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Just as we examine companies each week that may be rising past their fair value, we can also find companies potentially trading at a bargain price. While many investors would rather have nothing to do with companies tipping the scales at 52-week lows, I think it makes a lot of sense to determine whether the market has overreacted to the downside, just as we often do to the upside.
Here's a look at three fallen angels trading near their 52-week lows that could be worth buying.
Growth? I'll take it!
There's a point where even 2%-3% growth becomes attractive. We just hit it with Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) . The company has been in a steady decline since it reported a decline in its personal computing segment in mid-May. But there's still a lot to like about Hewlett-Packard.
First, the company still occupies the No. 1 spot in PC-industry market share, beating out Dell (Nasdaq: DELL ) , Acer, and Lenovo. Secondly, even with the contraction in the personal computing segment, commercial account revenue grew by double-digit percentages in its most recent quarter. Finally, the company hiked its dividend 50% this past quarter, bringing the current yield up to a more tantalizing 1.3%. With a very low payout ratio of about 12%, and trading at less than six times forward earnings, Hewlett-Packard definitely looks cheap.
The stock of steel
Fears already swirl that the U.S. will sink into another recession. I'll believe it when I see it. Rather than speculating on a worldwide slowdown, I'd suggest taking a closer look at worldwide steel producer ArcelorMittal (NYSE: MT ) instead.
It's very difficult to argue against at least adding Arcelor to your watchlist, considering that this company has a long-term growth rate of 23% and is currently trading for less than 60% of its book value. Assuming worldwide growth doesn't come to a screeching halt, it's very likely that Arcelor's products will remain in high demand -- making its current forward P/E of 5.6 seem like a steal. Arcelor's rival U.S. Steel (NYSE: X ) boasts a debt-to-equity of 93% and is valued right around book value. Compare that to Arcelor's debt-to-equity of 42%, and you'll see why I'm pounding the steel table on this company.
Not to make light of the market plunge in the past week, but Brocade Communications (Nasdaq: BRCD ) has seen more than its fair share of down days, considering its weak but not dooming preliminary third-quarter earnings forecast late last week.
Brocade failed to live up to its own guidance -- a mistake, but probably not worthy of the 40% haircut the company has received since the news. It's important to remember that Brocade is still very profitable, with plenty of cash in its coffers to survive any industrywide slowdown. Rivals Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO ) and Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR ) have also fallen on hard times recently, but like Brocade, they have ample cash to ride out the storm. With Brocade currently valued at 70% of its book value, and having grown revenue in each of the past five years, the possibility that a larger peer will make a bid for the company can only increase.
Notice a trend here? Single-digit forward P/Es and companies that are trading around or well below their book value. The three greatest bull markets were born from bouts of panic selling and this is likely to be true of this downturn. Stay the course and if you do nothing else, get these three companies on your watchlist.
What stocks have you bought (or sold) over the past few days? Share them in the comments section below.