There's seemingly no end to the discussion about which stocks will benefit from stay-at-home measures, and which stocks will benefit from a coronavirus vaccine. However, what about businesses that are likely to see their long-term growth prospects enhanced by the pandemic, as well as by the rollout of a vaccine? There's a case for arguing that Honeywell International (NYSE:HON), Carrier Global (NYSE:CARR), and Stanley Black & Decker (NYSE:SWK) all own businesses in this category, here's why.
Honeywell International stock
The diversified industrial giant has a number of businesses that have been impacted in different ways by the pandemic. On the positive side, its warehouse automation business (safety and productivity solutions segment, or SPS) is a key beneficiary of the growth in demand for warehouses related to e-commerce, and its personal protective equipment (PPE) sales have boomed in 2020.
On the downside, its process automation and refining catalyst and absorbents business (performance, materials, and technologies, or PMT) has been hit due to lower energy prices and the pandemic-induced slump in automotive production and materials sales (PMT again).
However, there are two areas where Honeywell may see some long-term benefit. First, around a third of Honeywell's commercial aviation sales actually go the business and general aviation market. That's a positive because the company's Global Business Aviation Outlook calls for the business jet market to return to 2019 levels by the middle of next year. Moreover, there's a case for arguing that the pandemic could lead to a longer-term shift toward business jet usage from commercial-for-business travelers.
Second, Honeywell's CEO Darius Adamczyk believes Honeywell Building Technologies (HBT) has a major opportunity to benefit from the increased awareness for healthy, clean buildings among owners. Indeed, CFO Greg Lewis referred to $600 million worth of orders in the pipeline for its healthy building solutions.
Moreover, a recent deal with Microsoft to run Honeywell's applications on Microsoft's cloud platform will see its first focus on the HBT segment. In a nutshell, building owners will be able to pull real-time data on their building's performance in order to analyze and determine maintenance actions. Examples include optimizing energy efficiency and ensuring air is changed appropriately -- a key part of keeping buildings healthy.
Carrier Global stock
If Honeywell's building controls and data applications are going to keep buildings clean, then the kind of high-quality heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems offered by Carrier are going to be a big part of the battle too. According to the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), "Ventilation and filtration provided by heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems can reduce the airborne concentration of SARS-CoV-2 and thus the risk of transmission through the air."
As such, HVAC providers are a key combatant in the fight against COVID-19, and they are also a key part of the movement toward healthier and cleaner buildings in the future. Furthermore, as one of the higher-quality HVAC companies, Carrier is better positioned to offer the kind of digital Internet of Things solutions necessary to monitor HVAC system performance and energy usage.
Carrier can also benefit from a pickup in demand for building security (its fire and security segment) due to increased awareness of the need to manage site access. Furthermore, Carrier's refrigeration segment is a key component of the fight to ensure food and medications (including vaccines) are transported safely under refrigeration. In short, Carrier's best days are ahead.
Stanley Black & Decker stock
The company's DIY tools business has seen a surge in demand as stay-at-home measures have sparked investment in home improvement. Indeed, its tools and storage segment organic sales were up 11% in the recent third quarter. Moreover, Stanley's leadership in e-commerce within the industry played perfectly into its hands during the pandemic.
However, investors may be missing out on a growth opportunity in Stanley's smallest segment, security. The segment only provided $50 million of the company's $725 million in segment profit, but its profit growth can be a major swing factor in the company's earning growth. The opportunity comes from a combination of a growing economy and an increased awareness of the need for secure buildings.
Regarding the security segment, CEO Jim Loree said on the recent earnings call, "We continue to transform this business and are investing to capture the emerging health and safety opportunity related to the pandemic." It's an opportunity that Loree plans to fully capture with "products such as automated entrance management with facility threshold controls, contact and proximity tracing, and touchless stores for commercial establishments that will begin to show revenue in 2021."
Benefit from the pandemic and then the vaccine
The key to these arguments is that some sort of structural change in thinking will occur as a result of the pandemic. In other words, building owners will seek out healthier environments (Honeywell and Carrier), and will be more aware of security and access issues around their sites (Carrier and Stanley). Finally, companies will be more aware of the need for safe transportation (Carrier).
Meanwhile, the rollout of a vaccine will boost economic growth and support future demand for all of these companies' solutions discussed here.