What companies are tomorrow's big winners? In our ongoing series, I'm chatting with Fool analysts and advisors to find out the stocks they're watching and the catalysts that would signal it's time to buy. Today, Motley Fool Hidden Gems analyst Jeremy Myers shares four companies on his watchlist. (For your convenience, you can now create your own version at MyWatchlist.com, your free customized hub to follow the performance and Fool coverage of the companies you care about.)
New stores paying for themselves
There's something to be said for a company that can open a new store and recoup 100% of its investment in the first year. That's the case for Lumber Liquidators (NYSE: LL ) . The company opens new, no-frills warehouses in low-rent industrial parks and then sells hardwood flooring to consumers straight from the mill. The company, now on the Hidden Gems watchlist, has room to grow -- it currently has 200 U.S. stores and estimates it can comfortably double that, and it is making forays into Canada and Europe. Business should improve once people feel comfortable enough with the economy to build new homes and remodel the ones they have.
Jeremy recommended the company as part of the Fool's 11 O'Clock Stock series, and his only hesitation today is about the price of the stock. It currently trades between $23 and $24 per share. "That's a little high for my liking; $22 is my magic number."
Finding cash in the Citi's pockets
Citi Trends (Nasdaq: CTRN ) has a similar business model and similar problems, albeit in the area of clothing instead of flooring. The company, which bills itself as a purveyor of "trendy fashions at everyday low prices," also finds sites for its stores that allow it to pay relatively little in rent (primarily urban strip malls), which also allows it to pay back its initial investment in 12 to 14 months. A rival to TJX's (NYSE: TJX ) T.J. Maxx and Ross Stores (Nasdaq: ROST ) , Citi Trends is self-funding its growth, and the stores managed to perform respectably even during the downturn -- especially impressive considering its target demographic has been the hardest hit by unemployment.
As a result, the company lowered its guidance last week, but it wasn't as bad as analysts were expecting, so shares jumped roughly 14%. Having missed that catalyst, Jeremy is going to keep watching for a pullback.
Cornering the blood market
There's something a little disarming about a company with the ticker BLUD, but the Department of Justice and the Food and Drug Administration were concerned with more than the ghoulish nature of Immucor's (Nasdaq: BLUD ) ticker symbol. The company, which sells high-volume blood-testing equipment to hospitals and blood banks, had been investigated by the DoJ for possible violations of federal antitrust laws. Immucor sells its machines with a low markup, but the agency expressed concerns about the prices it charged for its reagents, the chemicals customers had to buy to make the machines work.
Immucor's shares rose nearly 6% after the company announced the investigation was closed earlier this month. Now it just has to deal with an FDA probe into its manufacturing, another catalyst that could send the stock further upward (assuming the company can clean up its act to FDA standards). Jeremy feels this growing company with a strong razors-and-blades business model is poised for success, especially with activist investing firm ValueAct Capital now on its board.
A leader in a deeply depressed industry
There's little mystery that these are not good times for the defense industry. With massive cuts looming, stock prices are depressed across the board. But Raytheon (NYSE: RTN ) is better positioned to survive and/or thrive through current conditions. It boasts a much more diversified portfolio than its rivals, relying on thousands of smaller projects instead of a couple of contracts for billion-dollar aircraft, and it's growing its international footprint, which now accounts for 20% of revenue.
For Jeremy, Raytheon's net payout yield made it too good to pass up. With $500 million in dividends and another $1.1 billion in share buybacks over the past 12 months, the company sports a total payout yield in the neighborhood of almost 10%. While he has yet to make a purchase for himself, he became comfortable enough after watching the company for months to instruct his mom to buy.
And that's exactly why it pays to watch. You can make smarter investing decisions with your own version of My Watchlist, new and free from the Fool. Click below to start following one of the stocks mentioned above: