Rock solid returns: The best basic material stocks for 2024

The backbone of a thriving economy rests on the essential building blocks provided by basic materials companies. These are the firms that supply the raw ingredients for everything from construction projects to everyday consumer goods. In a market seeking stability and long-term growth, basic materials stocks offer a compelling option for investors in 2024.

Leading the charge are established players like Steel Dynamics, a major steel producer, and Linde plc, a global leader in industrial gases. These companies boast long histories of reliability and a deep understanding of their respective sectors. Alpha Metallurgical Resources, a specialist in metallurgical coal, and Mueller Industries, a diversified industrial manufacturer, showcase the dynamic nature of the basic materials industry.

This comprehensive guide empowers you to navigate the world of basic materials stocks in 2024. We'll delve into the fundamentals of each company, analyzing their growth potential, commitment to sustainable practices, and contributions to infrastructure development.

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Before we dive into each company, let`s take a look at how your investment would have performed if you had invested in top 10 stocks mentioned in this article 5 years ago.

Now, let`s take a closer look at each of the companies:

  • Alpha Metallurgical Resources (AMR)

    Alpha Metallurgical Resources (AMR) isn't a company you'd hear about at the dinner table, but it shapes the very foundation of our world's infrastructure. This Tennessee-based mining giant delves deep, extracting the black gold that fuels industry – coal. While the world transitions to cleaner energy sources, Alpha Metallurgical Resources remains a leader in supplying metallurgical coal, essential for steel production, and thermal coal, used in power generation. Their extensive underground and surface mining complexes across Appalachia keep the industrial engines of the world humming. But is Alpha Metallurgical Resources the right fit for your portfolio? Let's explore the potential rewards of this mining venture, while acknowledging the challenges that lie ahead.

    Alpha Metallurgical Resources financial statements

    Analysts recommendation: 2.33

    Financial Health

    • Return on assets (ROA): 30.6%
    • Return on equity (ROE): 48.07%
    • Return on investment (ROI): 45.57%

    Profitability

    • Gross margin: 27.2%
    • Operating margin: 24.86%
    • Net profit margin: 20.8%

    Growth

    • EPS (past 5 years): 14.06%
    • EPS (current): 48.71
    • EPS estimate (next quarter): 10.31
    • EPS growth (this year): -28.29%
    • EPS growth (next year): -11.93%
    • EPS growth (next 5 years): N/A
    • EPS growth (quarter-over-quarter): -3.64%
    • Sales growth (past 5 years): 19%
    • Sales growth (quarter-over-quarter): 16.58%

    💡 Why invest in Alpha Metallurgical Resources?

    Several key factors make Alpha Metallurgical Resources an intriguing prospect for investors seeking exposure to the traditional energy sector:

    • Leader in Metallurgical Coal: Alpha Metallurgical Resources stands as a prominent supplier of metallurgical coal in the United States, a critical ingredient in steel production. This leadership position translates into a significant market share and brand recognition within the steel industry.
    • Diversified Coal Portfolio: Beyond metallurgical coal, Alpha Metallurgical Resources also supplies thermal coal for power generation. This diversification mitigates risk by catering to a broader energy market.
    • High-Quality Reserves: The company boasts significant reserves of high-quality coal, ensuring a steady stream of resources for continued production.
    • Experienced Management: Alpha Metallurgical Resources is led by a team of seasoned professionals with extensive experience in the coal mining industry.

    🐌 Key considerations before investing in Alpha Metallurgical Resources

    While Alpha Metallurgical Resources maintains its position in the traditional energy sector with its leadership in metallurgical coal, diversified portfolio, and high-quality reserves, there are significant challenges to consider before joining this mining expedition:

    • Shifting Energy Landscape: The global transition towards renewable energy sources poses a long-term threat to the coal industry. As regulations and consumer preferences shift, demand for coal could decline, impacting Alpha Metallurgical Resources' profitability.
    • Environmental Concerns: Coal mining and burning raise significant environmental concerns, including air and water pollution. Increased scrutiny and potential regulations to address these issues could impact the company's operations and profitability.
    • Volatile Coal Prices: The price of coal fluctuates based on global demand and supply. This volatility can significantly impact Alpha Metallurgical Resources' revenue streams.
    • Safety Risks: Coal mining is an inherently risky endeavor, with potential for accidents and injuries. These risks can lead to production disruptions and increased costs.

    Final thoughts on Alpha Metallurgical Resources

    Alpha Metallurgical Resources' leadership in metallurgical coal, diversified coal portfolio, high-quality reserves, and experienced management paint a potentially promising picture for existing investors in the traditional energy sector. However, the looming shift towards renewable energy sources, environmental concerns, volatile coal prices, and safety risks necessitate a cautious approach for new investors. Thorough research, analysis of global energy trends, regulations, and Alpha Metallurgical Resources' strategies for navigating this changing landscape, and a clear understanding of your risk tolerance are crucial before joining this mining investment expedition. Remember, navigating the intricate terrain of coal stocks requires both a discerning eye for long-term energy trends and a balanced perspective on the challenges posed by a transitioning global energy sector. Choose wisely, and your portfolio might find itself positioned accordingly alongside the future of Alpha Metallurgical Resources.

  • Steel Dynamics (STLD)

    Steel Dynamics (STLD) isn't a company you'd find plastered across billboards, but behind the scenes of construction and manufacturing, it plays a central role. This American giant isn't just another steel producer; it's a sustainability-focused innovator crafting the building blocks of our world – steel. Steel Dynamics stands out for its commitment to using electric arc furnace (EAF) technology and recycled scrap metal as its primary input. This approach minimizes environmental impact compared to traditional steel production methods. From flat-rolled steel for construction to various steel products for automotive and appliance applications, Steel Dynamics keeps the wheels of modern industry turning, all while aiming to lessen its environmental footprint. But can Steel Dynamics translate its innovative approach and leadership in sustainable steel production into rewarding returns for your investment portfolio? Let's delve into the factors propelling Steel Dynamics' growth trajectory, while acknowledging the potential market fluctuations to consider before joining this steel industry expedition.

    Steel Dynamics financial statements

    Analysts recommendation: 3.15

    Financial Health

    • Return on assets (ROA): 16.78%
    • Return on equity (ROE): 28.84%
    • Return on investment (ROI): 21.16%

    Profitability

    • Gross margin: 20.21%
    • Operating margin: 16.73%
    • Net profit margin: 13.04%

    Growth

    • EPS (past 5 years): 22.3%
    • EPS (current): 14.59
    • EPS estimate (next quarter): 3.51
    • EPS growth (this year): -23.38%
    • EPS growth (next year): -15.19%
    • EPS growth (next 5 years): 28.06%
    • EPS growth (quarter-over-quarter): -27.56%
    • Sales growth (past 5 years): 15.47%
    • Sales growth (quarter-over-quarter): -12.28%

    💡 Why invest in Steel Dynamics?

    Several key factors make Steel Dynamics an attractive prospect for investors seeking exposure to the ever-evolving steel industry with a focus on sustainability:

    • Leader in Sustainable Steel Production: Steel Dynamics stands as a recognized leader in the development and production of sustainable steel using electric arc furnace technology and recycled scrap. This leadership position translates into a significant market share and brand recognition within the environmentally conscious steel sector.
    • Focus on Innovation: Steel Dynamics prioritizes research and development, constantly innovating to create lighter, stronger, and more environmentally friendly steel products. This focus on innovation positions Steel Dynamics for future growth in a sector increasingly demanding sustainable solutions.
    • Diversified Product Portfolio: Steel Dynamics doesn't limit itself to a single type of steel. It offers a comprehensive suite of flat-rolled steel products, long products, and fabricated steel solutions, catering to various construction and manufacturing needs.
    • Strong Customer Relationships: Steel Dynamics fosters long-term relationships with major manufacturers and construction companies, ensuring a steady stream of demand for its sustainable steel products.

    🐌 Key considerations before investing in Steel Dynamics

    While Steel Dynamics navigates the dynamic steel industry landscape with its leadership in sustainable steel production, focus on innovation, and strong customer relationships, there are challenges to consider before investing in this venture:

    • Vulnerability to Economic Downturns: Economic slowdowns can lead to decreased demand for construction and manufactured goods, impacting Steel Dynamics' sales and profitability. Monitoring economic indicators is crucial for understanding potential market fluctuations.
    • Fluctuations in Raw Material Costs: Steel Dynamics' production processes rely heavily on various recycled metals and some virgin materials. Fluctuations in the prices of these raw materials can impact the company's profit margins. Analyzing Steel Dynamics' strategies for managing these costs is key.
    • Competition Heats Up: The steel manufacturing sector is a competitive landscape, with established players and emerging companies vying for market share. Staying informed about industry trends and Steel Dynamics' strategies for maintaining its competitive edge is vital.

    Final thoughts on Steel Dynamics

    Steel Dynamics' leadership in sustainable steel production, focus on innovation, diversified product portfolio, and strong customer relationships paint a potentially promising picture for long-term investors seeking exposure to the steel industry with a focus on environmental responsibility. However, the vulnerability to economic downturns, fluctuations in raw material costs, and rising competition necessitate a cautious approach. Thorough research, analysis of Steel Dynamics' future plans and the global steel industry landscape, and a clear understanding of your risk tolerance are crucial before joining this steel industry expedition. Remember, navigating the intricate terrain of steel stocks requires both an awareness of economic trends and a discerning eye for innovation in the steel manufacturing sector. Choose wisely, and your portfolio might find itself standing strong alongside the success story of Steel Dynamics.

  • Mueller Industries (MLI)

    In the intricate network of pipes, valves, and fittings that keep civilization flowing, Mueller Industries reigns supreme. This industrial manufacturer isn't just crafting copper and brass components; it's orchestrating a complex symphony of metalworking expertise, serving diverse industries and powering critical infrastructure. But can this industrial maestro translate its pipe dreams into rewarding returns for your portfolio? Let's explore the hidden currents propelling Mueller's rise, alongside the potential leaks to consider before joining this industrial expedition.

    Mueller Industries financial statements

    Analysts recommendation: 1

    Financial Health

    • Return on assets (ROA): 24.11%
    • Return on equity (ROE): 29.21%
    • Return on investment (ROI): 25.5%

    Profitability

    • Gross margin: 27.72%
    • Operating margin: 21.63%
    • Net profit margin: 17.63%

    Growth

    • EPS (past 5 years): 42.21%
    • EPS (current): 5.31
    • EPS estimate (next quarter): 1.05
    • EPS growth (this year): -32.08%
    • EPS growth (next year): 2.78%
    • EPS growth (next 5 years): 12%
    • EPS growth (quarter-over-quarter): -15.11%
    • Sales growth (past 5 years): 8.86%
    • Sales growth (quarter-over-quarter): -16.55%

    💡 Why invest in Mueller Industries?

    Mueller's robust profile makes it a tempting pick for investors seeking exposure to the ever-evolving industrial and manufacturing sectors. Here's what fuels its intricate industrial symphony:

    • Industrial Titan: Mueller boasts a legacy dating back over a century, with leading positions in copper and brass manufacturing across various segments. This leadership in metalworking translates to consistent contracts and predictable revenue streams, providing a strong foundation for future growth.
    • Beyond the Pipe: Recognizing the diverse needs of modern industries, Mueller expands its offerings, developing expertise in aluminum, steel, and plastic components, as well as valves and instrumentation. This strategic diversification mitigates risk and unlocks diverse avenues for growth beyond traditional copper and brass products.
    • Global Flow: With operations spanning North America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, Mueller caters to diverse industrial needs worldwide. This global reach provides access to emerging markets with burgeoning infrastructure needs, further bolstering its future prospects.
    • Quality Symphony: Mueller thrives on its commitment to high-quality products and strong customer relationships. This focus on quality and service fosters brand loyalty and drives repeat business.

    🐌 Key considerations before investing in Mueller Industries

    While Mueller navigates the industrial labyrinth with its diverse offerings and quality focus, there are some potential challenges to consider before joining this high-stakes journey:

    • Valuation Concerns: Like many established industrial companies, MLI's stock can be volatile, and the current price might reflect expectations of future raw material prices, economic conditions, and overall market sentiment. A cautious approach with a patient, long-term perspective is wise.
    • Competition Heats Up: Smaller regional manufacturers and global conglomerates are vying for market share, challenging Mueller's dominant position. Stay informed about industry trends and how Mueller plans to maintain its competitive edge.
    • Economic Jitters: Global economic downturns can impact industrial spending and infrastructure projects, potentially hitting Mueller's sales and profitability. Close monitoring of economic trends and their impact on the industrial sector is crucial.
    • Commodity Rollercoaster: Fluctuations in copper, brass, and other metal prices can impact Mueller's profitability and project costs. Monitoring commodity prices and Mueller's hedging strategies is important.

    Final thoughts on Mueller Industries

    Mueller's diverse product portfolio, global reach, commitment to quality, and established brand reputation paint a potentially promising picture for long-term investors seeking exposure to the dynamic industrial and manufacturing sectors. However, the volatile nature of the stock, rising competition, economic sensitivity, and dependence on commodity prices warrant a measured approach. Thorough research, analysis of Mueller's future plans and the industrial landscape, and a clear understanding of your risk tolerance are crucial before joining this industrial expedition. Remember, navigating the intricate terrain of industrial stocks requires both a discerning eye for innovative solutions and a balanced perspective on potential challenges. Choose wisely, and your portfolio might just find itself flowing smoothly alongside the success story of Mueller Industries.

  • Reliance Industries (RS)

    Reliance Industries (RS) isn't just a company; it's a multifaceted industrial giant interwoven into the fabric of Indian commerce. Headquartered in Mumbai, Reliance goes beyond a single sector, wielding its influence across energy, petrochemicals, retail, entertainment, telecommunications, and textiles landscapes. This diversification strategy positions Reliance as a powerhouse, catering to diverse consumer needs and fostering stability within a vast economic ecosystem. At its core, Reliance leverages its expertise in refining and petrochemicals, transforming oil into a foundation for various industries. But Reliance's ambition doesn't stop there. It boasts a well-established retail arm, "Reliance Retail," bringing a range of products to Indian consumers across the country. Through its Jio subsidiary, Reliance has revolutionized the Indian telecommunications sector, offering affordable mobile data and connectivity solutions. However, navigating the complex landscape of Reliance requires a keen eye. While its diversification offers stability, each sector Reliance operates in presents its own set of challenges. From fluctuations in oil prices to the ever-changing dynamics of retail and telecommunications, careful consideration is necessary before investing in this industrial behemoth.

    Reliance Industries financial statements

    Analysts recommendation: 2.25

    Financial Health

    • Return on assets (ROA): 12.76%
    • Return on equity (ROE): 18.04%
    • Return on investment (ROI): 14.77%

    Profitability

    • Gross margin: 29.06%
    • Operating margin: 11.75%
    • Net profit margin: 9.02%

    Growth

    • EPS (past 5 years): 20.94%
    • EPS (current): 22.61
    • EPS estimate (next quarter): 5.53
    • EPS growth (this year): -10.42%
    • EPS growth (next year): -0.8%
    • EPS growth (next 5 years): 3.6%
    • EPS growth (quarter-over-quarter): -20.07%
    • Sales growth (past 5 years): 8.63%
    • Sales growth (quarter-over-quarter): -7.57%

    💡 Why invest in Reliance Industries?

    Several key factors make Reliance Industries an attractive prospect for investors seeking exposure to the ever-evolving Indian economy:

    • Diversified Powerhouse: Reliance's presence across various sectors mitigates risk by not relying solely on the performance of any single industry. This diversification strategy fosters stability and allows Reliance to capitalize on growth opportunities across the Indian marketplace.
    • Energy & Petrochemical Expertise: At its foundation, Reliance leverages its expertise in refining and petrochemicals, a crucial segment for industrial development. This strong core business lays the groundwork for Reliance's expansion into other sectors.
    • Retail Revolution: Reliance Retail has transformed the Indian retail landscape, offering a wide range of products and accessibility to consumers across the country. This strong retail presence positions Reliance to benefit from rising domestic consumption.
    • Telecom Disruption: Jio, a Reliance subsidiary, has revolutionized the Indian telecommunications sector by offering affordable mobile data and connectivity. This disruption positions Reliance to be a major player in the ever-growing digital connectivity landscape of India.
    • Focus on Innovation: Reliance prioritizes research and development, investing in advancements across its various sectors. This commitment to innovation positions the company for future growth and potential industry leadership.

    🐌 Key considerations before investing in Reliance Industries

    While Reliance Industries presents a compelling picture with its diversification, strong core business, and focus on innovation, there are challenges to consider before joining this investment venture:

    • Vulnerability to Oil Price Fluctuations: Reliance's core business is tied to the oil and gas sector, making it susceptible to fluctuations in global oil prices. Monitoring global energy market trends is crucial for understanding potential impacts.
    • Competitive Landscape: Each sector Reliance operates in is fiercely competitive. Staying informed about industry trends and Reliance's strategies for maintaining its competitive edge across these diverse markets is vital.
    • Regulatory Environment: The Indian government maintains a complex regulatory environment for various industries, including energy, retail, and telecommunications. Analyzing potential regulatory changes and their impact on Reliance's operations is important.
    • Geopolitical Uncertainty: Geopolitical tensions can disrupt global supply chains and impact the overall health of the Indian economy. Monitoring global events and potential risks is crucial for understanding the broader investment landscape.

    Final thoughts on Reliance Industries

    Reliance Industries' diversification, strong core business, retail presence, telecommunication disruption, and focus on innovation paint a potentially promising picture for long-term investors seeking exposure to the Indian growth story. However, the vulnerability to oil price fluctuations, competitive landscapes across various sectors, the Indian regulatory environment, and geopolitical uncertainty necessitate a cautious approach. Thorough research, analysis of Reliance's future plans in each sector it operates in, and a clear understanding of your risk tolerance are crucial before joining this multifaceted investment expedition. Remember, navigating the intricate terrain of Reliance stock requires both an awareness of global trends and a discerning eye for the company's strategic execution across its vast industrial landscape. Choose wisely, and your portfolio might find itself well-positioned alongside the success story of Reliance Industries.

  • Linde plc (LIN)

    In the intricate web of global industry, where unseen gases play a vital role in countless processes, Linde plc stands tall. This multinational chemical giant isn't just delivering oxygen or nitrogen; it's orchestrating a complex symphony of atmospheric, process, and specialty gases, serving a diverse range of end markets across the globe. But can this invisible giant translate its vast product portfolio and global footprint into rewarding returns for your portfolio? Let's explore the hidden forces propelling Linde's rise, alongside the potential turbulence to consider before joining this industrial expedition.

    Linde plc financial statements

    Analysts recommendation: 1.8

    Financial Health

    • Return on assets (ROA): 7.73%
    • Return on equity (ROE): 15.55%
    • Return on investment (ROI): 11.52%

    Profitability

    • Gross margin: 35.14%
    • Operating margin: 24.67%
    • Net profit margin: 18.87%

    Growth

    • EPS (past 5 years): -0.81%
    • EPS (current): 12.6
    • EPS estimate (next quarter): 3.67
    • EPS growth (this year): 8.48%
    • EPS growth (next year): 10.13%
    • EPS growth (next 5 years): 9.65%
    • EPS growth (quarter-over-quarter): 18.49%
    • Sales growth (past 5 years): 21.33%
    • Sales growth (quarter-over-quarter): 5.1%

    💡 Why invest in Linde plc?

    Linde's robust profile makes it a tempting pick for investors seeking exposure to the ever-evolving industrial sector. Here are some key factors fueling its appeal:

    • Global Gas Titan: Linde boasts the title of the world's largest industrial gas company by market share and revenue. This leadership in industrial gases translates to predictable revenue streams and a strong foundation for future growth.
    • Beyond the Molecule: Recognizing the diverse needs of its customers, Linde expands its offerings beyond traditional atmospheric gases, venturing into areas like specialty gases essential for electronics manufacturing, healthcare, and advanced materials. This strategic diversification mitigates risk and unlocks diverse avenues for growth beyond its core business.
    • Engineering Expertise: Linde leverages its extensive engineering capabilities to develop state-of-the-art gas processing solutions, helping customers improve efficiency and reduce emissions. This focus on innovation positions the company for a leadership role in the evolving industrial landscape.
    • Sustainability Champion: Linde prioritizes sustainability, developing technologies for carbon capture and utilization, as well as cleaner hydrogen production. This commitment to environmental solutions resonates with environmentally conscious investors.

    🐌 Key considerations before investing in Linde plc

    While Linde navigates the industrial labyrinth with its diverse offerings and global reach, there are some potential headwinds to consider before joining this high-stakes journey:

    • Valuation Concerns: Like many industrial companies, LIN's stock can be volatile, reflecting expectations of future economic conditions, manufacturing activity, and overall market sentiment. A cautious approach with a patient, long-term perspective is wise.
    • Geopolitical Jitters: Global trade tensions and disruptions can impact Linde's ability to source raw materials and operate in certain regions. Monitoring geopolitical developments and Linde's risk mitigation strategies is crucial.
    • Regulation Roundup: Evolving regulations surrounding environmental impact and safety standards can impact Linde's operations and necessitate costly compliance measures. Staying informed about regulatory developments and Linde's adaptation strategies is important.
    • Competition Heats Up: Established players and emerging players are vying for market share, challenging Linde's dominant position. Stay informed about industry trends and how Linde plans to maintain its competitive edge.

    Final thoughts on Linde plc

    Linde plc's leadership in industrial gases, diverse product offerings, engineering expertise, and commitment to sustainability paint a potentially promising picture for long-term investors seeking exposure to the dynamic industrial sector. However, the volatile nature of the stock, geopolitical risks, evolving regulations, and rising competition warrant a measured approach...