8 Great Stocks to Buy From Female-Led Firms

These female-led companies make for great long-term investments.

Women have never held more leadership positions in the business world than they do today. In fact, Fortune reported in May that there are now 37 female CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, an all-time high. Investors looking to add some gender diversity to their portfolios have many stocks to consider. But while all of these female business leaders should be commended for their ascent up the corporate ladder, not all of their companies make for great investments. Here are eight stocks from female-led firms that, according to CFRA, investors should buy and hold for the long term.

Anthem (ticker: ANTM)

Anthem CEO Gail K. Boudreaux took the helm in November 2017, and Anthem shares are up roughly 30% under her leadership. Before her stint at Anthem, Boudreaux was the CEO of UnitedHealth Group (UNH) subsidiary UnitedHealthcare, which was the single largest health insurer at the time. Analyst Sel Hardy says Anthem’s pharmacy benefit manager IngenioRx contributed $5 billion to Anthem’s 16% sales growth in the second quarter. Hardy says Anthem shares are undervalued, given growth opportunities for IngenioRx and potential for market share gains within government health care plans. CFRA has a “buy” rating and $306 price target for ANTM stock.

United Parcel Service (UPS)

UPS CEO Carol Tomé is one of the newest female CEOs in the country. Tomé took over as CEO of UPS in June, but she had served 18 years as the chief financial officer for Home Depot (HD). Shareholders certainly approve of Tomé’s job thus far, given that UPS shares are up more than 60% in the less than three months since she started. Analyst Colin Scarola says UPS is on track for 20% earnings growth in 2020 thanks to a rise in deliveries during the pandemic. CFRA has a “buy” rating and $177 price target for UPS stock.

Best Buy Co. (BBY)

Best Buy CEO Corie Barry took over in June 2019. Despite her relative youth at age 45, Barry has spent two decades working her way up the Best Buy ladder from her original job as a financial analyst. Even in an extremely challenging environment, Best Buy shares are up about 70% under Barry’s leadership, and analyst Camilla Yanushevsky says more upside is ahead. She says Best Buy has a dominant consumer electronics retail market share and a healthy balance sheet. CFRA has a “buy” rating and $105 price target for BBY stock.

General Dynamics Corp. (GD)

General Dynamics CEO Phebe N. Novakovic joined the company in 2001, and she took over as president and chief operating officer in 2012 before making the leap to CEO in January 2013. During her tenure as CEO, General Dynamics shares are up about 118%. Scarola says General Dynamics has a valuable brand, and its business has an extremely high barrier to entry for potential competitors. Scarola says the air travel crisis will likely weigh on the company’s valuation in the near term, but he is predicting 7% revenue growth in 2021. CFRA has a “buy” rating and $203 price target for GD stock.

Progressive Corp. (PGR)

Progressive CEO Tricia Griffith became the company’s first female CEO in July 2016, and Progressive shares are up roughly 180% under her leadership. Griffith joined Progressive as a claims representative in 1988 before working her way up to president of customer operations, chief operating officer of Progressive’s personal lines branch and finally CEO. Analyst Catherine Seifert says Progressive’s data collection and analysis platforms create opportunity for the company to outgrow its peer group, including at least 9% revenue growth in both 2020 and 2021. CFRA has a “buy” rating and $100 price target for PGR stock.

Northrop Grumman Corp. (NOC)

Northrop Grumman CEO Kathy J. Warden joined the company in 2008 and became president and COO in 2017 before taking over as CEO in January 2019. Northrop’s stock is up about 40% under Warden’s leadership. Scarola says at least 95% of the company’s revenue comes from government contracts, which eliminates the cyclical economic risk associated with private-sector customers. In the years ahead, Scarola says rising tensions between the U.S. and China and Russia will generate bipartisan support in Washington for higher defense spending. CFRA has a “strong buy” rating and $450 price target for NOC stock.

Duke Energy Corp. (DUK)

Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good took over her role in July 2013, and Duke shares are up about 12% in the years since. Good had served as executive vice president and CFO since 2009. Analyst Paige Meyer says Duke shares trade at a discount to its peer average despite Duke’s relatively solid earnings growth. CFRA is projecting that revenue growth will increase from 2.2% in 2019 to 3.2% in 2020 and 3.6% in 2021. Duke is targeting net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. CFRA has a “buy” rating and $97 price target for DUK stock.

Ross Stores (ROST)

Ross Stores CEO Barbara Rentler has been with the company since 1986 and took over the CEO position in June 2014. Ross shares are up about 170% under Rentler’s leadership. In 2019, Rentler was the only woman on Forbes’ list of 100 of America’s Most Innovative Leaders. Yanushevsky says Ross has a strong balance sheet and a long track record of consistent earnings and revenue growth in an extremely challenging retail environment. Even during previous U.S. recessions, Ross has generated positive sales growth and double-digit earnings growth. CFRA has a “buy” rating and $105 price target for ROST stock.

Buy these stocks of companies with female CEOs:

— Anthem (ANTM)

— United Parcel Service (UPS)

— Best Buy Co. (BBY)

— General Dynamics Corp. (GD)

— Progressive Corp. (PGR)

— Northrop Grumman Corp. (NOC)

— Duke Energy Corp. (DUK)

— Ross Stores (ROST)

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8 Great Stocks to Buy From Female-Led Firms originally appeared on usnews.com

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