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We love investors with a short-term focus. Their panic in the face of temporary -- or even better, insignificant -- news provides us with very compelling buying opportunities of truly outstanding companies. Today, Motley Fool Pro and Motley Fool Options analyst Bryan Hinmon, CFA, shares three companies that have scintillating potential for any investor with an attention span longer than your typical news cycle.
"You can't be a contrarian for contrarian's sake; you need to understand why something's down. For these three businesses, there's a lot of short-term noise," says Bryan, who exudes the presence of a Guy Who Knows Things. "There's a lot of chirping about them now, and it may well get worse, but anyone who's looking at the medium term or longer will win out."
An industry in critical condition
It's fairly obvious why home health-care companies have recently seen their share prices plummet. First, the Wall Street Journal wrote a damning article about one of the industry's big four, Amedisys (Nasdaq: AMED ) , that raised questions about whether the company was taking advantage of the reimbursement system. That led the SEC and the Senate Finance Committee to start their own investigations of all the major players. Then Congress cut Medicare reimbursements by about 5%, which flows straight through to the bottom line.
But amid this seeming cesspool of an industry, Bryan is rather enthusiastic about LHC Group (Nasdaq: LHCG ) , an up-and-up operator that is poised not only to emerge from the mess but also to get stronger as a result of it. The leadership incentive structure is based on employee satisfaction and patient happiness, as judged by third-party analysts. Over half of its agencies have Joint Commission accreditation, and the company is seeking to have all of its facilities accredited. While its competitors are constantly trashed by employees on insider job boards, LHC staff workers seem content and impressed by the company's leadership, with company co-founder Keith Myers still at the helm. So as this fragmented industry struggles through tough times, LHC has the look of a strong company that's only going to get stronger.
It ain't broke
Next up is the company that sells the pipes that make data communication possible, Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO ) . Is the company losing a step? Why is its closest competitor, Juniper Networks (Nasdaq: JNPR ) , turning in such awesome results while Cisco has been making a habit of disappointing on its guidance? Aren't municipalities, a primary purchaser of Cisco products, broke? Why has Cisco's foray into consumer products been such a debacle?
OK, we know why it's down. But Bryan feels that if we can endure some short-term pain, we'll be buying into a remarkably strong company that's trading at a mere 11 times free cash flow. As he puts it:
If you ignore the guidance and look at the actual numbers, Cisco's been doing fine, even though its competitors are doing better. More importantly, the last major networking infrastructure build-out happened in the late 1990s and large communications companies have been slow to update. Now they're overdue and Cisco's going to get a huge boost when that bottleneck opens up. The switching costs are high and Cisco has best-in-show products, so it should be a nice ride once we get past the short-term noise.
Hungering for good news
Everyone has heard about rising food costs. Everyone knows about the unemployment and economic instability in Europe. So it only follows that many investors have lost interest in Nestle (Other OTC: NSRGY.PK), with a 10% drop in its shares recently. Again, Bryan is happy to look past today's clouds and look at the promising future for the world's largest packaged food and beverage firm:
Brands matter, and billion-dollar brands make up 75% of Nestle's sales. The company is constantly increasing its operating margins. It's got an incredible distribution network, including into developing markets. And I love the fact that they know where things are going on the nutrition, health, and wellness front, and they're moving to be in front of that trend. It's just a fantastic company that's managed for the long term. Just like the other companies I've mentioned, if you're investing for years instead of weeks, this is a great company to own.
Bryan doesn't know things by accident. Like all Guys Who Know Things, he keeps an active eye on his watchlist. Start yours today at www.MyWatchlist.com free from the Fool, or click on LHC Group, Cisco Systems, or Nestle to automatically start watching these winners.
And if those three don't work for you, we're happy to give you six great stocks that David and Tom Gardner think you should watch. Just sign up for MyWatchlist today and you'll have immediate access to our free report, "6 Stocks to Watch From David and Tom Gardner." It's waiting for you when you begin building your own watchlist. Click here to get started now.