With U.S. stock markets trading near their all-time highs, many companies' valuations have become a bit stretched. But there are always bargains to be found if you are willing to turn over enough rocks. We asked a team of Fools to highlight a stock trading near its 52-week low that they think is worth buying today. Read on to see why they picked American Outdoor Brands (NASDAQ:AOBC), Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD), CVS Health (NYSE:CVS), and Ford (NYSE:F).
This stock is under fire, but it's fighting back
Dan Caplinger (American Outdoor Brands): American Outdoor Brands isn't a familiar name to most investors, but the company formerly known as Smith & Wesson is well known as a premier gun manufacturer. The company decided to change its name to highlight that it makes a variety of other products in addition to its extensive gun offerings, such as laser sighting systems, knives, tree saws, and tactical lighting products. Moreover, American Outdoor Brands produces gun vaults and accessories, along with gunsmithing and reloading tools.
American Outdoor Brands has seen its stock fall recently, in large part because of the results of the U.S. presidential election in November. Many believed that the stock would climb if the Democratic candidate had won, with expectations of stricter gun control restrictions leading many gun enthusiasts to make purchases prior to any such regulations taking effect. However, with the victory of President Trump, the urgency among gun buyers is gone, and investors fear that American Outdoor Brands will see sales suffer as a result.
However, American Outdoor Brands' strategy to emphasize its broader product line should help it sustain growth in the long run. Even if sales fall now, American Outdoor Brands has the quality and brand awareness to prosper for long-term investors.
The cash to cure what ails it
Matt DiLallo (Gilead Sciences): Shares of biotech giant Gilead Sciences have stumbled over the past year, dropping more than 35%. The stock recently hit another 52-week low after reporting disappointing fourth-quarter earnings, with no clear signs of a turnaround in sight. The culprit is declining sales of its hepatitis C franchise, which isn't expected to turn around anytime soon.
That said, Gilead still managed to generate a whopping $16.7 billion of operating cash flow last year. It returned most of that cash to shareholders, buying back $11 billion in stock and paying $2.5 billion in dividends. The company also recently increased the dividend by 10% thanks to that copious cash flow. Even with those increasing shareholder returns, the company was able to add to its cash position, which stood at $32.4 billion at the end of last year.
That cash position might be just the medicine that cures the company's ailing sales because it could use it to make a meaningful acquisition, such as acquiring a company with a compelling late-stage drug pipeline or a fast-selling drug. If Gilead can find the right deal, it could halt the stock's slide by giving investors a reason to be optimistic that sales can grow once again.
Political attention = opportunity
Brian Feroldi (CVS Health): Changes are coming to the Affordable Care Act, while politicians have been accusing pharmacy benefit managers such as CVS Health for driving up the cost of drugs. Mix in competitive pressure that caused the company to cut its guidance, and it is easy to understand why CVS's shares have been tossed into the discount bin.
While 2017 looks as if it's going to be a wash, I can't help feeling good about this company's prospects over the long term. Baby boomers are retiring in droves, which should drive prescription volume growth for years to come. CVS Health's in-store MinuteClinics are a hit with consumers, and there's plenty of room left for expansion. The Target and Omnicare integrations are going well, and sales of specialty drugs are growing nicely. That's a lot of good things happening for a stock trading near its 52-week low.
Meanwhile, the company continues to crank out cash flow that it generously passes back to shareholders in the form of a rising dividend and share buybacks. Yet CVS Health's depressed share price has pulled its valuation down to 13.5 times forward earnings. With a strong competitive position and a market-beating yield of 2.5%, this is a terrific stock to buy at today's dirt-cheap valuation.
The forgotten automaker
Travis Hoium (Ford): Automakers not named Tesla are having a hard time getting any love in today's stock market. Ford has made vast improvements in the quality and attractiveness of its vehicles since the recession subsided, and now it's churning profits quarter after quarter. And no one seems to care.
What's impressive about Ford today is that it's profiting from the market's trends (SUVs and trucks) while investing in future technologies such as electric vehicles and autonomous driving. Don't mistake the fact that Ford isn't showing off the latest 0-to-60 times as a sign that it's falling behind: Ford is working on autonomous vehicles in a big way.
The company recently showed off its second-generation autonomous Ford Fusion, a surprisingly normal-looking vehicle, and invested $1 billion in Argo AI to develop commercial ride-sharing fleets by 2021. On top of that, 90 autonomous Ford Fusions will be on the road this year across the U.S. and potentially Europe, refining autonomous technology.
Ford is a leading automaker of the future, while still being a cash machine today. And that's a big reason investors should love the stock near its 52-week low.