Just as we examine companies each week that may be rising past their fair values, we can also find companies trading at what may be bargain prices. While many investors would rather have nothing to do with stocks 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.
It's a zoo out there
This is one of those picks that I never thought I'd actually be bullish on. But it just goes to show that you shouldn't fall in love, or hate, with a company, but rather assess it objectively as times change. So today, following its grim first-quarter report, I'm going to suggest we give Travelzoo (NASDAQ:TZOO) a closer inspection.
For the quarter the aggregator of global travel deals saw revenue decline by 5% to $40.2 million as operating profit dipped 13% to just $7 million. The primarily culprit was a 12% year-over-year drop in North American revenue, which was partially offset by a 13% rise in European revenue.
These results did not meet management's expectations, and shareholders shouldn't be thrilled, either. The drop in the share price is understandable, and it's also a potentially intriguing buying opportunity for a few reasons.
First, Travelzoo's foreign growth, so long as it remains in the double-digits, could become the company's primary revenue-growth driver within three to four years. This is important because the travel deals market beyond the U.S. borders has far less competition -- and thus the opportunity for ongoing double-digit growth. Whereas Expedia and Priceline essentially own the North American market, there's still plenty of space outside of North America for Travelzoo to leave its footprint.
Second, Travelzoo is doing a good job of transitioning to a mobile platform, but that won't happen without a hiccup or two. As the company noted in its first-quarter results, it completely revamped its mobile hotel-booking platform to create a more seamless process for mobile users. Although its mobile capital expenditures might appear to be a bottom-line drag at the moment, these investments will be well worth it in 2015 and beyond.
Finally, Travelzoo has a very cost-effective operating structure with minimal assets. Most of its expenses come from marketing, advertising, and research and development to develop that improved mobile-booking system. I'd say that leaves the profitable Travelzoo as a possible acquisition target, as it generates beefy margins but may lack the capital needed to reach the next level in quick fashion. It also doesn't hurt that the company has $61 million in cash and no debt, which I'd argue makes it even more attractive to a potential suitor.
For anyone looking for a way to take advantage of travel industry growth outside of the U.S., I'd suggest taking Travelzoo for a whirl.
A lustrous buy
Consider this something of a "double-down," as I've featured this gold miner before, but I would consider taking last week's sell-off in Yamana Gold (NYSE:AUY) as all the more reason to mine this company a bit further.
The weakness in Yamana is twofold. First, Yamana's production was down 6% in its most recent quarter. Its production decline puts it well behind a number of its peers that have actually seen gold output grow despite the weakness in year-over-year metal prices.
Second, there's the ongoing battle between the consortium of Yamana Gold and Agnico Eagle Mines versus Goldcorp for the rights to buy Quebec-based Osisko Mining. Last week, the pair outbid Goldcorp and offered to pay $3.5 billion in cash for Osisko. With the need to offer debt financing for a portion of the deal, some Yamana shareholders believe the price may be a bit steep and bid shares lower on the news.
Yamana Gold is the best miner from a statistical perspective, as I established last week. It boasts one of the lowest debt-to-equity ratios around and can use its byproducts to offset the costs of gold production, giving it one of the lowest-cost mining operations in the industry.
Gold prices could also be on the verge of another run higher, given the recent uncertainty swirling around growth in U.S. markets, ongoing political tensions between Russia and Ukraine, and the World Gold Council's forecast for a 20% increase in China's private-sector gold demand. Investors often forget that aside from being just a hedge, gold prices are influenced by supply and demand -- and the demand side of the equation looks good for the yellow metal.
Yamana is also reasonably priced at 17 times forward earnings considering that higher metal prices and existing mine expansion should yield 13% revenue growth in each of the next two years. With the company valued at just 85% of its book value, I'd consider digging in.
Big money in rentals
Lastly, we have the relatively new residential real estate investment trust Silver Bay Realty Trust (NYSE:SBY).
Silver Bay Realty isn't your typical residential REIT, as its purpose isn't to buy or build large apartment communities and then rent them out. Instead, Silver Bay acquires and rents single-family homes throughout the U.S. There are advantages and disadvantages to this. Having fewer properties means the company needs to either go into debt or issue dilutive shares in order to expand its portfolio and purchase more homes. On the other hand, homes are a lot easier to dispose of than apartment communities, meaning Silver Bay's portfolio is more fluid than your traditional residential REIT.
Although the company is wet behind the ears, Silver Bay's plan could work wonders over the coming years. The Federal Reserve winding down of quantitative easing means there will presumably fewer long-term Treasuries being purchased. Since bonds prices and bond yields move in opposite directions this could lead to a drop in prices and a rise in yields. Higher yields could yield higher mortgage rates which may keep prospective homebuyers locked into the rental cycle, playing right into Silver Bay's hands.
We're beginning to see that strength, with Silver Bay's aggregate occupancy rising from roughly 50% in the first quarter of 2013 to end the year at 88%. Best of all, as a REIT, Silver Bay Realty will pay 90% or more of its earnings out in the form of a dividend to shareholders in exchange for preferential tax treatment.
At about 30 times forward earnings it's not exactly the cheapest REIT on the block, but that's mainly because its operations are still ramping up. Once this dividend really begins to kick in, I suspect investors will discover a well-oiled and innovative machine.
Even these three companies rebound, they may not outpace our top stock for 2014
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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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