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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 wallowing 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.
Want to live on the wild side of venture capital but can't shake the memory of the dot-com collapse? Then perhaps it's time to give Medley Capital (NYSE: MCC ) a closer look.
Medley capital is a closed-end investment-management firm that invests between $10 million and $50 million in small- to medium-sized businesses over a period of three to seven years. Medley, through its subsidiary MCC Advisors, lines up first- and second-lien debt positions at high yields -- the goal, of course, being to generate consistent cash flow so that it can continue to expand the number of deals it executes and keep shareholders happy with double-digit dividend yields.
What could go wrong in a plan like this? The big fear, of course, would be the default of one or multiple companies that Medley has invested capital into. Given the nature and size of the businesses it targets, that's a discernible possibility, especially if we were to slip into a recession again. The other factor that works against Medley is that it finances some of its new loan activity via share offerings, which can dilute existing shareholders in the process. Finally, there's been some concern recently that Medley's double-digit yield may not hold, putting pressure on its share price.
Why I feel Medley deserves a closer look has to do with its incredible loan diversity. According to its second-quarter results, Medley has investments in 56 different companies that are achieving a 13.8% yield across its multiple tiers and tranches. Of its roughly $700 million in investments (which includes cash and cash equivalents), just 0.1% was based in unsecured loans and nearly 59% were senior secured first-lien investments. Even if its dividend were to take a minor hit, you'd probably still be looking at a yield north of 8% with relatively steady cash flow from investments.
With the company valued at roughly nine times next year's investment income, I would certainly suggest it's at least worth a deeper dive for more risk-taking financial-sector-savvy investors.
A gold small-cap to consider
Making that oh-so-steady jump from business development organizations to shiny yellow metal miners, let's take a closer look at Rio Alto Mining (UNKNOWN: RIOM.DL ) and I'll show you why the recent downtrend in gold has been more than accounted for in Rio Alto's share price.
As you might have guessed, the weakness in gold prices over the past year -- falling from north of $1,600 per ounce to about $1,300 per ounce -- has created a problem for gold miners, big and small, that have been expanding and spending willy nilly for the past decade. Newmont Mining (NYSE: NEM ) , one of the world's largest producers of gold, has already suffered two massive writedowns on the drop in gold prices, including $1.61 billion for its Hope Bay mine in Canada and another $1.77 billion just three months ago for its Boddington and Tanami mines in Australia.
Rio Alto doesn't have to worry nearly as much about exploration and maintenance costs, as it's beginning to put many of its bigger near-term costs in the rearview mirror. The second-quarter yielded an all-in sustaining cost of $1,180 per ounce, which is a figure that I suspect will drop anywhere from 5% to 10% over the next 12 to 18 months. In the meantime, Rio Alto, in its third-quarter update, noted that ore grade improved to 0.585 grams per ton compared to prior forecasts of 0.508 g/t. That extra yield helped it to deliver record quarterly gold output of 59,157 ounces.
In other words, I would expect costs to fall gradually and output to improve steadily. As long as gold remains above roughly $1,050 per ounce, we're looking at a profitable and generally inexpensive gold-mining play in Peru. In addition, we're also looking at a company that should enjoy relatively lower labor costs than miners in Africa or Canada as Latin American labor agreements typically offer favorable cost structures compared to other overseas environments. At a single-digit forward P/E, I've got my eyes squarely on Rio Alto Mining.
A promising early stage pipeline
Perhaps the only thing rarer than the Pittsburgh Pirates making an MLB postseason appearance has to be me making a CAPScall of "outperform" on a wholly clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company that's still in the early stages of its development -- but that's exactly what I plan to do today!
This has been a popular year for IPOs in the biotech sector, and OncoMed Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: OMED ) has taken full advantage of the cash generated from going public to run trials for its early stage pipeline. OncoMed differentiates itself from the competition by targeting cancer stem cells, a small group of cells among tumors that differentiate into specialized cancer cells and are generally resistant to chemotherapy and radiation. OncoMed is looking to establish therapies that, when coming into contact with cancer signature proteins, will destroy these stem cells.
On paper this sounds like a novel concept, but will it work? In very early studies OncoMed's products have demonstrated success. Just this week it presented data on four of its five ongoing anti-cancer stem cell trial drugs which showed anti-cancer efficacy in each instance. The most exciting might be wholly owned clinical compound demcizumab, which demonstrated a partial response in 39% of the 23 non-small cell lung cancer patients in its phase 1b trial while another 48% of evaluable patients exhibited stable disease.
Furthermore, OncoMed has formed strategic partnerships with some of the sectors largest pharmaceutical companies to aid in marketing and development should its drug reach pharmacy shelves, including GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK ) and Bayer. Its partnership with Glaxo could total $1.4 billion in milestone payments and includes a double-digit royalty if its drugs are approved.
Please keep in mind that while early stage biopharmaceutical companies like OncoMed have plenty of reward potential, they also carry a lot of risk, so take this CAPS endorsement as nothing more than your cue to take a deeper dive into OncoMed.
This week theme is all about reminding investors that great deals can be discovered if you're willing to look at small-caps and move outside the box. Early stage biotech companies, business development organizations, and small-cap gold-miners certainly aren't for everyone, but for more risk-taking investors looking for long-term opportunities, these businesses could be an intriguing option moving forward.
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