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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 bargain prices. 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 when the market reacts to the upside.
Here's a look at three fallen angels trading near their 52-week lows that could be worth buying.
If a tree falls in the forest, should you buy it?
Another week, another small-cap oil and natural-gas company to grace the buy list. This week we're going to take a look at Lone Pine Resources (NYSE: LPR ) , and I'll show you why now could be the time to buy.
Similar to EnCana (NYSE: ECA ) , the Canadian natural-gas giant that was forced to significantly cut back production due to decade-low natural-gas prices, Lone Pine is suffering from record supplies. With 442 billion cubic feet of natural gas in the ground, this can be a bit of a problem.
Luckily for this highly profitable company, it also continues to increase its proven and probable oil reserves and natural-gas liquids -- two commodities which maintain high price points, from which it can reap huge rewards. Lone Pine ended the year with 58% more proven and probable oil and NGL reserves than the year prior. With a production life based on fiscal 2011 year-end estimates of 18.3 years and being highly profitable (not to mention its track record of replacing more than it produces each year), Lone Pine looks like a strong candidate to rebound off its lows. It also doesn't hurt that it's trading at just five times forward earnings.
There's no such thing as easy money, but the pawn-brokering and loan business is about as close as you can get to guaranteed cash flow in the finance sector.
Last week EZCORP (Nasdaq: EZPW ) took a tumble after the company was forced to cut its guidance by 6% as customers chose to pawn their general merchandise more and use gold less. Pawning gold allows for easier turnover and supplies the company with healthier margins.
But even with slightly lower margins, EZCORP's profits are still going to grow 13% year over year, and the underlying fundamentals of the business remain strong. The company is developing a stronghold in Mexico and the U.K. through the majority purchases of Crediamigo and Cash Genie, with combined loan balances up an organic 12%. Valued at just over seven times forward earnings, I don't think you'll get this company for much cheaper than it is now.
Implant this into your portfolio
Shareholders of Symmetry Medical (NYSE: SMA ) haven't had an easy go of things over the past year, as many of its customers have held back orders. Slow growth in surgical procedures caused Symmetry's OEM solutions division sales to fall by 15.6%.
However, this company should benefit as the numbers game improves. In short, as the population grows and medical technology becomes more defined, the need for medical procedures and equipment is going to rise. Companies like Symmetry Medical are perfectly set up to take advantage of this trend. Even though it's a small contributor at the moment, Symmetry's surgical division exhibited 22% year-over-year sales growth, despite the OEM solutions sales drop-off.
I also feel Symmetry could be a good fit for a company with a larger balance sheet looking to diversify. In particular, Zimmer Holdings (NYSE: ZMH ) comes to mind as a potential suitor for Symmetry. Zimmer has plenty of cash on its balance sheet and could benefit from removing Symmetry as a competitor to its spinal devices. Again, this is purely speculation, but I could see this deal making sense.
This week we took a look at three companies that should benefit from the long-term strength in their businesses. If investors can overlook some short-term negativity, they should be rewarded over the long run. I'm so confident that these three names will bounce off their lows that I'm going to make a CAPScall of outperform on each one.
In the meantime, consider adding these potential winners to your free and personalized watchlist and get your own personal copy of our special report, "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2012," to see which company our chief investment officer has dubbed the "Costco of Latin America." Best of all, this report is completely free, so don't miss out!