President Biden's massive $2 trillion American Jobs Plan is touted as an infrastructure spending program. While the price tag for hard assets like fixing roads, bridges, shipping ports, and airports is closer to about $157 billion as of the most recent iteration of the plan, it's something. But with senators still haggling over just how much spending they'll actually support, the final cost will undoubtedly end up different.
Even so, Biden himself said, it will be "unlike anything we have seen or done since we built the interstate highway system and the space race." It's clear the package means a lot of industries will reap huge financial rewards from the spending package regardless of the final size.
Picking out who the actual winners of the spending spree will be is always tricky, but the following five infrastructure stocks just might come out on top.
As the biggest heavy equipment manufacturer in the world by sales, with almost $42 billion in annual revenue last year, Caterpillar (CAT 8.40%) stands to benefit from the investments about to be made in this national undertaking. Its big yellow vehicles are a ubiquitous fixture at most construction and infrastructure sites as it makes asphalt pavers, backhoes, bulldozers, compactors, excavators, and just about any other piece of equipment needed.
Its stock has been pressured by rising commodity prices and China's slowing economic growth, but it's likely more countries than just the U.S. will look to spend their way out of any potential slowdown. With 56% of revenue coming from outside North America, Caterpillar stands to gain from infrastructure spending here and abroad.
Bridges need raw materials to get built, and Cleveland-Cliffs (CLF 6.97%) is perfectly positioned to capture the demand that will arise from the need for both iron ore and steel. It is the largest supplier of iron ore pellets in North America, and after acquiring both AK Steel and ArcelorMittal's U.S. operations last year, it is also the largest producer of flat-rolled steel.
The infrastructure industry represented 15% of Cleveland-Cliffs' $5.3 billion in revenue in 2020, but steel represented another 27%. Its stock was also depressed by events in China, but soaring commodities prices helped bolster third-quarter revenue, and with the government poised to dump billions into new infrastructure projects, commodities might enjoy a sustained boom.
Martin Marietta Materials
Public works infrastructure is the largest end-use market for Martin Marietta Materials (MLM 2.64%), which is also the second-largest supplier of crushed stone, sand, gravel, and cement in the U.S. It has extensive asphalt paving operations as well as chemical products, such as magnesia and dolomitic lime, that are used in various industrial, agricultural, and environmental applications.
Providing the raw materials necessary for many of the infrastructure products to be completed will provide a substantial boost to Martin Marietta's bottom line. It's already benefited from intensive spending on industrial warehouses and data centers, and it's looking for non-residential light constructive to provide a revenue and profit lift next year. A call for even more infrastructure products would only juice its results.
If you like Cleveland-Cliffs, then you have to like Nucor (NUE 6.21%), too, since it is the largest steelmaker in North America. It also happens to be the biggest scrap recycler. Arguably, that would make its contribution to any infrastructure project significantly more vital than other providers as so-called "green steel" accounts for 70% of all steel produced in the country, of which Nucor provides 24% of the total.
Investors, though, are already benefiting from its business expanding from existing demand in the marketplace. Nucor just reported record quarterly, which was then a record for the steelmaker. Demand for steel, coupled with higher commodity pricing, allowed it to produce $10.3 billion in sales for the third quarter. Add in a national infrastructure program, and Nucor is set to reap a windfall.
Biden's American Jobs Plan might not be as ambitious as President Eisenhower's National Interstate and Defense Highways Act, where 41,000 miles of interstate highways were built. But even more so than Martin Marietta, Vulcan Materials (VMC 1.98%) will gain from the investments to be made in the nation's roadways.
It is the largest producer of aggregates in the U.S. with a national footprint that serves 19 of the 25 highest-growth metropolitan statistical areas in 20 states, plus Washington, D.C.
Indeed, Vulcan has been preparing for the moment the money starts raining down, with CEO J. Thomas Hill telling analysts earlier this year: "In any definition of infrastructure, if it's new construction, aggregates is going to be in the foundation." And with state spending also on the rise, the company will doubly benefit from these additional investments.