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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.
Keep on truckin'
Apparently Arkansas Best (Nasdaq: ABFS ) just isn't good enough for Wall Street.
The trucking and logistics company reported a more than doubling in net income to $11.8 million on a 2.4% increase in revenue for the second quarter. Wall Street would have none of it, however, as the owner and operator of ABF Freight was downgraded from neutral to underweight by JPMorgan Chase. These results also were delivered on the same day that the company's lawsuit against the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and against numerous subsidiaries of YRC Worldwide (Nasdaq: YRCW ) was thrown out by a U.S. district court judge.
In spite of this, I feel that the downgrade and untimely lawsuit dismissal provide the perfect opportunity to get into Arkansas Best. The trucking company recently completed its purchase of Panther Expedited, which should drastically improve its logistics operations. Also, cost-cutting is a primary focus for Arkansas Best. Fuel costs have dropped from their highs, and the company has a long history of keeping costs in check. At just over eight times forward earnings, this seems like a good time for investors interested in the company to put the pedal to the metal.
From Sell to CELL
In early April I highlighted Brightpoint (Nasdaq: CELL ) , a company that contractually services and downloads software onto mobile phones for providers, after it warned that it was losing a major customer. However, the main premise behind my recommendation was the fact that roughly 6 billion mobile subscriptions are in existence in the world, which means plenty of contracts yet to go around. With Ingram Micro (NYSE: IM ) agreeing to purchase Brightpoint last month for $840 million, including debt, my attention and recommendation now turns to Ingram.
Ingram is primarily an IT peripheral products company, but it also offers networking products and supply chain services, such as the type that used to compete against Brightpoint. It will, to some extent, be at the mercy of the tech and tech product cycles, but it sheer product diversity and ability to cut further control costs make it attractive. The Brightpoint deal alone is expected to reduce costs by $55 million annually by 2014 and to be meaningfully accretive to earnings, according to Ingram's management. At just 67% of book value and 7.5 times forward earnings, Ingram Micro is a stock value investors should be taking note of.
Building a foundation
For a change, I decided to look to the ETF market for my final selection today and highlight the PowerShares DB Base Metal Fund (NYSE: DBB ) .
Most metal investors are so blinded by their addiction to gold and silver that they often forget there's a world of other metals that can be profitable endeavors -- from rare-earth metals to base metals. The PowerShares DB Base Metal Fund strictly invests in futures contracts for copper, zinc, and aluminum, some of the most basic building components in the construction and electronics industry.
These metals are vital to growing emerging-market nations and to emerging behemoths like China, India, and Brazil, which seemingly can't get enough of all three. One thing to remember, though, is that base metal prices are subject to the same macroeconomic pressures that effect individual companies, so purchasing an ETF like this won't sidestep any risks, but it will set you up in a basket fund to take advantage of global, not just region-specific, emerging-market growth.
This week it was all about looking at life's necessities. OK, so calling printers, scanners, and other IT peripherals "necessities" might be a bit of a stretch, but we need trucking and logistic companies to make our lives manageable, it couldn't hurt to have Ingram's products for our computing and networking needs, and we need base metals to make a lot of the products we use. With all three at reasonable prices, life necessities just became a pretty cheap buy.
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." Find out 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!