Just because analysts haven't picked up on a stock's growth prospects, or are overlooking its potential, doesn't mean you should ignore it too. In fact, if a stock is flying under Wall Street's radar, it may be an opportunity you don't want to miss.
We asked three Motley Fool contributors to identify a stock that Wall Street isn't picking up on, but presents some unique potential for significant gains. Control4 (CTRL), Tencent Holdings (TCEHY -2.06%), and Sturm, Ruger (RGR 1.86%) represent just those sorts of opportunities.
Coming to a smart home near you
Daniel Miller (Control4): You might not have heard of Control4 yet, and it isn't quite on Wall Street's radar, but the company might be providing you smart home solutions in the near future. The company is a leading provider of networking systems for smart homes and businesses; these solutions can link anywhere from 25 devices into the hundreds, are professionally installed, and can cost up to tens of thousands of dollars. Here are three reasons investors should be excited about Control4.
First, the company recently appointed Charlie Kindel as senior vice president of products and services. Normally, bringing on talent isn't a noteworthy factor, but Kindel recently worked at Amazon, where he created and led Alexa and Echo smart-home developments, and he also had a 21-year track record at Microsoft. He should be able to help innovate new Control4 products and solutions to drive business forward.
Second, for Control4 to become more of a household name, it must expand its brand and enlighten consumers. That's exactly the thought process behind its May announcement that Control4 would open 140 certified showrooms at authorized dealer locations across the U.S., Canada, the U.K., China, and Australia. This will enable consumers with questions or serious interest to see and experience, firsthand, premium smart-home solutions. The showrooms are expected to wow homeowners and help drive meaningful leads for Control4 dealers.
Lastly, the company has already produced excellent financial results. Earlier this month, management released second-quarter results that included record revenue and net income. Control4 has no debt and has successfully acquired and integrated six other companies. Currently, business is good; investors should be excited with talent like Kindel coming on board, and showrooms driving more foot traffic, sales leads, and brand awareness. Control4 might not be on Wall Street's radar yet, but it could be, sooner rather than later.
Look across the Pacific
Dan Caplinger (Tencent Holdings): With all the innovation going on right now in technology and e-commerce, it's easy to focus solely on the U.S. market and everything that's happening there. Yet if you do that, you'll miss out on some stunning international opportunities, in markets with the long-term potential to become even larger than what you'll find domestically. Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings is one of the best examples.
Tencent has a wide variety of different tech offerings. In the messaging space, WeChat and QQ have taken the Chinese market by storm; WeChat in particular has expanded its scope so users can take advantage of demand for ride-sharing, delivery, electronic payments, and e-commerce. Its video game unit earns more revenue than any other video gaming company in the world; it not only came out with its own portfolio of games, but has stakes in major U.S. video game companies as well. You can also find a streaming video service, a social network, cloud computing services, and other properties that help contribute to its stream of income from advertising.
Yet even with all these businesses, Tencent carries a valuation that looks much more attractive than those of its U.S. counterparts. With nervousness about Chinese tariffs likely overblown, Tencent is looking better than ever.
Ready to shoot out the lights
Rich Duprey (Sturm, Ruger): Although it's one of the largest gun manufacturers in the U.S., you might be surprised to learn that Sturm, Ruger is followed by only one Wall Street analyst, who gives the company a buy recommendation. Investors might want to take notice.
Because the firearms industry has substantially weakened since President Donald Trump was elected in 2016, shares of Ruger have fallen by 10% since then while revenue has slumped by 27%. Yet Ruger is doing much better than the more widely followed parent of Smith & Wesson, American Outdoor Brands: That stock has lost two-thirds of its value since November 2016, as revenues skidded by almost 33%.
There are a number of reasons to believe the firearms market is ready to rise once more. Midterm elections are approaching, and legislation limiting access to firearms may get a hearing afterwards, which could drive panic-buying of guns again. While demand never really retreated -- it simply returned to more normal growth levels -- distributors and retailers have seen their inventories depleted recently and there could be a restocking cycle in the cards.
Ruger has rightsized itself, cutting its production and its workforce, but both could be scaled back up quickly if necessary. The still-profitable gunmaker trades at a bargain-basement rate of less than 10 times the free cash flow it produces, while also paying a dividend (based on a percentage of its profits) that currently yields 2.3%.
Sturm, Ruger is a cheap stock; it pays patient investors to wait for the coming wave; and it's flying under the radar of Wall Street. That's a combination that may be too good to pass up.