Yes, you can still find stocks for a bargain these days. It's just getting harder to find them because the overall market is trading at such a premium right now. If you want to do a little digging in some out-of-favor sectors, though, you can find some diamonds in the rough.
Three companies that look like bargain stocks worth considering for your own portfolio are Textainer Group Holdings (NYSE:TGH), Boardwalk Pipeline Partners (NYSE:BWP), and First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR). Here's a brief rundown of why they currently trade at such low prices and why that could be an opportunity.
It's only a flesh wound
Shares of shipping container fleet manager Textainer have been on the ropes for the past several years as the global shipping industry hit a rough patch. Its stock is down more than 55% over the past three years and trades at a price to tangible book value of 0.77 times. What this metric suggests is that Textainer as a company is worth $0.77 on the dollar if it were to call it a day and liquidate the business.
In the middle of last year, Textainer and other shipping container companies were in the middle of a period of oversupply. To make matters worse, however, one of Textainer's largest clients -- Hanjin Shipping -- filed for bankruptcy. This bankruptcy has led to losses of revenue, impairment charges, and management has spent a lot of time trying to recover its leased containers. As of the most recent quarter, it had recovered 88% and was negotiating for the release of another 5%.
As bad as this string of events have had on the company's stock, it hasn't caused a mortal wound and the market for containers is on the mend. According to the most recent investor presentation, the average lease for a container equivalent unit is 83% higher than the bottom in 2016 and sales prices for used containers taken out of service have almost doubled.
Shipping and containers are inherently cyclical businesses, and it appears that the business is reemerging from a cyclical downturn. At today's stock price, Textainer looks like a bargain bet on the container market rebound.
Suffering from a 2014 decision
Oil and gas pipeline companies typically trade for a premium because they provide steadily growing income and have relatively stable business models. Boardwalk Pipeline Partners' stock doesn't even sell at a premium. In fact, by just about every valuation metric, it trades at an incredible discount to its peers and even trades at below tangible book value like Textainer.
A lot of that discount is related to a fateful decision back in 2014 when management elected to cut its payout to shareholders by 75% and hasn't raised it since. If you look at why the company did it, though, it makes sense. Boardwalk has a network of natural gas pipelines that connect the Mid-Atlantic region with the Gulf Coast, which sounds perfect today with natural gas coming out of the Marcellus shale. The problem was that Boardwalk's pipes were designed to flow in the other direction, so it needed to spend loads of money to reverse those flows and make its network more applicable to today's natural gas market dynamics.
The distribution cut was necessary to free up cash for investment and to keep its debt levels low. If you look at the company today, though, it is close to getting back to a point where it can raise its payout again. It is about to complete one of its largest capital investment projects, and its balance sheet is looking in much better shape. Chances are, its payout will be back on the upswing by this time next year.
For those investors willing to pick up shares on the cheap today and wait for a distribution increase, Boardwalk could be a great opportunity.
Still cheap after a rally
So far in 2017, shares of First Solar and other solar power stocks have been on a tear. After a rough 2016, when there was an oversupply of panels and subsequent pricing pressure, the industry is back on a fast-growth track with attractive prices for new panels & projects. As a result, First Solar's stock is up 50% year to date.
Typically, a stock rally that big means that the stock has returned to a normal valuation, but that doesn't seem to be the case with First Solar's stock. Shares still trade below tangible book value and at an enterprise value to EBITDA of just 2.87 times. This suggests that there is still quite a bit of room to run for this solar stock.
Perhaps the one thing keeping Wall Street away from this stock is the fact that the company is in the middle of a major retooling of its manufacturing facilities. Customers are enamored with its new Series 6 panels, and so management decided to accelerate the schedule to convert its facilities to produce Series 6 panels. The complete turnover of its facilities should be complete in the first half of 2018 and should usher in even higher margins. But in the meantime, it needs to sell its panels in inventory until its operational again.
This is the largest risk for the company right now, but it certainly has the financial strength to pull it off with more than $1.6 billion in cash and no debt. As long as First Solar doesn't hit some prolonged snags with its Series 6 rollout and the solar industry remains on its current path, then this is a stock that looks incredibly cheap.
Tyler Crowe owns shares of Enterprise Products Partners, First Solar, Magellan Midstream Partners, and Textainer Group. The Motley Fool recommends Enterprise Products Partners, First Solar, Magellan Midstream Partners, and Textainer Group. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.