The stock chart for Computer Sciences Corp.
The second-quarter report does not paint a picture of CSC as a here-today, gone-tomorrow flash in the pan, nor as a volatile business that deserves to be sent to Hades and back again. Normalized earnings stayed roughly flat year over year after normalizing tax rates, and sales moved all the way from $4.0 billion to ... $4.0 billion. Can you feel the excitement?
But then, you often get superior stability in return when you trade in raw excitement. CSC's consulting services have three times its trailing 12-month sales in the order books already, and CSC keeps building that backlog with more orders than revenues. It's a classic case of long-term contract services smoothing out market movements, and you really shouldn't expect a company like CSC to do anything too terribly exciting or disappointing -- ever. Whatever the company does today will pay off over the next several years and hardly move the needle at all in the short term.
Computer Sciences competes mostly with the consulting divisions of behemoth-sized tech generalists including IBM
All that being said, you gotta respect CSC's unrivaled stability, but the company isn't doing much to reward its shareholders for their angel-like patience. Profit margins are razor-thin, and I can live with that -- but cash flows aren't much better and the dividend payout is tepid at best. Whether you're looking for growth or income, I'm pretty sure you can do better elsewhere. And as a value play, well, even a cheap stock has to prove that it deserves to move higher, right?
I'm trying hard to find the good side of Computer Sciences here, but can't find anything past the rock-steady business stability. What am I missing? Please enlighten me in the comments below.
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