains 22,000 miles of high-speed rail. By investing $66 billion in additional rail funding to eliminate the Amtrak maintenance backlog, it’s the largest investment in passenger rail since Amtrak’s creation, a new way for moving people and freight.
  • Repairing and rebuilding roads: Many highways, major roads and bridges in the U.S. are in poor condition.The Act makes way for repairing and rebuilding roads and bridges with a focus on climate change mitigation and safety for all users. The legislation also includes a program called Safe Streets and Roads for All to reduce traffic fatalities.
  • Resilient infrastructure: The Act will also create resilient infrastructure against several types of threats: climate change, cyberattacks and extreme weather events. The United States faced 22 extreme weather and climate-related disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each. This legislation will make communities safer to protect against droughts, heat, floods and wildfires.
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As a result of these boosts, infrastructure firms stand to benefit, thus boosting stocks of certain companies.

Three Infrastructure Stocks to Consider Adding

Which infrastructure stocks might you want to consider? Let’s find out!

Martin Marietta Materials Inc. (NYSE: MLM)

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Martin Marietta Materials Inc., headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina, supplies building materials, including aggregates, cement, ready-mixed concrete and asphalt. The company spans 30 states, Canada and the Bahamas, and supplies the resources from its network of quarries and distribution yards. Martin Marietta’s Magnesia Specialties business produces high-purity magnesia and dolomitic lime products used in environmental, industrial and agricultural applications. Its East Group segments provide aggregate products only and its West Group offers aggregates, cement and downstream products including mixed concrete, asphalt, and paving services. 

Quick highlights from Martin Marietta Materials’ Q3 2021 report:

  • Building Materials: Building materials achieved record products and services revenues of $1,390.8 million, a 17.3% increase and record product gross profit of $413.1 million, a 7.9 percent increase.
  • Aggregates: Aggregates shipments, including shipments from acquired operations, grew 10.2%. 
  • East Group: East Group total shipments increased 10.1% and pricing increased 0.4%.
  • West Group: West Group shipments increased 10.4% and pricing increased 2.8%.
  • Cement: Cement shipments increased 4.1% and improved demand for specialty oil-well cement products. Pricing grew 8.4%.
  • Downstream businesses: Ready-mixed concrete shipments increased 23.2%. Pricing increased 2.3%. Product gross margin increased to 9.8%.
  • Magnesia Specialties business: Magnesia Specialties product revenues increased 30.3% to $71.9 million. Product gross margin improved 100 basis points to 39%.

Vulcan Materials Co. (NYSE: VMC)

Vulcan Materials Co., headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, provides basic materials and supplies for the infrastructure and construction industry. Vulcan has over 400 active aggregates facilities, 70 asphalt facilities and 240 concrete facilities. All are located in the U.S. except for two others on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada, and Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula.

The company operates through aggregates, asphalt, concrete and calcium segments. According to its website, large quantities of its aggregates build and repair roads, bridges, waterworks and ports, as well as construct buildings (both residential and nonresidential). The scope of Vulcan’s work includes manufacturing facilities, office buildings, schools, hospitals and churches.

Vulcan’s total revenue for Q3 was $1.52 billion, an increase of 16% compared to the prior year. Operating earnings were $262 million compared with $288 million in the prior year. Aggregate gross profit increased $34 million, or 10%, to $372 million  and non-aggregates gross profit was $22 million compared with $43 million last year.

Continuing operations earnings were $177 million, or $1.33 per diluted share. 

Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (NYSE: FCX)

Freeport-McMoRan Inc. mines copper, gold and molybdenum through its North America Copper Mines, South America Mining, Indonesia Mining, Molybdenum Mines, Rod and Refining, Atlantic Copper Smelting and Refining and Corporate and Eliminations sectors. 

Its portfolio of assets includes the Grasberg minerals district in Indonesia, one of the world’s largest copper and gold deposits and significant mining operations in the Americas, including the large-scale Morenci minerals district in North America and the Cerro Verde operation in South America.

A few Q4 2021 highlights from Freeport-McMoRan: 

  • Net income attributable to common stock in fourth-quarter 2021 totaled $1.1 billion.
  • Operating cash flows totaled $2.3 billion for Q4 and $7.7 billion for the year 2021.
  • Capital expenditures totaled $0.8 billion in fourth-quarter 2021 and $2.1 billion for 2021.
  • FCX’s Board of Directors approved a new share repurchase program authorizing repurchases of up to $3 billion of FCX’s common stock. The combined annual rate of the base dividend and the variable dividend approved by the Board is expected to total $0.60 per share in 2022.
  • Consolidated debt totaled $9.5 billion and consolidated cash and cash equivalents totaled $8.1 billion, resulting in net debt of $1.4 billion. FCX had no borrowings and $3.5 billion available under its revolving credit facility as of December 31, 2021.

Infrastructure Stocks for the Win

The silver lining of government spending (even if it normally makes you grit your teeth) is that you can sometimes benefit from it. Look to infrastructure stocks to make a large impact in your portfolio over the long haul.

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