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Despite the some rough trading over the last few days, the stock market still sits close to its all-time highs.
And, even with many high profile growth stocks taking it on the shins of late, the market as a whole still isn't exactly cheap.
Earlier this month, I discussed three cheap tech stocks that I thought were especially cheap and worth watching in 2014. And now with the market softening slightly, I'd like to once again highlight two more cheap tech stocks that could be worth watching as the year progresses.
1) International Business Machines (NYSE: IBM )
IBM has been a pariah in the last few years, and for good reason.
In fact, IBM's stock is trading today around the same levels it was at the start of 2012, while the broad market is up over 40% in the same time frame.
I'd be wrong in arguing that IBM's sluggish stock price isn't deserved, but the facts suggest otherwise. Revenue has fallen for seven straight quarters, and is forecasted to continue to decline for at least two more as IBM struggles to adapt to the shifting IT environment.
However, as it's done plenty of times in its over 100 years in existence, IBM has shown significant process in reworking its business to cater to today's changing technological landscape. In the most recent example, IBM sold off its low-margin x86 server business to Lenovo for $2.3 billion earlier this month. This move will help IBM move away from a relatively unattractive business line and reinvest into higher margin software and services.
It's this uncanny ability to continually refashion itself around new high-value business segments that to me makes IBM a potentially compelling option for long-term investors. Sure, the next year or so might not be pretty for Big Blue. However, you can also take it as an article of faith that IBM will eventually get its business aligned where it needs to be. And to me, scooping up some shares today while the market remains bearish could certainly be an attractive option for investors looking to hold for the long haul.
2) Corning (NYSE: GLW )
Speaking of businesses facing short-term headwinds, shares of industrial glass giant Corning are trading decidedly lower today in reaction to weaker-than-expected guidance it gave in Q4 earnings report yesterday.
However, like IBM, Corning today could also present investors with the opportunity to grab shares of a business with attractive long-term dynamics on the cheap.
You see the real cause for Corning's sell-off today is expected weakness in its LCD glass division, which it said should experience irregularly strong pricing pressure in the quarter ahead. However, looking longer term, Corning said it expects those same pressures to moderate later this year and for the overall LCD glass market to grow somewhere in the single digits in 2014 as a whole.
After today's haircut, Corning is now trading under 14 times earnings with a dividend yield of 2.3% and a moderate long-term growth outlook. And with $2 billion in net cash on its balance sheet, Corning also has ample financial flexibility to drive additional shareholder returns via additional stock buybacks or dividend increases, even if top-line growth remains challenged.
Today certainly isn't a pretty day for Corning. But for those looking to invest for years, and not quarters, Corning certainly still seems like an attractive option.
Foolish bottom line
Investing in businesses currently weathering some kind of headwind can seem scary or counterintuitive.
Why should anyone want to scoop of up shares of something that's likely to struggle in the months ahead?
However, quality firms like IBM and Corning also have ways to adapting to and eventually moving past those same short-term bumps in the road. And it's often during these periods of strife when the market is its most pessimistic that investors can buy these fundamentally strong companies on the cheap.
It's classic value investing. And for the long-term investors out there, this often proves to be a recipe for success.
A better bet for 2014 than IBM or Corning
There's a huge difference between a good stock and a stock that can make you rich. The Motley Fool's chief investment officer has selected his No. 1 stock for 2014, and it's one of those stocks that could make you rich. You can find out which stock it is in the special free report "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2014." Just click here to access the report and find out the name of this under-the-radar company.