The S&P 500 may be nearing a new record high, but trust me when I say there's some nervousness growing in the market. I really don't blame you if you want to take some profits.
In fact, I insist.
When I look for sectors that I feel are less sensitive to what the global economy does, I always come back to the food sector as a buying opportunity.
Simply put, people have to eat. They really don't care about how the economies are faring, whether there is jobs growth, or if the world central banks are pumping trillions into the global economic system. People have to eat, and that's where I see a buying opportunity.
With this thought in mind, I continue to like the agriculture sector as a longer-term buying opportunity; farm fields will need to be plowed to produce the massive crop yields that will be needed to feed a growing world population.
A company that I feel could lend itself to some good above-average longer-term gains and is a possible buying opportunity is West Fargo, North Dakota-based Titan Machinery Inc. (NASDAQ/TITN). With a market-cap of $433 million and well down from its 52-week high of $32.00, there's good potential here. North Dakota, of course, is known for its burgeoning shale oil production, which could offer another buying opportunity. (Read "Why This Cold Prairie State Is an Investment Hotspot.")
Titan not only distributes and sells new and used agricultural equipment to markets and farmers in America and Europe, but the company also sells construction equipment, which given the major infrastructure buildup worldwide, could really drive the company's revenues.
The company has been steady in expanding its revenues in each fiscal year from $97.46 million in fiscal 2004 to an impressive $2.2 billion in fiscal 2013, for a strong compound annual growth rate of 41.38% during these years. The revenue growth rate is expected to fall to eight percent in fiscal 2014 and 3.2% in fiscal 2015, according to Thomson Financial. The slower rate of growth, while a slight concern, is expected as the company's revenue base gets bigger.
The valuation versus that of the much bigger Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE/CAT) is more attractive, based on estimates from Thomson Financial. Titan trades at 9.59-times (x) its forward earnings and a low 0.2x sales versus 10.58x forward earnings and a more expensive 0.87x sales for Caterpillar.
At the current price, there's a potential buying opportunity as Titan is languishing at the bottom of its current sideways channel as shown on the chart below. If Titan can hold, we could see a rally back to the resistance level around $32.00, and a buying opportunity could surface.
Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com
Click to enlarge
For Titan to move higher the company will ultimately need to deliver; given my positive view on agriculture and infrastructure, there may be good potential for a buying opportunity here.