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.
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