Draft These Top Stocks for Winning Returns

If I'm a little fried today, it's because last night, I spent three-and-a-half hours at a friend's house drafting my fantasy football team for the 2009 season. (Yawns, reaches for coffee.)

But this is a good tired. I love fantasy football for the same reasons my Foolish editors do:

  1. It's an intellectually stimulating way to enjoy the football season.
  2. It's eerily reminiscent of the stock-picking process.

Don't take my word for it. "Before you make any decision -- who to draft, trade, start and sit -- make sure you are following that basic principle; how risky is this move, does it give me the best chance to win?" writes ESPN fantasy analyst Matthew Berry in his annual manifesto.

Berry isn't talking about stocks, but he may as well be. Value is value. Winning fantasy players get fourth-round value from eighth-round picks -- hello, Donovan McNabb. And market-beating investors buy oversold stocks for $0.50 on the dollar.

These are the Fools who knew that Americans wouldn't simply stop buying cars in a recession. They also knew that Ford (NYSE: F  ) wasn't GM, even if it was priced that way. They've since been rewarded.

Fishing for the market's eighth-rounders
Bargains can be found anywhere, really. For this column -- and to borrow a line from Berry, because I'm a company man -- let's use the Motley Fool CAPS screener to find Mr. Market's eighth-rounders. Here's what we're looking for:

  • A minimum $250 million market cap, because we don't draft unsigned free agents.
  • A price-to-earnings (PE) ratio of less than 12, because we're not interested in players that everyone else loves.
  • A 10% or better return on equity (ROE), because we want proof that this stock can play at the level we require from it.
  • A 20% or worse haircut in price over the past year, because we're bargain hunters.

Today's screen returned 120 candidates that could be worthy of filling roster spots in your portfolio. These six possess a track record of superior returns on shareholder equity:

Company

52-Week Price Change

PE Ratio

ROE

Interactive Brokers Group (Nasdaq: IBKR  )

(26.2%)

10.6

38.7%

Nokia (NYSE: NOK  )

(27.2%)

10.2

28.1%

General Dynamics (NYSE: GD  )

(26.8%)

9.9

22.3%

WESCO International

(35.6%)

6.9

19.2%

Navios Maritime (NYSE: NM  )

(41.7%)

4.5

13.8%

National Oilwell Varco (NYSE: NOV  )

(34.8%)

8.7

13.5%

Sources: CAPS, Yahoo! Finance. Price change from 9/12/08 through 9/9/09.

Of these, I'd draft Nokia. The world's leading smartphone maker may not impress the iHorde here in North America, but globally, Nokia is a sought-after brand. India and China love its phones. A recent deal with Microsoft   (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) for Office Mobile should bring hugs from customers who want a more business-savvy handset.

Mostly, though, Nokia is a by-the-numbers sleeper. As my Foolish colleague John Ballard, known here in Fooldom as TMFmrquakeroats, wrote yesterday:

High quality wireless company. Good cash flows. Attractive valuation. Above average dividend yield. High return on equity.

I agree, which is why I own shares of Nokia and have for years. What do you think? Would you draft Nokia for your portfolio team? Let us know by signing up for CAPS today. It's 100% free to participate.

More bargain basement Foolishness:

Interactive Brokers and National Oilwell Varco are Stock Advisor selections. General Dynamics, Microsoft, and Nokia are Inside Value picks. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers owned shares of Nokia at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. The Motley Fool is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. The Fool's disclosure policy is no fantasy, Fool. It's 100% natural, fresh-baked disclosure-y goodness.


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