Just as we examine companies each week that may be rising past their fair value, we can also find companies trading at what may be 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 a company's bad news, just as we often do when the market reacts to good news.
Here's a look at three fallen angels trading near their 52-week lows that could be worth buying.
Lights, camera, action!
Home entertainment and movie production companies have found new life since the recession, helped by a string of comic-book remakes that have driven moviegoers back into theaters like never before, as well as new digital media such as mobile devices and tablets, which are bringing convenience to an entirely new level.
Despite this optimism, the recently debuted Eros International (NYSE: EROS) found itself scrapping along at a fresh low during intraday trading yesterday.
Eros is a U.K.-based production company that co-develops, purchases, and markets Indian-based films. Eros focuses on marketing Indian films in India, as well as handling movie rights outside of India in roughly 50 other countries, including the United States. There aren't many ways of playing the rapidly growing "Bollywood" production industry in India, but Eros offers investors one of those rare opportunities.
The advantage of investing in Eros is pretty obvious -- at least to me. Based on the company's 2012 full-year report (link opens PDF), you can see that Eros is highly profitable and well diversified and is having no trouble expanding its media presence to television and other mobile venues. Eros released 77 films in 2012, and as I've said, the more times you swing the bat, the better chance you have of hitting a home run. In the movie industry, it only takes one winner to cancel out dozens of small losses.
In addition, Eros also partnered with Sony's (NYSE: SNE) entertainment division for the development of Bajatey Raho, a film released in July of last year. What this shows me is that Eros has the ability to forge partnerships with larger movie-production studios as needed to drive growth, which could also make it an intriguing takeover candidate.
With revenue growth expected to average around 15% over the next three years and the company trading at a forward P/E of less than 10, I believe Eros shares could be quite the bargain here.
Planting a seed for tomorrow
Put plainly, the case against genetically modified foods, or GMOs, has never been stronger. Food advocacy groups in the U.S. and certain other countries have focused on the lack of transparency surrounding GMOs, as well as their potential long-term effects on human health. The end result has been a considerably tougher sales environment for a company like Syngenta (NYSE: SYT) and its chief rival, Monsanto (NYSE: MON).
Today, however, I'd suggest that it could be time to put that skepticism on the back burner and begin looking at Syngenta as a viable investment opportunity.
One reason Syngenta simply makes sense is the fact that there are an estimated 870 million people around the world who are considered chronically undernourished, according to a study from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. One of the few ways we can reduce this is by dramatically improving crop yields with the agricultural land we're already cultivating. That's where companies like Syngenta and Monsanto come into play. Theoretically, we're looking at a multidecade overseas opportunity for both companies.
What makes Syngenta more attractive than Monsanto is simply its forward valuation and superior dividend. Monsanto holds the edge when it comes to its hefty net cash position, but Syngenta rewards its shareholders with a premium 2.3% yield, a lower book value relative to Monsanto, and a slightly lower forward P/E. With few GMO restrictions worldwide, I wouldn't allow anti-GMO rumors to keep you out of this cash flow juggernaut.
Is it nobler in the mind to suffer?
Fourth-quarter results for offshore deepwater oil rig contractor Noble (NYSE: NE) were strong, all things considered, as exploration and production companies looked to take advantage of oil prices that regularly topped $100 per barrel for West Texas Intermediate and Brent crude. For the quarter, Noble reported a 36% increase in EPS to $0.68 from the $0.50 reported in the year-ago period as its average dayrates rose to $212,000 from $194,600.
However, these results were marred by the fact that Noble issued cautionary statements about the deepwater drilling demand outlook for the first-half of 2014. With natural-gas prices rising thanks in part to extremely cold weather throughout the U.S., and exploration and production companies cutting back on capital expenditures, Noble could be left with a slightly higher-than-normal number of underutilized rigs. This, however, could be the opportunity that value investors have been waiting for.
The Obama administration has made clear that it would like the United States to become more, or completely, energy-independent, without the assistance of foreign oil. This means encouraging shale land development and exploring assets offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. While the Gulf might appear crowded, there should be decades of opportunity left for deep-sea drillers like Noble.
Noble's valuation is also incredibly attractive. Current estimates peg Noble at a forward P/E of seven, which I believe may be a bit too generous to last, given its forecast for weak contract growth in the first half of the year. However, anytime Noble has a trailing P/E and forward P/E below 10 (as it does now), I believe you're being given an incredible opportunity to buy into a cash flow juggernaut at a great value. With a dividend yield of 3% and strong daily rates, I'll be strongly considering Noble for a spot in my own portfolio.
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