Some stocks take a fall and stay down. Others get ready to bounce back. The turnaround hopefuls that make it back to full health can make investors rich in a hurry -- but only if you knew to buy them at a huge discount, long before the actual bounce started happening.
To help you set a few of these spring-loaded turnaround stories apart from the truly doomed plungers, we asked three veteran Motley Fool contributors to share their best rebound ideas right now. Read on to see why they picked Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC), TripAdvisor (NASDAQ:TRIP), and Synchrony Financial (NYSE:SYF).
The community is still thriving
Brian Feroldi (TripAdvisor): Online travel review site TripAdvisor hasn't been a fun stock to hold over the past two years. Slowing top-line growth and higher spending have taken a toll on the company's bottom line. In turn, growth investors have been abandoning the stock en masse, driving the share price down more than 58% from its 2014 highs.
Why has TripAdvisor's growth engine stalled? You can blame that on the company's decision to roll out its Instant Booking platform. The feature allows users to book their accommodations without leaving the company's site. The move was expected to enhance the consumer experience and drive revenue and profit growth for TripAdvisor.
Thus far, the story hasn't played out as management has expected. However, I don't think investors should abandon TripAdvisor's stock just yet. My reasoning is that the company's platform continues to thrive. Last quarter TripAdvisor's sites logged an average of 390 million unique visitors per month, which proves that the site still remains wildly popular. In addition, the company just announced that more than 500 million reviews have been listed on its site. That huge database of reviews should continue to make TripAdvisor the go-to place for travelers.
Looking ahead, TripAdvisor's growth engine looks poised to restart as consumers become more familiar with Instant Booking and the company continues to find new ways to monetize its valuable platform. If true, then it wouldn't surprise me to see Wall Street fall back in love with this beaten-down growth stock.
The calm before the storm
Anders Bylund (Ericsson): Shares of Swedish telecom equipment and services veteran LM Ericsson have been losing altitude since April of 2015, dropping nearly 50% in two years.
Armed with an overhauled management team and a tighter strategic focus, the company looks ready to build a strong turnaround story here.
Ericsson is selling off non-essential operations such as its unprofitable media and cloud-services segments. Instead, the company is doubling down on a smaller set of core competencies, including 5G wireless systems, cloud-computing hardware, and products supporting the Internet of Things.
At the same time, Ericsson's business has suffered in recent quarters as large telecoms around the world slowed down their network upgrades in anticipation of the imminent 5G technology shift. Major markets such as India and the U.S. recently completed large spectrum auctions in preparation for this sea change, and Ericsson will most certainly grab a large portion of that brand-new market. Some test systems have already been installed in places such as China, the Netherlands, and Latvia. Ericsson is a leading developer of the 5G standards, already building experience with technologies not yet ready for mass-market installations.
It's like a tsunami. Before the huge wave hits shore, waters will recede for a while. Ericsson is staring down some huge growth opportunities right now, but the ultra-calm markets before the 5G storm can be deceiving.
Oh, and that's just the 5G wireless growth driver. Don't forget about Ericsson's IoT and cloud-computing opportunities. Lather, rinse, repeat.
This stock is going places, and soon.
A credit giant that took a temporary stumble
Chuck Saletta (Synchrony Financial): You may not know Synchrony Financial by name, but if you have a store-branded credit card, there's a very good chance you're using one of its products. Both Lowe's and Amazon.com, for instance, can count themselves among the myriad of businesses that Synchrony Financial provides private label cards for. And as the largest private-label credit card company in the United States, there are certainly more out there.
Synchrony has been operating for over 80 years -- albeit much of that time as part of General Electric -- which means it has survived all sorts of economic downturns in addition to last decade's financial crisis. Despite that long history and strong partnerships with leading companies, Synchrony's shares took a significant tumble when it reported its most recent quarter's earnings in late April.
That tumble was somewhat deserved, as earnings came in below expectations because of higher debt charge-offs and reserves for future charge-offs. Still, that tumble looks as if it may have been a bit overdone, as after the decline, Synchrony could be purchased for around 10 times trailing and 9 times expected forward-looking earnings. At that level, the market is pricing in substantial further future credit weakness.
Unless we're really headed for another credit crunch-driven recession, at prices near that level, Synchrony Financial looks like a beaten-down stock with real potential to bounce back.
Anders Bylund owns shares of Amazon. Brian Feroldi owns shares of Amazon and TripAdvisor. Chuck Saletta owns shares of General Electric and has the following options positions on Synchrony Financial: Jan. 2019 Synthetic Long @$28 and June 2017 Short Strangle @$26/$30. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon and TripAdvisor. The Motley Fool owns shares of General Electric. The Motley Fool recommends Lowe's and Synchrony Financial. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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