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.
Another week and yet another addition from the mining side of the business in AuRico Gold (NYSE:AUQ). AuRico is a Canadian gold miner with land assets in Canada and Mexico, and, like many of its peers, it's been obliterated by the falling price of gold. Relative to many of its peers, it boasts one of the highest trailing P/E ratios and its cash mining costs are roughly middle of the pack at best. Yet I believe that multiple factors are poised to send AuRico significantly higher.
First of all, the company's expansion of its Young-Davidson mine in Canada is going to be a big boost to AuRico's cash flow within the next few quarters. The mine extension is expected to yield 1.8 million ounces of gold production over just the next eight years and will certainly provide AuRico plenty of financial backing to continue paying shareholders a dividend (AuRico initiated a quarterly dividend this past quarter).
While Young-Davidson is certainly the talking point for why AuRico could head higher in the interim, the company's El Chanate mine in Mexico continues to provide a stabilizing force in cost controls. Even with costs rising at El Chanate to $569 per ounce from $416 per ounce in the year earlier, mine maintenance and labor costs, and well as ore grades, have tended to be stronger in Mexican mines than almost anywhere else in the world. This is one of the reasons that Goldcorp (NYSE:GG), which boasts some of the lowest cash operating costs in the mining sector, has been able to keep costs low. Goldcorp has certainly benefited from byproducts that have helped reduce costs, but favorable ore grades and inexpensive labor have also played an important role in keeping costs down.
AuRico may not appear a great value at 12 times forward earnings, but just watch what happens when Young-Davidson kicks into high gear!
The energy succubus
The United States might be the world's preeminent superpower, but China is slowly going to replace the U.S. as the leader in a multitude of economic categories over the coming decade.
One area where China looks like it'll handily swamp the U.S. is in its demand for fuel sources. Companies like Arch Coal in the U.S. have already forged extensive exporting contracts to Asia-Pacific countries like China in order to expand their own bottom lines and find demand where none currently exists in domestic markets. However, coal growth alone isn't going to be enough to meet China's rapidly industrializing nation, which is why PetroChina (NYSE:PTR) looks like an amazing deal at the moment.
PetroChina has certainly been a busy bee lately, buying into Alberta's oil sands and entering into an agreement with ConocoPhillips to purchase a stake in its liquid-natural-gas-rich Australian assets. This doesn't even touch the tip of the iceberg on the 98.5 million tons of oil and 121.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas that the company boasted in reserves as of 2011. PetroChina is logistically poised to reap the benefits of Southeast Asia's industrialization and should have more than ample pricing power and cash flow to expand its geographical presence around the globe. At just nine times forward earnings, I'd say PetroChina is a very attractive value play.
Things really aren't that bad
The month of May cannot end soon enough for shareholders of Aruba Networks (NASDAQ:ARUN). The provider of network access solutions imploded earlier this month when it cut its guidance for the third quarter, then plummeted an additional 30% on Friday after it met those reduced results but pointed to intensified competition as the reason it was offering cautious guidance moving forward. As my Foolish colleague Evan Niu pointed out on Friday, Cisco Systems' beat would certainly signify that it's having success in taking customers away from Aruba. But, in reality, things aren't nearly as bad as they seem.
Think of the networking solutions sector as a growing pie. Certainly market share will be won and lost along the way, but the pie is expanding enough so that everyone can get a piece and still have room to grow. The cash trickle-down effect during a tech infrastructure expansion cycle is very clear. First we seen big spending by enterprises and wireless service providers. Next, fiber-optic companies see a nice boost. After that, networking switch and adapter companies see a boost and finally networking solutions providers. Sure, they're further down the food chain, but with AT&T, Sprint Nextel, and T-Mobile all rigorously expanding their 4G LTE networks, the demand for infrastructure upgrades and networking solutions is bound to remain strong.
Aruba Networks ended the quarter with just shy of $4 in cash with no debt and is still poised to grow sales by double digits for what I suspect will be the next couple of years. I know it might be tough to ignore May's steep decline, but things really aren't that bad here. Patient investors here should be rewarded handsomely.
This week's theme is "things really aren't that bad." Sure, falling gold prices are hurting AuRico's margins, weaker-than-average GDP growth in China is constraining oil demand, and Cisco is apparently mopping the floor with Aruba in the interim. Yet definite catalysts exist for all three companies, including a huge mine expansion, a growing need for oil in an industrializing nation, and an ongoing infrastructure upgrade in the tech sector.
Fool contributor Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong.
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