A Big Upgrade for Jacobs Engineering

After spending much of 2010 at a four-star rank, Jacobs Engineering (NYSE: JEC  ) has impressed enough top-performing members of our 160,000-strong Motley Fool CAPS community to climb all the way to the top: five stars. A total of 1,091 members have given their opinion on the construction services firm, with many of them offering analysis and commentary explaining the recent optimism.

The downturn hasn't been easy on Jacobs Engineering and competitors such as Fluor (NYSE: FLR  ) , Foster Wheeler (Nasdaq: FWLT  ) , and Shaw (NYSE: SHAW  ) , as companies around the world pulled back on capital expenditures. But many CAPS members believe Jacobs is in a good position to benefit once the global economy picks up speed.

Since I made my bullish call on the company late last year, many investors have piled on, citing the long-term prospects of the company and a sector that is out of favor right now. 

Investors are constantly looking for signs of improvement in capital spending, and Jacobs' management believes the cycle may be at or near a bottom, with several areas beginning to show promise. While refining continues to be a tough spot for companies like Valero (NYSE: VLO  ) , areas like gas production and storage, and upstream oil and gas (­­­­particularly oil sands) are looking up.

Companies like BP (NYSE: BP  ) and ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP  ) are embarking on notable oil sands projects, and Jacobs sees some pent-up investment that could help lead into a recovery. CAPS members are also bullish on the flow of stimulus money, which has recently been a positive for the company and is expected to continue to help in several areas of its businesses.                           

After pulling off some recent acquisitions, Jacobs Engineering still has the capacity to scout for more, and it currently sees good opportunities for expansion in areas like the Middle East, China, and India. The company's healthy balance sheet and cash balance put Jacobs in a strong position to go after weaker players.

Do you think Jacobs Engineering deserves its five-star status? Add your thoughts in the comments box below on this page, or head over to CAPS to rate the company and check out all the information and opinions the community offers, absolutely free.

The Motley Fool Inside Value team looks for stocks that are selling at bargain prices well below their intrinsic value. To see the full list of cheap companies the service is recommending today, take a free 30-day trial.

Fool contributor Dave Mock recently upgraded his poker skills from dismal to passable. He owns no shares of companies mentioned here. The Fool's disclosure policy recommends avoiding tequila and saki in the same sitting.


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  • Report this Comment On April 06, 2010, at 1:15 PM, jpmj wrote:

    Yes, showing signs of construction jobs pick up in and around South Louisiana -- up & down the Mississippi River. I also agree that the Middle East, China, & India are BBBig +'s. ON MY WATCHLIST

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