Has Titanium Metals Become the Perfect Stock?

Every investor would love to stumble upon the perfect stock. But will you ever really find a stock that provides everything you could possibly want?

One thing's for sure: You'll never discover truly great investments unless you actively look for them. Let's discuss the ideal qualities of a perfect stock, then decide if Titanium Metals (NYSE: TIE  ) fits the bill.

The quest for perfection
Stocks that look great based on one factor may prove horrible elsewhere, making due diligence a crucial part of your investing research. The best stocks excel in many different areas, including these important factors:

  • Growth. Expanding businesses show healthy revenue growth. While past growth is no guarantee that revenue will keep rising, it's certainly a better sign than a stagnant top line.
  • Margins. Higher sales mean nothing if a company can't produce profits from them. Strong margins ensure that company can turn revenue into profit.
  • Balance sheet. At debt-laden companies, banks and bondholders compete with shareholders for management's attention. Companies with strong balance sheets don't have to worry about the distraction of debt.
  • Money-making opportunities. Return on equity helps measure how well a company is finding opportunities to turn its resources into profitable business endeavors.
  • Valuation. You can't afford to pay too much for even the best companies. By using normalized figures, you can see how a stock's simple earnings multiple fits into a longer-term context.
  • Dividends. For tangible proof of profits, a check to shareholders every three months can't be beat. Companies with solid dividends and strong commitments to increasing payouts treat shareholders well.

With those factors in mind, let's take a closer look at Titanium Metals.

Factor

What We Want to See

Actual

Pass or Fail?

Growth 5-Year Annual Revenue Growth > 15% (3.3%) Fail
  1-Year Revenue Growth > 12% 13.4% Pass
Margins Gross Margin > 35% 21.5% Fail
  Net Margin > 15% 10.1% Fail
Balance Sheet Debt to Equity < 50% 7.7% Pass
  Current Ratio > 1.3 6.23 Pass
Opportunities Return on Equity > 15% 9.1% Fail
Valuation Normalized P/E < 20 20.68 Fail
Dividends Current Yield > 2% 2.4% Pass
  5-Year Dividend Growth > 10% 0% Fail
       
  Total Score   4 out of 10

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Total score = number of passes.

Since we looked at Titanium Metals last year, the company hasn't improved on its four-point score. The stock has sunk about 15% over the past year as just about the entire mining industry has gone through a downturn.

Titanium Metals primarily produces titanium for the aerospace industry, for use in aircraft manufacturing. With Boeing (NYSE: BA  ) seeing big orders for commercial aircraft, you'd think that demand for the metal would be pretty much assured for years to come.

One problem that Titanium Metals has faced is that Boeing's 787 Dreamliner has been plagued by delays recently. That has hurt not only Titanium Metals but also rivals Allegheny Technologies (NYSE: ATI  ) and Carpenter Technology (NYSE: CRS  ) as well, because all three companies produce specialty metals that Boeing and other aircraft makers need.

In addition, a slowing global economy has made things tough for the entire metals industry. Between Europe's financial crisis and China's slowdown from lightning-fast growth rates, industrial metals producers have seen conditions deteriorate severely. Even in heavy metals, steel producer Nucor (NYSE: NUE  ) has taken its lumps in light of slowing infrastructure spending, and countless other companies in steel, aluminum, and base metals have traded well off their highs for some time.

For Titanium Metals to rebound, it needs Boeing's Dreamliner to start flying and for the overall economic picture to get better. If that all happens, then Titanium Metals could get a lot closer to perfection fairly quickly.

Keep searching
No stock is a sure thing, but some stocks are a lot closer to perfect than others. By looking for the perfect stock, you'll go a long way toward improving your investing prowess and learning how to separate the best investments from the rest.

If you like investing in metals, we've got a stock you should really take a look at. Read The Motley Fool's latest special report on gold to discover the tiny gold stock digging up massive profits. It's free but only available for a limited time.

Click here to add Titanium Metals to My Watchlist, which can find all of our Foolish analysis on it and all your other stocks.

Fool contributor Dan Caplinger doesn't own shares of the companies mentioned. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Nucor and Titanium Metals. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Fool has a disclosure policy.


Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (3)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

DocumentId: 2013263, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 4/18/2014 12:35:39 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...


Advertisement