Are These 3 Stocks as Sickly as They Look?

The markets were enjoying an up day yesterday with the Dow Jones Industrial Average rising 54 points to hit a five-year high of 14,035, buoyed as it was by upbeat news of the expansion of General Electric's health-care division into the Japanese market. The following three companies, however, looked in need of a doctor, as they were among the more notable decliners yesterday leading the way sharply lower.


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Digital Generation (UNKNOWN: DGIT.DL  )


Yandex (NASDAQ: YNDX  )


Sandstorm Gold (NYSEMKT: SAND  )


Now don't go running over the cliff with them like a bunch of lemmings: it could just be a temporary situation. Let's first see whether they had good reason to fall, as panic-fueled routs can sometimes lead to excellent buying opportunities.

On the precipice
Acquisitions have been what separated Digital Generation from its rivals. Trying to add online advertising to a portfolio of traditional television accounts, the advertising middleman embarked on a number of acquisitions over the past few years that bulked up its digital revenues. Television accounted for 92% of DG's revenues in 2010, and now digital represents more than one-third of them today.

The biggest acquisition it tried to engineer, however, was itself. After hiring Goldman Sachs to conduct a "strategic review" and approaching some 45 potential buyers over the course of a year, no one was interested. After noting that it failed to produce a buyer for itself, DG said it will remain an independent company, which led to the sell-off in the stock yesterday. That, and the fact that it also recorded a fourth-quarter loss, as it took an $11.4 million charge on goodwill related to the acquisitions it made.

I've pointed out before that the industry is poised to undergo a change on how ad rates are set online because they're based on "impressions," an imprecise term of art that AdWeek says is mostly less than a second. DG touts that its online segment surpassed more than 1 trillion impressions last year, but revenues still fell 4%.

With online advertising expected to grow to $8 billion by 2016, there is a market for its services, but how it ultimately translates that into cash for itself could become more of a challenge.

Maybe it doesn't have the same cachet as being the "Google of China," but Yandex, the "Google of Russia," has also been a growth stock over the past year, rising 57% from its low point last June -- until yesterday's sell-off, that is, over fears that the market has matured and it won't see the same  phenomenal gains it enjoyed in the past.

The Russian search engine, which is the largest in the country with a 60% share of the market, reported revenues came in a 2.69 rubles, well short of the 2.96 rubles analysts had anticipated, while also saying it expected sales to grow just 28% to 32% in 2013. While Wall Street was already expecting growth to slow, Yandex's cautious outlook was below even their muted expectations of a 33% increase.

Yandex still has a big market, and it's expanding into other countries to help bolster those objectives. It recently surpassed Microsoft's Bing to become the fourth largest global search engine, behind Google, Baidu, and Yahoo!. It's in good company, to be sure, but investors will need to first wrap their heads around just how far they think it can search for growth.

A silver lining
Although the drop yesterday in shares of Sandstorm Gold may have been related to the earnings report it issued Monday night, the stock has been falling for the past two weeks, going from $12.42 a share on Feb. 7 to $10.86 at Friday's close, a 13% decline. The gold streamer is now down almost 40% from its 52-week high.

Although the results it posted showed progress and it announced more deals for future streams, Sandstorm is also feeling the pressure coming to bear on gold itself, which fell below $1,600 an ounce this morning as traders believe the global economy is improving.

The streamer reported that gold sales totaled more than 33,500 ounces in 2012, an 81% jump from the year-ago period, with average cash costs per ounce of $356. Yet with China still buying record amounts of gold (even if it's eased up on the amount it's been buying), I see an underlying potential for a rebound in the precious metal and for Sandstorm in particular. I'd view the share weakness as a time to accumulate the stock.

Ready for a resurrection
As one of the most dominant Internet companies ever, Google has made a habit of driving strong returns for its shareholders. However, like many other Web companies, it's also struggling to adapt to an increasingly mobile world. Despite gaining an enviable lead with its Android operating system, the market isn't sold. That's why it's more important than ever to understand each piece of Google's sprawling empire. In The Motley Fool's new premium research report on Google, we break down the risks and potential rewards for Google investors. Simply click here now to unlock your copy of this invaluable resource, and you'll receive a bonus year's worth of key updates and expert guidance as news continues to develop.

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