"Price is what you pay. Value is what you get."
-- Warren Buffett
And right now, some of America's biggest and best-known companies are also some of the lowest profits/earnings (P/E) stocks on the planet. But are they good values? That's the question.
In our latest exercise in dumpster diving, this month we've honed in on the top 10 -- er, bottom 10 -- deep value "bargains" on the NYSE stock exchange. Using the free stock screening software available on finviz.com, and focusing our search exclusively on blue chip, large-cap companies, we've uncovered a heaping helping of potential investments in the $10-billion-and-up-market range.
Here are three that might interest you.
Ford Motor Co.
Ford (F 1.29%): It's a brand you trust, and a name you know. But did you know that Ford stock is also cheap?
Priced at 5.4 times trailing earnings today, Ford is the most "expensive" of the three lowest P/E stocks we'll look at today. But even so, think about what that means: Buy a share of Ford today and you'll pay $12 and change.
But Ford stock earned $2.12 per share last year. This means that, if Ford merely earns the same amount of profit this year and next year and the year after that -- if it doesn't grow its profits at all -- then in 5.4 years, Ford will have earned back for you all the money you spent to buy the stock. (And you'll also have the stock).
And it gets better. Instead of just earning $2.12 per year, year in and year out, analysts surveyed by Finviz believe Ford will, in fact, grow its earnings by an average of 9% per year over the next five years. What that works out to, in valuation terms, is a PEG ratio (P/E divided by earnings growth rate) of just 0.6. That's 40% below the magic PEG ratio of 1.0 that many investors use as the benchmark for a value stock -- a wide margin of safety indeed.
If Ford stock looks cheap, then General Motors (GM -0.10%) appears even cheaper -- and I'd argue it is cheaper. Selling for just four times trailing earnings, General Motors stock is pegged for better than 10% annual long-term earnings growth -- a prospect made all the more likely by the company's impending introduction of a new "Bolt" electric vehicle boasting better range than Tesla's ballyhooed Model 3.
That means that GM stock is selling for an even steeper discount than Ford, with a PEG ratio of just 0.4. Meanwhile, both companies pay dividend yields that are very similar -- and generous -- at roughly 4.9% per annum.
Korea Electric Power
Speaking of dividends, let's wrap up with a quick look at one of investors' favorite places to look for rich dividends: utilities stocks.
Here, our hunt for value today takes us all the way to South Korea, where electric utility Korea Electric Power (KEP -1.24%) is arguably the lowest P/E stock (of large size) on the planet today, and also pays a better dividend than you'll find at either Ford or GM. Priced at just 2.5 times trailing earnings, Korea Electric looks like a great stock to buy. It may even be a great stock to buy, but that depends largely on what you're looking for in an investment.
You see, Korea Electric owes its low P/E ratio primarily to the fact that it made a large -- and profitable -- asset sale late last year, which temporarily boosted its profits. Once that big splash of earnings ebbs away, however, the company is likely to become a bit less profitable. Analysts quoted on S&P Global Market Intelligence estimate that earnings will drop from more than $18 (last year) to less than $12 (this year), and then more or less hold steady thereafter.
Assuming the analysts are right, this will still leave Korea Electric stock selling for a very attractive cheap P/E ratio in the low 4s after its earnings decline. It won't grow its profits much going forward, and in fact, will see profits decline by quite a lot this year. But so long as you're prepared to stomach the earnings drop, Korea Electric's low valuation, combined with its very generous 5.4% dividend yield, makes Korea Electric stock well worth looking into.