Your expectations can use a refresh button.
Now that most companies have filed away their 2010 financial performances, we can begin diving into fiscal projections for this year -- and for 2012.
It's no longer a stretch. The term "next year's earnings" now refers to 2012, and you may be amazed at how quickly some of the market's seemingly overpriced players are growing. Loftier profit targets translate into lower forward P/E multiples.
I've been taking a look at five unexpected cheapies during these past few weeks. Let's try a few more.
This Year P/E
Next Year P/E
Source: Yahoo! Finance.
Valuation is only a number
Many of these multiples -- even those clocking in for next year -- are chunky. You don't often hear something along the lines of "this stock is so cheap that it's trading for a mere 30 times next year's projected profitability."
Then again, there is more to this basket of presumably pricey stocks than meets the cynical eye.
Hecla has mining interests in silver, gold, lead, and zinc.
The stock took a hit yesterday, after a tunnel collapse at one of its mines over the weekend led it to cease mining operations to rescue a missing miner. Tragic mining accidents blemish reputations and eat into near-term profitability, but Hecla's long-term prospects remain intact.
Ctrip is China's leading travel portal. Running a travel-booking website in the world's most populous nation seems like a slam-dunk. A booming economy creates jobs and stimulates corporate travel. The growing middle class gets bitten by the travel bug. Ctrip shares may not seem cheap by conventional metrics, but it's hard to ignore its upside potential.
Uranium stocks have been slammed since Japan's nuclear catastrophe, and Cameco shareholders can feel the pain. Fearing that countries will scale back on nuclear power, analysts have been whacking away at their net income estimates on uranium players. Just two months ago, Wall Street figured that Cameco would earn $1.63 a share this year and $1.99 a share come 2012. Those two targets have been revised down to $1.44 a share in 2011 and $1.76 a share next year.
The good news for opportunistic investors is that the stock has fallen even harder. It was trading in the mid-$40s two months ago.
Nokia remains the world's largest handset maker, but its market share continues to shrink. It lacks the glitzy smartphones that's taking developed nations by storm. Investors are still feeling the aftershocks of the faltering Finnish giant's decision to accept billions from Microsoft
Finally, we have Teva cashing in as major drug patents expire. Teva's a giant in the competitive generic drug industry, but it's also packing some sizzle with a multiple sclerosis drug of its own. Teva's yield of 1.7% may not seem impressive, but the drug maker has been consistently boosting its payouts. As a steady performer without the pressing need to refresh it pipeline, it's a wild bargain at just nine times next year's projected profitability.
Adding it up
None of these stocks are immune to a market meltdown. If you're looking for bulwarks, you'll have to find them somewhere else.
These investments are largely high-beta growth stocks, and will likely remain that way for several more years. The key here, though, is that they aren't as expensive as pundits make them out to be.
It's the opportunity that you didn't know that you were waiting for.
Interested in reading more about any of these stocks? Add them to My Watchlist to find all of our Foolish analysis. And if you like these five stocks, check out the six stocks that Tom and David Gardner think you should be watching in a free special report.
Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Teva Pharmaceutical is a Motley Fool Global Gains choice. Ctrip.com International is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems selection. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Microsoft. The Fool owns shares of Microsoft and Teva Pharmaceutical. Alpha Newsletter Account, LLC owns shares of Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz also believes that expensive stocks can get even more expensive, too. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. He is part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.