David Raso will never forget the first time he appeared on the All-America Research Team. Raso, then with Salomon Smith Barney, debuted at No. 1 in Machinery and was invited to join that years other top-ranked analysts for a photo shoot at the base of the World Trade Center at 11:00 a.m. on September 11, 2001. Had the appointment been arranged for two hours earlier, Rasos story may have ended there.
That was a tumultuous time even before the terrorist attacks that morning. The dot-com collapse had soured many investors on technology stocks, prompting some to turn their attention to the machinery sector. When we covered stocks back in the 90s, during the tech bubble, not many people cared about metal benders, recalls Raso, currently with ISI Group and celebrating his 11th straight year as the sectors top analyst. Now these businesses are relevant and even growth drivers.
Raso, 41, will go to any length to uncover value, one client told Institutional Investor in 2004. The previous year, Raso had traveled to Germany to see how well Terex Corp. was integrating its recent purchase, Demag Mobile Cranes. The global construction equipment market was weak at that time, and clients wondered if Terex would survive.
When I got to the facility, I saw a significant number of used cranes that I learned had come with the acquisition, he says. Raso found out that Terex was already in the process of selling the equipment. I flew home that night on the red-eye, upgraded the stock at what proved to be the bottom of the cycle and the stock went up fivefold the next few years, he says.
Go Back to the Hall of Fame