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.
Plenty of paw-tential
Move over, optimists: A stampede of short-sellers have taken over the aisles of your local PetSmart (NASDAQ:PETM) following the release of the company's first-quarter earnings results last week.
For the quarter, PetSmart reported earnings growth of 6.1% as significant share buybacks helped push profits up. Net sales rose by a modest 1.1% as comparable-store sales (which measures stores open for at least a year) fell 0.6% as the number of total transactions dipped 2.2%. Furthermore, the company slightly lowered its full-year EPS guidance below Wall Street's expectations and announced that it'd be removing China-based pet treats from its shelves by March 2015 based on concerns that they could be making pets sick.
What's to blame for the dip in PetSmart's same-store sales? Increasing online competition, for one. In a struggle faced by many other big-box retailers, consumers can come into PetSmart and use it as a showroom for products they can later buy online for a slightly undercut price point. Another concern is the generally tough economic environment. Although low lending rates are fueling businesses to expand, it's not as if we're seeing consumers out there spending in force.
However, I suspect this latest sell-off could represent the perfect time to buy into one of the steadiest growing long-term trends around: pet ownership.
Based on data from the American Pet Products Association, annual pet product expenditures have essentially doubled since 2001 to what was an estimated $55 billion last year. This pie is growing large enough and fast enough that PetSmart, Petco, and its other rivals have reasonable ways to grow their business without stepping on each other's toes.
Secondly, despite online purchases being a threat, I can speak firsthand as a pet owner that being able to communicate face-to-face with someone knowledgeable when I have a question is considerably more valuable than the $0.10 per can I'd save by purchasing my cat food online. Convenience is normally paramount when it comes to retail purchases, but when our health or the health of our pets is involved, that tale gets tossed out the window.
Finally -- and I'm going to again speak from firsthand experience here -- pets over the past couple of decades have generally become less like companions and more like members of the American family. Most pet owners will do just about anything to ensure the health and safety of their pets, including giving them the best foods, toys, and other accessories. Trust me, I just took home a four-page vet bill ensuring my 14 1/2-year-old cat received the best possible care for her ailments. Long story short, as pets become enshrined in the American household, PetSmart's pricing power and its classification as almost a basic-needs product supplier increases. Over time, this should prove quite beneficial to investors.
This "cloudy" future is becoming clearer
I think we'd be shortchanging ourselves as investors if we didn't admit that we have biases toward certain sectors. One that I admit I tend to avoid as a value investor are cloud-computing companies. Most cloud companies aren't profitable and are expanding willy-nilly with no regard to costs. There are just too many similarities to the dot-com bubble with many of these cloud product providers, so I generally avoid the sector.
Today, though, I'm planning to make an exception with 8x8 (NASDAQ:EGHT), a software-as-a-service provider of cloud-based unified communications and virtual contact center solutions to small and medium-sized businesses.
The latest quarter for 8x8 brought with it mixed feelings for investors. On one hand, total revenue spiked higher by 29% to a record $35.8 million, and the company improved its year-over-year profit to an adjusted $0.04 per share from $0.03 per share. However, Wall Street wasn't nearly as pleased with fiscal 2016 estimates coming down considerably since this report to a fresh estimate of $0.19 per share from what had been a projection of $0.24 in EPS just a week ago.
While some traders are running for cover, I'd suggest digging deeper and maybe even pulling the trigger on 8x8 shares.
As with most cloud-based SaaS companies, it's all about the ability to move away from licensed revenue and generating recurring subscription revenue. As 8x8 notes in its fourth-quarter report, channel and mid-market sales represented 39% of new monthly recurring revenue, which was a 47% jump from the year-ago quarter. More importantly, the average monthly service revenue and average number of subscribed services per business customer rose by 12% and 8.3%, respectively. This means its pricing power remains strong and its existing customers are even less likely to deal with the hassle of switching to a competitor.
Also, don't discount the fact that 8x8 has been profitable for five straight years. You may be able to find cloud-based companies growing by 30% per year but their losses are expected to extend for another two or three years. 8x8 gives investors instant profits now, and it does so with a whopping $178.4 million in cash, cash equivalents, and investments on its balance sheet. That's quite helpful when you realize that 8x8 has no debt! In other words, 8x8 is well-funded and still small enough to use its cash to better position itself for success in the unified communications space.
All the signs point to SINA
Sticking with our theme of poor earnings reports driving companies to new 52-week lows, we have China-based social-media company SINA (NASDAQ:SINA), which, along with its recent spinoff Weibo (NASDAQ:WB), hit the deck this past week.
For the quarter, SINA produced substantial adjusted revenue growth of 38% to $167.3 million as a surge in online advertising drove the bulk of the gains. Non-advertising revenue moved higher, in comparison, by just 17% to an adjusted $31.6 million. What we need to keep in mind, though, is that Weibo is still 57% owned by SINA, so it still factors substantially into SINA's results. Without Weibo, there's not a lot of growth for SINA, which became readily apparent with the company's second-quarter adjusted revenue forecast of $177 million-$182 million, which fell a mile short of the $198 million that Wall Street expected.
Some traders will certainly view this earnings miss as a reason to avoid SINA in its entirety. However, ignoring SINA at these already depressed levels means completely ignoring Weibo's growth potential and possibly leaving billions in cash on the table.
One of the great allures of SINA has always been its cash. As of the latest quarter SINA's cash, short-term, and long-term investments totaled about $1.8 billion compared to its $800 million in convertible debt. All told, SINA sports about $1 billion in fairly liquid assets. But as Foolish contributor Brian Nichols (who happens to be a SINA shareholder) noted over the weekend, this analysis excludes the fact that SINA could liquidate its Weibo holdings and generate more than $2.1 billion in cash. Therefore, by my calculations SINA is sitting on a value equal to its current market cap in cash and cash equivalents. Of course, if SINA were to liquidate its holdings, Weibo shares would likely fall, but this current valuation completely ignores any chance of growth for either SINA or Weibo.
That brings me to my next point: Weibo is growing like wildfire! The company's monthly active users surged 34% year over year to 143.8 million as net revenue rose 161% to $67.5 million and its adjusted net loss fell by more than three-quarters to just $4.8 million. This is SINA's ticket to growth. As Weibo's metrics grow and it inches toward profitability, the value of SINA could easily climb as well. In essence, just because Weibo was spun off doesn't mean it doesn't still exert a positive effect on SINA's valuation.
I'd suggest value hunting, but risk-taking investors should give SINA a closer look.
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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