Bullet-riddled. Sent off to fry in molten steel. No matter how bleak things get, Hollywood's Terminator always battles back from adversity. The same can happen on Wall Street. Forgotten companies mutter, "I'll be back" to a crowd of non-believers and do sometimes return to favor.
Watching John Connor and Arnold Schwarzenegger's Terminator travel through time, I wonder the same things that you probably do. Who really is John's father? Is time travel best approached as a linear event or a continuum? Where are those stock picks you were supposed to send me from the future, bub?
No matter. I've got some of my own to share. But before I dig into some of Wall Street's unloved, I'd better point out that it's getting awfully hard to find forgotten stocks in a market that has strengthened over the past few months. Even bad companies are soaring in some cases, so you really have to sleep with the skunks to keep some investors away these days.
I offer three stocks that clearly have their flaws. The market may be ignorant at times, but it's not stupid. These stocks don't deserve to be trading at fresh highs. Yet there is hope at the other end of this blurry rainbow. Somewhere.
PEC in order
The market's climbing, so why have shares of PEC Solutions
Even before these awards, the company was still looking to earn between $0.57 and $0.60 a share on roughly $180 million in revenue. If that's what PEC is capable of under this cyclical lull, just imagine what it can produce in more free-spending times that will eventually come.
The PriceSmart is right
With a double-digit slide in comps last month and a painful third-quarter loss, PriceSmart isn't looking so hot right now. But it's worth noting that the company had been consistently profitable until its recent debacle. BJS Wholesale Club
Tiers of a clown
I wrote about Tier Technologies
Tier has felt the same government-spending pinch that has dinged PEC, even if the two are serving entirely different areas. Tier, with a hand in everything from processing child support payments to unemployment insurance benefits, finds nearly two-thirds of its total revenue in transaction-based services. That's steadily recurring work Tier cannot only maintain, but grow.
"Come with me if you want to live..."
In Terminator speak, it's quite possible that one or more of these companies will be treated to an "Hasta la vista" sendoff. Troubled PriceSmart is the riskiest, but PEC and Tier may also be susceptible if their profits turn to losses.
But that's the price you pay when you're mining for value through the ruins. The investing adage is that one should invest in tennis balls -- and not eggs -- because they bounce back after a fall. But it's not easy to know if those are eggs in your basket.
So be alert. While these Terminator Stocks may not have too far to fall if things don't go as planned, the plummet to zero from any altitude is a complete loss.
Rick Aristotle Munarriz was not a candidate in California's gubernatorial race. However, he has seen most -- though not all -- of Arnold's movies. Rick's stock holdings can be viewed online, as can the Fool's disclosure policy.