5 Hawaiian Stocks Investors Should Consider Saying Aloha To

Includes: ALEX, BRN, CPF, HE, MLP
by: Matt Schilling

Let's be honest, when we think of the 50th US state we think hula dancers, pineapples, and surfers. That being said, we hardly ever think of financial securities, that could enhance our portfolio. However, investors should consider the five companies in this article as some of them have the potential to be great long term growth investments, and others have the potential to be great plays to short.

Maui Land & Pineapple Company (NYSE:MLP) - Founded in 1909 and based in Maui, MLP currently develops, manages, and sells residential, commercial, and industrial real estate properties. Currently trading in a 52-week range of $3.68-$5.49, MLP recently noted the fact that it may be unable to continue its day to day operations. "Our first quarter results reflect our continuing efforts to streamline our operations and reduce our ongoing cash burn. Our team remains focused on building shareholder value by resolving our legacy issues and developing and managing our Maui lands," said Tim Esaki, Chief Financial Officer. The play here is one for the bears: sell the stock and if possible short it.

Alexander & Baldwin, Inc. (NYSE:ALEX) - Founded in 1870 and based in Honolulu, ALEX currently trades at a P/E ratio of 63.72 and yields 2.4% ($1.26). Alexander & Baldwin engages in the transportation, real estate, and agricultural businesses both in the US and abroad. ALEX recently announced a spin-off of Matson, one of its subsidiaries on the trucking and transportation side. According to CEO Stan Kuriyama, after the company recently reported earnings, "the company has secured 192 binding sales contracts at its 340-unit Waihonua condominium project in Kakaako since December, which puts the start of construction in the third quarter."

ALEX could be a great long term growth play not only because of the company's dividend but if the Hawaiian real estate market turns around, the current properties could increase in value and enhance ALEX's bottom line. If you happen to be an investor who likes the potential of owning stocks that are set to spin-off assets then this is a great play, just try and be cautious in the size of your position.

Barnwell Industries Inc. (NYSEMKT:BRN) - Founded in 1956 and based in Honolulu, BRN engages in the exploration, land based acquisition, and contract drilling operations of oil & natural gas. The company also operates within the high-end residential real estate segment of the Hawaiian housing market. It currently has an 8.9% interest in the Dunvegan property where it has 215 natural gas producing wells. In their most recent quarter, BRN reported an EPS loss of -0.36/share, and noted that a continued downward swing in the US housing market affected a large portion of their real estate holdings. That being said, for the riskier investor this might be a great play. The company currently trades at around $3.10/share and carries a market cap of only $25.99 million, making it a pretty affordable high-risk play.

Even though the company engages in oil & natural gas, a majority of their earnings are dependent on their real estate assets, and if the US housing market sees a solid turnaround in the next few months, this stock could potentially see a 20%-25% pop at these levels. If we don't see a turnaround, then a restructuring for BRN may become a primary concern.

Central Pacific Financial Corp. (NYSE:CPF) - Founded in 1954, and headquartered in Honolulu, CPF operates as the holding the company for Central Pacific Bank, and engages in commercial banking for business, individuals and professionals throughout the islands of Hawaii. CPF's March 2012 quarter was a pretty good one, considering they beat analysts estimates by $0.06/share marking the third upside surprise out of the last four quarters, with an average beat of 44.16% during those periods.

I think the stock has great growth potential; however I'd love to see it reinstate its dividend especially since its trading a P/E ratio of 12.68. Investor should consider acquiring a small to mid-sized position and holding it over the next 12-18 months, especially since CPF has reported a pretty good string of earnings.

Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc. (NYSE:HE) - Founded in 1891 and based in Honolulu, Hawaiian Electric operates as both an electric utility and business banking enterprise servicing the islands of Hawaii. The stock currently trades at a P/E ratio of 17.27 and yields 4.6% ($1.54), which makes the investment very attractive to both growth and income investors. HE recently reported first quarter earnings that beat on both the top and bottom lines. EPS came in at $0.40/share when the street was predicting $0.36/share and revenue came in at $814.9 million when the street was expecting $763.6 million.

Investors should consider a position in Hawaiian Electric Industries not only because of its financial diversification, but because it's one of the better dividend-paying stocks within the group. Positions should be acquired at a modest pace, and added to at one's own leisure. Earnings should continue to enhance the company's bottom line and an increase in their dividend could be right around the corner.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

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