You can always find some value stocks in every industry regardless of how high the markets are. That's because the markets aren't always rational, which means some fundamentally strong companies with growth catalysts intact might find themselves at the receiving end for no justifiable reasons, offering value investors a great chance to add deeply discounted stocks to their portfolios.
Right now, our contributors believe that Baidu (BIDU 3.40%), Acadia Pharmaceuticals (ACAD 0.68%), and Dycom Industries (DY -0.26%) look compelling after their recent price drops and deserve your attention right away. Here's why.
Baidu had a lousy quarter -- but it's got a great stock price
Rich Smith (Baidu): At a price tag of more than $187 a share, and a valuation 45 times trailing earnings, China's Baidu might not be the first name that springs to mind when you hear "value stock" -- but that's precisely what makes it a value stock you probably haven't thought of.
Still often referred to as "the Chinese Google," Baidu bears a lot of resemblance to the U.S. internet star (even if Google itself has changed its name). Like Google, Baidu is the dominant search engine in its home country. Like Google, Baidu makes much of its money selling ads tied to internet search. And like Google, Baidu has tried its hand at a whole series of related tech ventures, from artificial intelligence to e-commerce.
Unlike Google, Baidu has stumbled in recent months, with sales roughly flat year over year in first-quarter 2017 and quarterly profits down about 19%. That's compared to Alphabet's 22% revenue gain and 28% increase in the first-quarter earnings. Baidu's free cash flow declined roughly 10% year over year in the first quarter, which puts free cash flow for the past 12 months at $2.55 billion. That's a bit less than the $2.6 billion that Baidu generated last year -- but it's still nearly $900 million more cash profit than the $1.66 billion in "earnings" the company reported under GAAP.
So why does this make Baidu a value stock? At a market capitalization of $65.1 billion, but with $5 billion in net cash on its books, Baidu sports an enterprise value of only $60.1 billion and an enterprise value-to-free cash flow ratio of just 23.5. Compared to the stock's estimated long-term profits growth rate of 26%, this gives Baidu stock an EV/FCF/growth ratio of only 0.9, which is firmly in "value" territory.
The moral of this story: Don't be fooled by the seemingly high P/E ratio or the bad headlines surrounding Baidu today. At these prices, and with these prospects, Baidu really is a value stock -- even if you haven't thought of it that way lately.
Sometimes fundamentals are misleading
George Budwell (Acadia Pharmaceuticals): With its shares trading at 15.4 times the company's projected 2018 revenue, Acadia may not look like a particularly attractive value play.But there are some good reasons to think otherwise.
First off, the company's first commercial product -- Nuplazid for Parkinson's disease psychosis -- is off to a blazing start. In the first quarter of this year, for instance, Acadia reported that Nuplazid sales jumped by a healthy 28% to $15.3 million compared to the fourth quarter of 2016. Most importantly, the company said that 90% of commercial lives are now covered, and its sales force has been expanding by leaps and bounds in an effort to keep the momentum headed in the right direction.
At this rate, Nuplazid's sales are on track to more than quadruple this year, and are expected to more than double again next year. The point is that Acadia appears to have a potential megablockbuster on its hands -- even though it may take some time to get there.
The real reason Acadia's present valuation might be terribly misleading, though, is Nuplazid's ongoing studies that could lead to extremely lucrative label expansions into indications such as Alzheimer's disease agitation and schizophrenia. These upcoming clinical catalysts are a big reason why Wall Street has an implied upside potential of 61% for Acadia's shares over the next 12 months -- despite its already rich valuation based on the stock's underlying fundamentals.
That being said, Acadia's cash burn is likely to skyrocket as its clinical plans for Nuplazid unfold, and that may mean a secondary offering sometime down the road. Additionally, there's no guarantee that Nuplazid will become a bona fide franchise-level drug as many expect. This drug, after all, has a long way to go before being considered a commercial success. But if things do continue to go Acadia's way, this stock is undoubtedly an outright bargain at current levels and an overlooked value play.
More growth bandwidth than you might know
Neha Chamaria (Dycom Industries): The earnings season is the perfect hunting ground for traders, which is why you'll often find stocks surging or diving on earnings releases regardless of what the numbers are. That's exactly what happened with telecommunications infrastructure provider Dycom, which has lost nearly 17% value as of this writing since releasing its third-quarter numbers on May 24.
Consider that Dycom's third-quarter contract revenues -- it is a contracting service company -- improved 18% year over year with its organic revenue growing 14.9%, pushing its net income up by roughly 17% to $38.8 million. For the nine months ended April 29, Dycom reported 21% higher contract revenues and nearly 43% jump in net income.
Clearly, there's a disconnect between Dycom's numbers and the stock's reaction post-earnings, which is exactly where prudent investors like you can find value. Dycom is on solid footing, counting leading telecommunications companies like AT&T, Comcast, and CenturyLink among its key clients.
With telecom giants pulling out all stops to scale up their fiber-optics network, Dycom has tremendous growth opportunities ahead. The company is already growing at a strong pace, having earned double-digit returns each on equity and invested capital during the twelve months. At roughly 17 times trailing P/E and 10 times price to cash flows, Dycom is currently trading way below the industry and its five-year averages, offering thrifty investors with the perfect opportunity to scoop up some shares even as the market overlooks Dycom's potential.