The stock market of today is a far cry from the one of even 30 years ago. Gone are the days of information being held in the hands of a few, and practically needing to take out a second mortgage just to pay brokerage commissions.
Both in theory and in practice, those changes make the market more efficient. Companies that are overvalued or undervalued have fewer places to hide than they once did. But that doesn't mean the market is perfect.
Today, our analysts will tell you about why they think the market is under-estimating Hanesbrands (NYSE:HBI) and Helmerich & Payne (NYSE:HP), and giving too much credit to RH (NYSE:RH), formerly known as Restoration Hardware.
A beaten-down apparel stock
Tim Green (Hanesbrands): Shares of apparel manufacturer Hanesbrands have been in a steady decline since mid-2015. The company's quarterly reports have been inconsistent, and the ongoing turmoil in the retail industry is hurting its results. With store traffic getting weaker at many retailers, and with e-commerce soaking up an ever-larger percentage of total retail sales, Hanesbrands will need to adapt.
Hanesbrands has a lot going for it, though. It owns some well-known brands, including Hanes, Champion, and Playtex. Margins have been rising in recent years, with a gross margin of 37.8% and an operating margin of 12.9% in 2016. And its international and activewear businesses offer growth opportunities going forward, which could help offset sales declines in its innerwear segment.
After the market pummeling the stock has received over the past couple of years, shares of Hanesbrands trade for about 11 times analysts' estimates for 2017 adjusted earnings. The stock sports a nice dividend as well, currently yielding 2.8%.
Are there reasons to be hesitant to invest in Hanesbrands? Sure. Inconsistent results and slumping sales in the innerwear business are both problems. But I think the market is being far too pessimistic about this solid company.
Wall Street can't see past earnings numbers
Tyler Crowe (Helmerich & Payne): Even though oil and gas drilling activity has grown by leaps and bounds over the past year, share prices of land rig owner Helmerich & Payne have declined by double-digit percentages over that same time frame. Wall Street seems to think that this uptick in activity is about to plateau, and analysts haven't been too impressed with Helmerich & Payne's recent earnings results. Revenue is up 22% over the past six months, but those gains have yet to translate to better net income.
That inability to convert higher revenue into net income has some on Wall Street to conclude that this is as good as it gets for rig companies, but this hypothesis overlooks two important points. The first is that a lot of the higher spending that's cutting into Helmerich & Payne's net income relates to rig start-up and reactivation -- which are one-time expenditures. As the pace at which new rigs are put into the field moderates, these costs will diminish, which should improve bottom line results.
The other point that Wall Street seems to be ignoring is that Helmerich & Payne is taking market share from its peers. Before the crash, it held 14% of the overall land rig market in the U.S. Today, its share has grown to 19%, and it's poised to increase even more thanks to rising demand for high-specification rigs. H&P has more available high-specification rigs or rigs that can be easily upgraded to "super spec" requirements than all of its competitors combined. When producers need an additional rig, chances are Helmerich & Payne will be the first call.
Shares of Helmerich & Payne currently trade at a reasonable price-to- tangible-book-value of 1.3, and they also carry a dividend yield of 5.2%. That looks like a good price to pay for a great business.
A different approach leading to the same place
Brian Stoffel (RH): This company, formerly known as Restoration Hardware, has been trying furiously to escape the fate of many other retailers. While selling luxury home-goods does offer some level of protection against e-commerce -- people like to physically try out furniture and the like before they buy it -- it isn't completely immune.
That led management to double-down on its point of differentiation by transitioning to a heavier brick-and-mortar presence -- dubbed Design Galleries -- while initiating a mandatory membership program. While the company posted comps of 9% in the most recent quarter, that wasn't enough to stop the market from sending shares down 25%.
The key concern is where the growth is coming from: much lower-margin outlet sales. Even though revenue estimates were guided up for the year, profit is expected to go in the opposite direction. That's never a good sign.
Throw in the fact that the company is run by a CEO who loves to blame all of the company's woes on outside forces, pays himself a $24 million bonus as the share price craters , and trades for 37 times earnings, and I believe you have a stock that Wall Street is giving far too much credit to.
While I'm not a fan of shorting stocks -- the potential losses are unlimited -- I believe investors would do better ignoring RH and focusing instead on the two companies my colleagues talked about moving forward.