3 Stocks Near 52-Week Lows Worth Buying

Do these three fallen angels deserve a second chance? You be the judge!

May 13, 2014 at 1:45PM

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.

Do the robot
The past year hasn't exactly given shareholders of Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ:ISRG), the manufacturer of the da Vinci robotic surgical system, any reason to dance, but I suspect it may soon be time for investors to "do the robot."

Da Vinci Surgical
Source: Intuitive Surgical.

Intuitive Surgical's first quarter wasn't pretty. The company reported a year-over-year revenue decline of 24% to $465 million. Units sold declined by close to half -- just 87 in total -- and systems revenue sank 59% to $106 million. It was also the first quarter in which Intuitive Surgical blamed a reduction in procedures and uncertainty associated with Obamacare for the poor capital-spending environment. Not to mention, the Food and Drug Administration is still reviewing Intuitive's lead product, the da Vinci surgical system, to establish the validity of its benefits and safety versus standard laparoscopic surgery.

Like I said, not a memorable quarter unless you were a short-seller. However, the tide could be changing.

Consider that Obamacare enrollments totaled over 8 million people as of May 1 according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Higher-than-expected enrollment should reduce the concern hospital operators had regarding their capital spending and could lead to a surge in sales of da Vinci systems. Remember, these systems run close to $2 million apiece, so they're no drop in the bucket!

Also keep in mind that Intuitive Surgical dominates the soft tissue surgical space. No competitor has anywhere near as many surgical systems installed in hospitals, so its pricing power and innovative capacity are practically unparalleled.

In addition, the number of complaints regarding the safety of the da Vinci surgical system has increased in proportion to the number of total procedures performed. In other words, the surgical system appears to be just as safe now as it was years ago, when the company was selling less sophisticated models and physicians were performing far fewer procedures.

With its newest model, the da Vinci Xi, unveiled the same day as its earnings release, I believe Intuitive has a number of key catalysts that can drive its share price higher.

Go with the trend
Sometimes the trend really is your friend, which is why it might be in your best interests to consider online foreign exchange trading service FXCM (NYSE:FXCM) as a company worth your investing while.

Usa Dollar Bill

Source: Geralt, Pixabay.

Like Intuitive Surgical, FXCM face-planted in the first quarter. Revenue of $115 million was 6% lower than in the prior-year period, but somehow it still managed to slide past Wall Street estimates that hovered around $107 million. The wheels fell off the wagon, though, when FXCM only reported a profit of $0.07 per share when $0.12 per share was expected. Furthermore, the company highlighted a 32% drop in retail customer trading volume in April 2014 compared to April 2013, and only a 1% increase in institutional trading volume over the same period. 

What's the culprit, you wonder? It's actually a near-record low in foreign exchange currency readings that are causing normally volatility-hungry retail investors to stay on the sidelines. As retail trading volume has dried up, so has FXCM's near-term outlook.

The good news is that if you play the historical trend here (i.e., volatility tends to be higher than it is now) you're likely to ride FXCM's share price upward as it benefits from a surge in volatility -- or at least a return to its historical average. Keep in mind that institutional investing volume, based on its April data, is rising, potentially signaling that big money is betting on a return to a higher volatility environment.

FXCM isn't particularly expensive even with its reduced outlook. At just 15 times forward earnings, and with a dividend yield rapidly approaching 2%, this foreign exchange servicer could be a perfect hedge bet for your portfolio.

Let it snow, let it snow!
Rounding out the trio of earnings disappointments is snowmobile and all-terrain vehicle manufacturer Arctic Cat (NASDAQ:ACAT). As a cyclical play, the company struggled this winter as the polar vortex arrived a bit too late to boost its sales, while Arctic Cat was also stuck with an unfavorable ATV product mix (likely a result of lower-priced, lower-margin ATVs selling). 

Arctic Cat delivered a very modest increase in fiscal third-quarter sales to $225.8 million, from $218 million in the year-ago period, but was forced to lower its full-year outlook to an earnings-per-share range of $2.90-$3 from a previous forecast of $3.27-$3.37, and $740 million-$750 million in revenue compared to its prior projection of $754 million-$768 million. 

Some might see this as a reason to jump ship, but I believe Arctic Cat's previously steady growth prospects and historic trends make it an intriguing buy candidate here.

Product innovation is the main driver for Arctic Cat, and new products are generally not introduced in the third quarter. Arctic Cat's management team appears confident that this upcoming fiscal year will lead to fresh top-line growth heralded by the introduction of new products, including the Wildcat Trail, its brand-new ATV that went on sale in December but is expected to see the bulk of its first sales hit this coming quarter.

Investors should also keep in mind that a lot of the factors that plagued its third-quarter results aren't long-term concerns. A hit for lower margins associated with its deal with Yamaha was absorbed this quarter and shouldn't be a surprise to investors or Wall Street, while its push to bring ATV sales side-by-side with snowmobile sales should help reduce overall business cyclicality.

At just 11 times forward earnings, and with a growth rate projected to be near 10%, I would suggest this all-weather stock could be worth a deeper dive.

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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.

The Motley Fool owns shares of, and recommends Intuitive Surgical and Amazon.com. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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