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These 2 Value Stocks Are Absurdly Cheap Right Now

By Matthew Frankel, CFP® – Updated Sep 18, 2019 at 3:39PM

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These companies are all trading for extremely low earnings multiples and could be excellent long-term bargains.

The financial sector has been one of the worst-performing areas of the stock market over the past year, but it has rallied recently. Some bank stocks are starting to look a bit on the expensive side again.

However, that's not true across the board. In fact, there are some bank stocks that still look like amazing long-term bargains. Here are two in particular that look extremely cheap right now that you might want to put on your radar and why they could turn out to be excellent long-term investments.

Sale sign on store display rack.

Image source: Getty Images.

Company

P/E Ratio (2019 Expected)

Dividend Yield

Wells Fargo (WFC 0.05%)

10.2

4.2%

Goldman Sachs (GS -1.10%)

9.4

2.3%

Data source: Yahoo Finance and CNBC. Metrics as of Sept. 16, 2019.

This big bank could be ready to turn the corner

Wells Fargo has been one of the worst-performing bank stocks over the past couple of years. In fact, it has underperformed the rest of the "big four" U.S. banks by a shocking margin.

WFC Total Return Price Chart

WFC Total Return Price data by YCharts.

To be clear, Wells Fargo has underperformed for a reason. In 2016 it was revealed that thousands of employees created 3.5 million unauthorized accounts for customers in order to meet ambitious sales targets. Since then, several other scandals have come to light, and the Federal Reserve slapped an unprecedented growth restriction on the bank to penalize it.

While the Fed's penalty remains, Wells Fargo is starting to look like a good value at the current level. For one thing, the bank's profitability is once again starting to look like what we'd expect from the bank in its pre-scandal days. After a couple years of discouraging numbers, a 13.3% ROE and 1.31% ROA in the second quarter were music to investors' ears. Plus, the bank is buying back stock and returning capital to shareholders through dividends at a rapid pace. The current one-year buyback authorization translates to more than 11% of the bank's outstanding shares, and the stock yields 4.2% at the current share price.

Warren Buffett has famously stuck with Wells Fargo as one of Berkshire Hathaway's largest investments, recently saying that he believes the bank could be the best-performing big bank over the next decade. I can't find much of a reason to disagree with him at the bank's current valuation.

Lots of growth potential

There are a few reasons I like Goldman Sachs as a long-term investment. Of course, there's the massive investment banking business that's one of the biggest and best on Wall Street. There's the wealth management business that has $1.66 trillion of assets under supervision (and growing). And there's the bank's massive trading operation, which has been a weak spot recently but could be a major revenue driver, especially during volatile times.

However, the reason I'm most exciting about Goldman Sachs is for its consumer banking potential. Historically an investment bank, Goldman decided to dip its toes into the consumer space with its Marcus saving and lending platform, which by all accounts has been a major success. Now, Goldman is getting into the credit card business with the recently launched Apple Card (NASDAQ: AAPL), and there's also a retail investment platform reportedly in the works. And this could be only the beginning.

The best part is that Goldman is free to build out its consumer business at its own pace, and without having to worry about the burden of a legacy branch network, and with a brand name that is already well-known.

Also, like Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs is buying back stock at a fast pace. The bank is on track to buy back about 9% of its shares over the 12-month period from July 2019 through June 2020, and shareholders just got a 40% dividend raise.

With massive potential to build out its consumer banking business and a valuation of less than 10 times earnings (and a 2% discount to book value), Goldman Sachs looks like a steal at these levels.

Invest with a long-term perspective

To be clear, both of these look like good values from a long-term standpoint. Between interest rate fluctuation, recession fears, and trade war developments, there could certainly be quite a bit of short-term volatility, so be prepared. However, over the long run, these two incredible institutions could deliver strong returns for patient investors.

Matthew Frankel, CFP owns shares of Apple and Berkshire Hathaway (B shares). The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Apple and Berkshire Hathaway (B shares). The Motley Fool has the following options: long January 2021 $200 calls on Berkshire Hathaway (B shares), short January 2021 $200 puts on Berkshire Hathaway (B shares), short January 2020 $155 calls on Apple, long January 2020 $150 calls on Apple, short January 2020 $155 calls on Apple, and long January 2020 $150 calls on Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. Stock Quote
The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.
GS
$291.38 (-1.10%) $-3.24
Wells Fargo & Company Stock Quote
Wells Fargo & Company
WFC
$40.03 (0.05%) $0.02

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