With the stock market still pushing all-time highs, value investors might feel like there are no opportunities to be found. But the reality is that's not the case. Furthermore, the economy has remained steady and strong, which is why it would behoove investors to stay invested. There's nothing worse for your portfolio than sitting on the sidelines while the market inexorably marches higher and higher.
And while it's folly just to buy stocks willy-nilly and hope for the best, there's wisdom in finding good businesses you can buy with a margin of safety -- in other words, stocks that trade at a nice discount to what investors might normally pay for them, or are trading for a discount to their typical valuations. Three stocks that our investing contributors like right now are fast-growing LGI Homes Inc (NASDAQ:LGIH), steady and profitable Magna International Inc. (USA) (NYSE:MGA), and slowly improving International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM).
All three are solidly profitable, and their stocks are cheap. Keep reading to learn why they're worth buying.
A stock that's up 75% and is still cheap
Jason Hall (LGI Homes Inc): It might sound crazy to call a stock that's up 70% since the beginning of the year a value. But there's definitely a case to be made that small homebuilder LGI Homes is still a value stock.
As a starting point, its stock was at fire-sale prices the first half of the year, trading for less than 9 times trailing earnings until midsummer. But even after the big jump in its stock price over the past few months, LGI Homes has steadily grown its earnings as home sales have surged. Second-quarter earnings were up 56% on 46% growth in home sales revenue. The company closed on 34% more homes in the second quarter than it did the year before.
And those results are accelerating. The company announced August home closings recently, reporting a 56% increase in homes closed in the month. Through the first eight months of the year, LGI Homes has closed 30% more homes than last year. There's the possibility that it could feel some slowdown from Hurricane Harvey for this Texas-based builder, but that's likely to be short-term in nature. The company might actually experience increased demand in communities affected by the storm.
Finally, it is still cheap, trading for 13.4 times trailing-12-month earnings per share. That's about half the S&P 500 average and cheaper than most high-quality homebuilders. With millennials finally starting to enter the homebuying market, this looks like an excellent time to buy this inexpensive builder that's in full-on growth mode.
Strong tailwinds should power up this stock
Neha Chamaria (Magna International): At first blush, Magna International may not entice value investors after its solid run-up so far this year, but wise ones will know there's still a lot of steam left in the Canadian automotive supplier. Magna is, after all, still trading at multi-year low price-to-earnings multiple (under 10) and price-to-free cash flow (around 12), despite profits and cash flow rising rapidly in the past year or so.
Last quarter, Magna reported record quarterly sales backed by strong demand from the Asia-Pacific region and other international markets like Brazil. Encouraged, management bumped up its full-year forecast, now projecting 6% growth in sales at the midpoint. That paves the way for a record year for the company, which doesn't just serve some of the top automakers in the world, but has even developed its own self-driving platform called MAX4 that can be integrated into any car's existing systems.
Magna's financials are equally impressive. The company has consistently earned double-digit returns on equity and invested capital in each of the past five years and has generated nearly $1.7 billion in free cash flow over the past 12 months. It currently sports a very comfortable debt-to-equity ratio of 0.23. In short, Magna meets or exceeds most of the parameters I'd look for in a sound value stock.
When you combine that with its dividend yield of 2% and a forward P/E of just 8, Magna offers value investors a compelling entry point today.
The (painfully) slow turn
Reuben Gregg Brewer (International Business Machines Corp.): IBM's top line has been in decline for over five years. The reason is the technology giant's shift from older businesses, like making computers, to newer ones, such as artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and security. You don't turn a $135 billion-plus company on a dime, so it isn't surprising that IBM's makeover is taking a long time to gain traction.
The big question is how long should investors wait? With the price down roughly 30% over the past five years, it seems like investors are worried that IBM isn't going to succeed. But it has successfully remade itself many times over in its history, shifting from clocks and scales to mainframes and to services while remaining an industry leader throughout. And with ample free cash flow to pay its dividend and cover its spending on the business makeover, there's no particular rush to get things done.
The most exciting thing about IBM today, however, might be its price. The yield is currently around 4%, compared to a five-year average of 2.7% and toward the high end of its historical range. Moreover, the company's P/E, price-to-book, price-to-sales, and price-to-cash flow ratios are all below their five-year averages. Those ratios also compare favorably to technology peers like Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) and Intel (NASDAQ: INTC), among others. If you can see a positive outcome in IBM's future, this might be a good time to add the tech giant to your portfolio on the cheap and with a fat yield.
Teresa Kersten is an employee of LinkedIn and is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. LinkedIn is owned by Microsoft. Jason Hall owns shares of INTC and MTH. Neha Chamaria has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Reuben Gregg Brewer owns shares of IBM. The Motley Fool recommends INTC and MTH. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.