It's time to update your expectations.
Now that most companies have filed away their 2010 financial performances, we can begin diving into fiscal projections for this year -- and for 2012. It's no longer a stretch. The term "next year's earnings" now refers to 2012, and you may be amazed at how quickly some of the market's seemingly overpriced players are growing. Loftier profit targets translate into lower forward P/E multiples.
I took a look at five stocks last week. Let's try a few more.
|Activision Blizzard (Nasdaq: ATVI )||$10.76||15||12||Add|
|Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS )||$38.69||22||17||Add|
|AMD (NYSE: AMD )||$8.55||16||12||Add|
|SandRidge Energy (NYSE: SD )||$11.12||62||24||Add|
|Ford (NYSE: F )||$14.59||8||7||Add|
Source: Yahoo! Finance.
Valuation is only a number
Many of these multiples -- even those clocking in for next year -- are chunky. You don't often hear something along the lines of "this stock is so cheap that it's trading for a mere 34 times next year's projected profitability."
Then again, there is more to this basket of presumably pricey stocks than meets the cynical eye.
Activision Blizzard has caught a few bad breaks lately. Remember all of those fake plastic Guitar Hero controllers that teen rockers used to fret around with just a year or two ago? The trend has come and gone, so the country's largest video game publisher nixed the entire franchise last month. It also announced a delay in the latest installment of its tiring True Crime series. It doesn't help that video game industry sales have been largely unimpressive over the past two years.
The upshot here is that the gloom and doom has dropped shares of Activision Blizzard into the preteens -- and I'm not just talking about the share price. Activision Blizzard is now fetching just 12 times next year's projected profitability. With its World of Warcraft and Call of Duty properties ascending, it may finally be time to get back into the game.
Las Vegas Sands has been making headlines for all of the wrong reasons these days. A critical firing has birthed allegations that the casino operator bribed its way into the hot Macau gaming market. The SEC and Department of Justice are investigating the matter. There may be some pain to pay if the allegations hold up, but Las Vegas Sands is priced at too tempting a discount to its heady growth rate to bet against the house.
Investors who haven't checked on Advanced Micro Devices in a few years will be in for a surprise. This is still the distant second banana to Intel (Nasdaq: INTC ) when it comes to microprocessors, but AMD's no longer the money-losing bleeder it was for a three-year stretch that mercifully ended two summers ago. AMD is now consistently profitable.
Time alters valuation arguments when a company is moving quickly. SandRidge Energy is a perfect example. The Oklahoma City-based oil and natural gas company seems richly valued at 62 times this year's projected net income, but a head-turning bargain -- given its growth spurt -- at just 24 times next year's bottom-line target.
Ford and its automaker peers have been rolling along nicely since the 2009 "Cash for Clunkers" campaign reawakened driver appetite for a shiny new ride. Ford doesn't have the balance sheet-cleaning luxury that General Motors (NYSE: GM ) had in its government bailout and bankruptcy reorganization. Its enterprise value is considerably loftier than its market cap suggests. However, Ford continues to grow despite cranking out big-ticket vehicles.
Adding it up
None of these stocks is immune to a market meltdown. If you're looking for bulwarks, you'll have to find them somewhere else.
These investments are high-beta growth stocks, and will likely remain that way for several more years. The key here, though, is that they aren't as expensive as pundits make them out to be.
It's the opportunity you didn't know you were waiting for.
Interested in reading more about any of these stocks? Add them to My Watchlist to find all of our Foolish analysis. And if you like these five stocks, check out the six stocks that Tom and David Gardner think you should be watching in a free special report.