This Top Stock Is a Winner

Valuation is an imperfect science, but it's as important a concept to fantasy football players as it is to investors. Consider the enterprising owners who figured the Eagles' LeSean McCoy would steal carries from teammate Brian Westbrook. McCoy carried 20 times for 99 yards and a touchdown in a 24-20 win over the Bears last week.

Value is value, whether you're assembling a fantasy team or a stock portfolio. But don't take my word for it. "Before you make any decision -- who to draft, trade, start, and sit -- make sure you are following that basic principle; how risky is this move, does it give me the best chance to win?" writes ESPN fantasy analyst Matthew Berry in his annual manifesto.

See the parallels here? Winning fantasy players pick up unloved players for less than market value, and market-beating investors buy oversold stocks for $0.50 on the dollar.

Waiver-wire heroes, unloved stocks ready to rise
These are the bargain hunters who knew to differentiate Ford (NYSE: F  ) from GM and Toyota (NYSE: TM  ) in last year's automotive market meltdown. They've enjoyed a multibagger since.

More bargains are out there. For this weekly column, let's use the Motley Fool CAPS screener to find the stock market's version of underrated heroes like McCoy. Here's what we're looking for:

  • A minimum $250 million market cap, because we don't draft unsigned free agents.
  • A price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of less than 12, because we're not interested in players that everyone else loves.
  • A 10% or better return on equity (ROE), because we want proof that this stock can play at the level we need it to.
  • A 5% or worse haircut in price over the past year, because we're bargain hunters. (This is a change to account for the market's massive run-up in the wake of the Wall Street Panic of 2008.)

Today's screen returned 28 candidates that could be worthy of filling roster spots in your portfolio. These three possess a track record of superior returns on shareholder equity:

Company

52-Week Price Change

P/E Ratio

ROE

Frontline (NYSE: FRO  )

(8.6%)

8.1

34.8%

Knight Capital Group (Nasdaq: NITE  )

(10.0%)

8.9

13.0%

Symmetry Medical (NYSE: SMA  )

(7.8%)

9.1

11.6%

Source: Motley Fool CAPS screen data.

Of these, I'd pick up Frontline, which operates a fleet of oil tankers. If that sounds like a lousy business, it has been over the past year. But that may be changing. Spot prices for Brent crude oil have rallied more than 65% since January. A multi-year uptrend could be underway.

"This is a speculative play on future volumes and prices of oil. I think it will be very volatile in the next several months but should be a great longer-term play," wrote CAPS All-Star Ak66 last month.

I'll add that, while a broader energy industry recovery would benefit many, Frontline's above-average operating margins could put it in a better position than its peers, including General Maritime (NYSE: GMR  ) and Teekay Corp. (NYSE: TK  ) . The company also boasts a healthy 3.70% dividend yield, an attractive kicker for those willing to wait for a black-gold rally.

But that's also just my take. What do you think? Would you give Frontline a spot on your portfolio roster? Let us know by signing up for CAPS today. It's 100% free to participate.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the market-beating Motley Fool Rule Breakers team. He wrote this while listening to the Giants lose to the Broncos on Thanksgiving. Tripped up by the tryptophan, fellas?

Tim didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article at the time of publication. Check out his portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. The Motley Fool is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool.

The Fool's disclosure policy is no fantasy. It's 100% natural, fresh-baked disclosure-y goodness.


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