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.
It's all about the necessities
When times get tough, the tough should wisely turn to energy generation outliers for possible rebound candidates. Although Foster Wheeler (Nasdaq: FWLT ) may not be directly involved in traditional energy generation, the facilities it builds for the upstream oil, natural gas, and gas-liquids industries, as well as its steam-generating technology that powers industrial facilities, are indispensable in any market environment.
In Foster Wheeler's latest quarter, management forecast EPS that would significantly outpace 2011, although they remained cautious regarding volatile customer orders. In the company's global engineering and construction segment, new order revenue fell slightly as it realized smaller order sizes, but it nonetheless is predicting strong EBITDA growth in this segment. Likewise, its global power group segment saw operating revenue rise $50 million as EBITDA doubled from its year-ago totals.
Foster Wheeler's peer, Fluor (NYSE: FLR ) , echoed these results when, in early May, it reported its strongest backlog on record, $42.5 billion. Fluor's oil and gas segment noted a 19% rise in revenue over last year.
While things may be bumpy with oil prices declining in recent weeks, the increasing need for energy infrastructure should be enough to keep Foster Wheeler (and the entire sector) quite busy.
Just as we chose Foster Wheeler for its tie-ins with the energy industry, MEDNAX (NYSE: MD ) , a contracted provider of neonatal intensive care units, looks poised to rebound after reporting weaker-than-expected earnings results last month.
The company, which has mostly grown through acquisitions in recent months, reported organic growth of 2.4% in its latest quarter and a 6.4% rise in profits, but that wasn't enough to appease Wall Street. What investors need to consider, however, is that the need for MEDNAX's services is only going to increase as the amount of births continues to rise. Historically, MEDNAX has been a great investment as both revenue and free cash flow have grown consistently throughout the past decade:
Source: Morningstar. All figures in millions.
In addition to the above metrics, which signify a steadily growing company, MEDNAX hasn't diluted shareholders with stock offerings and is much cheaper than it has averaged over the past decade in terms of forward P/E and cash flow. It's a smart play on a rapidly growing population and could be one of the health-care sector's next companies to institute a dividend.
Are you Reddy for profits?
One word sums up the future of Dr. Reddy's Laboratories (NYSE: RDY ) : generics. Like so many other generic companies I've profiled, Dr. Reddy's is India's generic powerhouse, which has grown by a mixture of adding products to its generic portfolio and through acquisitions.
The primary growth driver could be the recent addition of generic Plavix to its generic portfolio. Plavix, the second-best-selling drug in the world, recently came off patent protection and Dr. Reddy's joined a group of other generic-drug makers in jumping all over the opportunity. Dr. Reddy's has also made a habit of feeding off Pfizer's (NYSE: PFE ) aging pipeline. It began selling generic Geodon, a treatment for mental disorders, in March.
As we've learned from other generic-drug makers, their pipelines' growth potential is practically limitless, with patent terms only lasting for a given amount of time for branded drugs. In addition, the costs associated with development are considerably lower for generic producers since clinical safety trials are generally bypassed. Between India's fast-growing economy and a healthy generic portfolio, Dr. Reddy looks poised for years of growth.
I know I harp on purchasing smart necessity investments perhaps a bit too often, but this is another week where the investment choices I've laid out above just make sense. Over time, we as a nation will need more energy infrastructure, greater care for our newborns, and access to cheaper but equally effective medications. All three of these stocks should be long-term winners.
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!