Just as we examine companies that may be rising past their fair value each week, 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.
A well of opportunity
By the look of things at Chesapeake Energy (NYSE: CHK ) , you'd think the oil market was depressed and the company was struggling to make ends meet -- but that's simply not the case. As one of the nation's largest natural gas players, it definitely doesn't help to see natural gas ending 2011 at a 27-month low. But based on Chesapeake's third-quarter report in November, the rising price of oil and a 91% increase in liquids production fueled year-over-year growth in both EPS and revenue and produced more than $1.4 billion in operating cash flow.
Chesapeake has also been rewarding shareholders with somewhat regular dividend increases. While you can't count on a guaranteed increase every year, Chesapeake's strong cash flow has allowed the company to raise its dividend eight times since 1997. Currently valued at a mere 9.8 times forward earnings and trading just a shade over its book value, Chesapeake's assets alone make this a compelling value. Add in its strong cash flow potential and you have yourself a potential well of opportunity.
Did someone say pork bellies?
One of the few aspects of the financial sector that continues to outperform is futures and options trading volume, and for that I turn to CME Group (Nasdaq: CME ) , the name behind the CME, CBOT, NYMEX, and COMEX exchanges.
CME has been blindsided by the bad sentiment accompanying the MF Global scandal, which has sacked CME's stock. On an earnings multiple basis, CME hasn't traded this cheaply since the financial crisis, and now could be the perfect time to dip your toes into the water. In its latest quarter, CME reported a 19% increase in revenue and a 29% jump in operating income -- both records. More importantly, average daily contract volume jumped by 27% over the year-ago period. This is the type of company that can excel in both a good or bad market and it pays out a dividend of 2.3% to boot. With MF Global-related worries overestimated, in my opinion, and nothing wrong from a financial perspective, I think it's only a matter of time before the stock price more genuinely reflects the positive underlying results of CME.
A technological revolution?
With the passing of Kim Jong-Il in North Korea last month, the door is being left wide open for South Korean companies to potentially introduce a technology revolution in the North. While mere speculation as of now, the possibility of this makes SK Telecom (NYSE: SKM ) , South Korea's dominant mobile carrier, even more tempting.
SK Telecom's dividend is in the same rarified territory that AT&T (NYSE: T ) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ ) occupy domestically. However, unlike the big two in the U.S., SK has a much lower debt-to-equity ratio, trades at a significant discount to its book value, and boasts a forward multiple of 7 -- decisively lower than both AT&T (12) and Verizon (16). I'd go so far as to say it represents one of the best values in large-scale telecom worldwide at the moment.
This week, we looked at three companies that continue to produce solid results that have been affected (unfairly) by extenuating circumstances. Whether it's natural gas bearishness, the curse of MF Global, or the death of a leader, these companies represent excellent sources of stability and growth. Given this, I'm planning to add them to my CAPS portfolio with an outperform rating this week. The question now is, would you?
In the meantime, consider adding these potential winners to your free and personalized watchlist and get your copy of our free report "The Motley Fool's Top Stocks for 2012" to see what our chief investment officer has dubbed the "must-own" company for the new year.