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.
Nowhere to go but up
Some might look at the natural gas sector right now and see few positives with natural gas rig counts at their lowest levels in 14 years, natural gas prices still well off their highs, and natural gas stockpiles remaining relatively high. As for me, I'm an optimist, and I see the glass as half full with nowhere for the sector to go but up from here. That's why an infrastructure company like Spectra Energy (NYSE:SE) looks like a steal at these levels.
Spectra operates out of three primary business segments: processing, transmission and storage, and distribution. All three processes do depend on loftier natural gas prices in order to entice drillers to retrieve natural gas for Spectra to process and store. However, lower rig counts are going to quickly take care of that oversupply problem that drillers have been dealing with for the better part of three years. As rig counts drop, prices should rise as supply dwindles. As prices begin to rise, drillers will again switch back to drilling for natural gas and put Spectra back on the map in a big way.
Another factor investors often overlook is Spectra's joint-venture ownership in DCP Midstream (NYSE:DCP) with Phillips 66. DCP is a natural gas processing, transporter, and seller (as well as the largest natural gas liquids producer in the U.S.), and is able to fund its growth entirely through its own cash flow. With neither parent company having to devote its own precious capital to DCP's expansion, Spectra has been able to focus on bolstering its own dividend, which now sits at a handsome 4.2% yield, and expanding its own transportation network.
Spectra is a smart play for America's energy independent future!
Pedal to this metal
When consumer confidence is falling, taxes are rising, and growth is stagnant, it can often be difficult to locate investments which have the opportunity to outperform both as a hedge in a downtrending market and in a rising market as well. Silver, specifically through the iShares Silver Trust (NYSEMKT:SLV), gives investors just that opportunity. This ETF invests directly into silver bullion and not any underlying companies, so you'll get a pretty close dollar-for-dollar return to the spot price of silver.
There are quite a lot of reasons to like silver with the shiny metal nearly 50% off of its all-time highs. To begin with, it's a common hedge investment, which wouldn't be a bad idea to consider with the S&P 500 teetering near an all-time high. Silver also has plenty of practical applications, specifically in electronics. As long as technology demand remains high for new gadgets -- and who's to say it won't -- silver demand to Asia will continue to boom. There's also a huge perceived value factor between silver at less than $29 per ounce and gold valued at nearly $1,600 per ounce. If you're looking for a possible downside hedge, I'd suggest you dig a bit deeper into this ETF.
The jobless claims shake
Every once in a while, I will throw out a speculative pick that goes completely against my usual fundamental rules. This week, I'm going to suggest we Harlem Shake ourselves a little bit closer to employment solutions provider Monster Worldwide (NYSE:MWW), which looks ripe for the picking.
A company like Monster Worldwide needs a myriad of things to go right in order for it to succeed. Most importantly, it needs the job market to improve in order for out-of-work people to feel like they have a shot at obtaining gainful employment. With the length of unemployment totaling nearly three-quarters of a year for most workers, sentiment isn't exactly high with regard to obtaining a job. That could be changing, though, as jobless claims of 332,000 nearly matched January's four-year low of 330,000 and the unemployment rate ticked to a four-year low at 7.7%.
Monster is also a particularly attractive investment when put in a side-by-side against the bloated LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD.DL), which allows business professionals to build and manage their own networks online. Clearly LinkedIn caught on to a much greater extent than Monster, but the valuations are simply far too apart to not advocate buying Monster. If LinkedIn is worth 20 times sales and 85 times forward earnings, then Monster is a veritable steal at less than 0.7 times sales and 13 times forward earnings.
This week it's all about finding beauty products on the bottom shelf. Spectra Energy, Monster Worldwide, and the iShares Silver Trust may need a little polishing before they look lustrous again, but the tools are in place for all three to head higher over the long run.
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.
The Motley Fool owns shares of LinkedIn. The Motley Fool recommends DCP Midstream Partners, LinkedIn, and Spectra Energy. 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. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.