Developing an investing thesis based on something out of management's control isn't a good plan. Politics and potential legislation fit squarely in that category. No one knows if a new infrastructure bill will pass, but we know businesses that would benefit the most if it were to happen.
Investors can get market-beating returns by finding leading companies that are succeeding even without the additional catalyst of an infrastructure package. NextEra Energy (NEE 1.08%), Nucor (NUE -0.61%) and ChargePoint Holdings (CHPT 0.27%) are three diversified businesses in thriving sectors investors can buy now. These companies don't need an infrastructure plan to pass, but if President Joe Biden gets support for his, it would bring investors in these companies an added bonus.
NextEra Energy: Momentum in renewable energy
NextEra Energy isn't just a renewable energy company; it's also a utility. The combination puts it in a sweet spot for investors right now. With Florida Power & Light and Gulf Power under its umbrella, NextEra is the largest electric utility in the United States by retail megawatt-hour (MWh) sales. And its NextEra Energy Resources subsidiary is the world leader in solar and wind power.
For investors, this translates into both income and growth. NextEra estimates that annual earnings growth will average between 6% and 8% through 2023, after growing 10.5% in 2020 compared to 2019. For income focused investors, the company said it expects to continue to increase its annual dividend by about 10% through 2022 off of 2020's base.
Renewable energy infrastructure seems destined to continue to grow as companies and consumers move toward sustainability and clean energy. If the electrification of transportation continues to expand, the utility side will also gain from the need for more battery charging. NextEra is one energy infrastructure play that makes sense to own right now.
Nucor: Touching every segment
The leading steel and steel products company in the U.S. is a natural infrastructure beneficiary. And Nucor's business is humming right now. Management felt the need to provide an unusual business update in February due to "positive economic trends and the robust demand we are seeing across our markets," CEO Leon Topalian said in a statement.
The company followed that up in mid-March letting investors know it expects first-quarter earnings to break the previous record set in 2008, and that "earnings in the second quarter of 2021 will likely set [another] new record for quarterly earnings."
Pent-up demand in the automotive market, ongoing strength in housing and appliance demand, and data center construction along with growing renewable energy are contributing to the strong environment. Nucor recently announced it will expand its tube division with a new mill in Kentucky, partly because the "location puts the new tube mill near expanding solar markets in the U.S."
And Nucor isn't just selling into the renewable segment, it's also using more clean energy to power its operations. Infrastructure projects in every form use Nucor's products that range from plate, sheet, tubing, and structural steel to metal building products and rebar to strengthen concrete.
ChagePoint: Electrification of transportation
ChargePoint is the North American leader in Level 2 charging networks, which use 240-volt power. The company says it has more than 70% market share. In its first quarterly financial report as a public company, it said it expects a surge in growth as electric vehicles (EVs) become more widespread. CEO Pasquale Romano said in a statement that his company's prospects are "bolstered by policy trends that continued to accelerate the shift to electric in North America and Europe."
But consumers, commercial fleet operators, and municipalities around the world aren't waiting for government policy to dictate an increase in EV use. Charging infrastructure is inadequate just about everywhere at this stage in the sector's growth, bringing much opportunity.
EV charging stocks may not be for every investor. It is a nascent industry, with likely a decade or more of infrastructure buildout still to come. ChargePoint shares are down almost 25% just since the start of March, as investors have rotated away from more aggressive growth stocks and into more value names. More volatility is likely as the company continues in high growth mode, but it could fit with the right allocation for many portfolios.
Legislation or no legislation
Each of these stocks has a place in a diversified portfolio. And each is currently in growth mode. Whether or not a new infrastructure bill gets enough support to become a reality, these companies are in a position to benefit from growth in renewable energy.
In addition, as the economy continues to bounce back and increase in strength, the steel sector, energy, and EV sales will grow. These three companies are great ways to play that right now.