2 Stocks We’re Watching Now

Shaun H. Ruff

It seems everyone is talking about high-flying tech stocks, IPOs, and special-purpose acquisition companies these days, but you may be able to find some interesting investment opportunities in less volatile areas of the stock market. 

In this Dec. 14 Fool Live clip from our Industry Focus: Financials show, Fool.com contributor Matt Frankel, CFP, and host Jason Moser discuss two stocks on their radar. Here’s why Matt thinks real estate investment trust Public Storage (NYSE:PSA) could have an interesting few months ahead of it, and why Jason has consulting firm Korn Ferry (NYSE:KFY) on his radar. 

Jason Moser: Matt, let’s wrap this up with one to watch. We’d like to give our listeners a couple of stocks to keep on their radar for the coming week. What is your one to watch this coming week?

Matthew Frankel: I’m watching another real estate company called Public Storage. Pretty much everyone is familiar with Public Storage, the big orange storage buildings that are all over the country.

Moser: Sure.

Frankel: I’m sure there’s one within a mile or two where Jason is siting right now.

Moser: Most likely. [laughs]

Frankel: They’re everywhere. I would think over 3,000 of them in the country. They’re a real estate investment trust. They recently had a big activist come in and nominate directors for the board. This is a company that’s been very complacent for a while, in my opinion. I’m a shareholder myself. For example, if you go to Public Storage’s investor relations Web page, they don’t do things like making investor presentations. They don’t do an investor day each year. They’re really not an investor-focused company at the moment. The fact that an activist is really coming into play doesn’t really surprise me, and it’s a welcomed change. I’ve said that their investor-relations department needs an overhaul for some time. Not necessarily the growth strategy. They are by far the dominant self-storage player in the country. I think they’re bigger than their next three rivals combined. But I do think there are some opportunities to unlock shareholder value that I would like to see them explore. I’m a big fan of Public Storage’s business, and even more so now. That’s what I’m watching right now.

Moser: What’s the ticker again for Public Storage?

Frankel: PSA.

Moser: I am going to be digging a little bit deeper into a company called Korn Ferry, and this is one I don’t think we’ve really ever talked about on this show, and it’s one I dug into for a recent episode of Market Foolery with Chris Hill a couple of weeks back. Korn Ferry, and I’m sure a lot of folks out there actually recognize the name as the developmental golf tour, the step below the PGA Tour. It’s actually a consultor. It’s in consulting, and it’s just a little $2 billion company, but consulting is a really great gig, and you can build a heck of a business around it over time if you’ve got a good network. Like I said, this is a small company, but it’s one that’s growing slowly but surely.

The interesting thing about their consulting business is about 20% of their business is devoted toward the financial-services industry. We figured out all those consulting companies do have a fair amount of exposure to financial services, and Korn Ferry is no exception there. A strong collection of offerings and consulting and digital. They have executive search in RPO, or recruitment process outsourcing, and professional search. The interesting thing I found about the business, though, was that approximately 71% of their revenue comes from clients that utilize multiple lines of the business. So it seems like they’re doing something the people like, and the people are coming back for more of, and given its size, it strikes me as a business that could potentially have some more opportunity on the horizon. I’m going to continue to dig in there and see what that opportunity may be.

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