Shares of Fluor (FLR -2.70%) shot up 52.2% in the month of November, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence. The stock has gained another 5.6% so far this month as of this writing.
Investors' hopes got a shot in the arm after the company announced a leadership change and its second-quarter numbers in quick succession, having deftly dealt with an accounting mess. The closing of the U.S. elections and favorable macro factors further fueled the fire.
On Nov. 2, Fluor announced the appointment of David Constable as the new CEO, effective Jan. 1, 2021, after the retirement of present CEO Carlos Hernandez.
Constable is already well versed with Fluor's affairs thanks to his long stint in the company. He rejoined its board of directors in 2019 after multiple roles at the company from 1982 to 2011. In between, he served as the CEO of South African chemical and energy giant Sasol.
The market cheered the development as it pinned its hopes on Constable to put Fluor back on the growth track.
On Nov. 12, Fluor beat analysts' estimates and reported flat revenue of around $4.1 billion for its second quarter despite weakness in key markets like energy and chemicals. Fluor won new awards worth $2.2 billion during the quarter, and ended it with a backlog of $29 billion. Although that's down roughly 8% from its first-quarter backlog, it compares well to Fluor's 2019 revenue of $14.3 billion.
The market bid Fluor shares even higher after drugmaker Pfizer announced high efficacy for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, fueling hopes of an economic recovery. Optimism hit another high as Joe Biden looked set to assume the presidency; the market hopes Biden will kick off a much-awaited spending program to rebuild America's crumbling infrastructure. Fluor should be a big beneficiary of any uptick in infrastructure projects for two reasons: It's one of the world's largest engineering and construction companies, and it derives a sizable portion of revenue from government projects. In 2019, U.S. government agencies contributed nearly 18% to Fluor's total revenue.
While a strong backlog is encouraging, all eyes will be on Fluor's new CEO and his transformation plan for the company. Investors can expect an update in early 2021. Until then, the stock might follow the broader market's trajectory.