Just as we examine companies each week that may be rising past their fair value, we can also find companies potentially trading at bargain prices. While many investors would rather have nothing to do with companies tipping the scales at 52-week lows, I think it makes a lot of sense to determine whether the market has overreacted to the downside, just as we often do when the market reacts to the upside.
Here's a look at three fallen angels trading near their 52-week lows that could be worth buying.
There are one-time charges, and then there are the disastrous third-quarter results reported by aircraft parts supplier Spirit AeroSystems (NYSE:SPR) a few weeks ago. Included was a $590 million charge-off (offset modestly by insurance settlement claim gains) that originated from higher costs, faster deadlines, and design changes to the Boeing (NYSE:BA) 787, and several Gulfstream business jets. The earnings miss and size of the charge-off has left many analysts wondering what's next.
As for me, I see this major drop and one-time calamity as an opportunity to get into Spirit at a very reasonable level. With Spirit's CEO Jeffrey Turner announcing his intention to retire in early 2013, it gives the company an opportunity to bring in fresh leadership and will most certainly get investors off management's backs. It's also worth noting that Spirit was formed as a spin-off from Boeing back in 2005, so its tie-ins with Boeing and the 787 -- which, make no mistake about it, is the future of Boeing -- are very safe. With Spirit now trading near book value and at just seven times forward earnings, I see an opportunity to buy into a commercial parts supplier that has a solid future of growth painted three to five years down the road.
M & Eh, not a bad deal!
The fact that default rates are down and businesses are thriving without the need for mergers and acquisitions is good news for a number of sectors. For financial advisors and investment bankers like Duff & Phelps (UNKNOWN:DUF.DL)... not so much.
Yet despite both M&A activity and default rates remaining low, Duff & Phelps continues to chug along as is evidenced by the company's third-quarter results released last month. For the quarter, revenue excluding reimbursable expenses jumped 18%, and adjusted income ticked marginally higher to $7.7 million versus the $7.4 million reported last year. This is one of those cases where you take a step back and say, "If this financial services firm is doing this well now with such minimal M&A activity, imagine how good it'll be when it does pick up!" That's why at just 11 times forward earnings and with a dividend yield of 3.1% -- a dividend, mind you, that has grown by 80% in just three years -- Duff & Phelps looks like a strong candidate to bounce off its lows.
A not-so-skimpy deal
If there were ever an example needed to show that global growth prospects hurt practically all sectors, then Maidenform Brands (UNKNOWN:MFB.DL), a woman's intimate apparel manufacturer, is that example.
Normally, women's intimate apparel tends to survive periods of slow economic growth with relative ease, but a slowdown in Europe, as well as the negative impact of Superstorm Sandy, recently caused Maidenform to lower its EPS forecast for the second time this year. Despite the cautious tone of the company's outlook, there are clues from its competitors that signal a rebound may be in the cards.
To begin with, Hanesbrands (NYSE:HBI) recently boosted the low-end of its full-year profit guidance, noting that it expects lower cotton prices. Lower input costs are good for the entire apparel industry, so that's a plus for Maidenform. Also, same-store sale growth rates from Limited's (NYSE:LB) Victoria's Secret have been tracking north of 7% for more than 30 months. While it may sound bad for Maidenform that its peers are performing well, there's a big enough demographic looking for lingerie that this is also a positive for the entire sector. Now at just 11 times forward earnings, I look for Maidenform to bounce back in a big way next year as it takes advantage of lower cotton costs and the absence of natural disasters.
This week's theme is, "It'll be there even when you aren't." Women need intimate apparel, M&A deals will still be occurring, and aircraft suppliers will steel need parts 10, 20, even 50 years from now. These three companies offer compelling values for investors who can see the light at the end of a long tunnel.
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Fool contributor Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong.
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