Just as we examine companies each week that may be rising past their fair value, we can also find companies trading at what may be bargain prices. While many investors would rather have nothing to do with companies wallowing at 52-week lows, I think it makes a lot of sense to determine whether the market has over-reacted to a company's bad news, just as we often do when the market reacts to good news.
Here's a look at three fallen angels trading near their 52-week lows that could be worth buying.
Happy Holly days
It's been something of a regular occurrence recently, but midstream energy companies -- those that handle the storage and transportation of crude oil, natural gas, and natural-gas liquids -- are still getting absolutely no respect. Up first on the radar this week is Holly Energy Partners (NYSE:HEP).
Like most midstream companies, Holly Energy Partners has languished far behind the overall return of the S&P 500 because it doesn't offer the same rapid growth potential as speculative technology or biotechnology names. But I feel investors are overlooking the long-term growth possibilities and steady cash-flow potential of America's pipeline companies.
Holly Energy, for instance, has struggled recently because HollyFrontier (NYSE:HFC) has reduced refining capacity at its Navajo refinery due to waste water constraints. While that's a short-term negative in terms of storage and transmission, Holly Energy's future is bright, as it sits on the outskirts of the oil-rich Barnett Shale.
While it might appear to be a crutch, Holly Energy's long-term working partnership with HollyFrontier never leaves shareholders wondering where the demand for transportation and storage will come from and allows Holly Energy to explore acquisition and infrastructure build-out alternatives that may not be available to some peers.
Furthermore, as a master limited partnership Holly Energy Partners is entitled to favorable tax breaks that result in a whopper of an annual dividend which can move up or down based on overall refining capacity at HollyFrontier. Over the trailing 12-month period, Holly Energy has paid out better than a 6% yield. This is the sort of dividend income I could wrap my hands around for years to come.
Venturing a guess
I'm not normally a fan of private-equity and venture capital companies, let alone small-cap ones, but there's a time when the profits are consistent enough that the valuation just makes sense, such as with KCAP Financial (NASDAQ:KCAP).
KCAP Financial had an absolutely miserable summer with its share price plunging more than 25% following a disappointing second-quarter report. The primary culprit for the shortfall was an 11% drop in collateralized loan obligations payments because of early prepayments of outstanding loans. Over the long run, though, it's fairly uncommon for prepayments to continue for extended periods of time, meaning this swoon in KCAP's CLO segment is almost assuredly temporary.
KCAP's most recent quarterly report signaled that things are improving despite higher prepayments than normal with its CLO fund securities. Total investment income rose 22%, while dividends from its asset manager affiliates jumped by 259% to $3.3 million thanks to more assets under management and increasing incentive fees.
If you're looking for a higher-risk company with huge dividend potential, then KCAP Financial might be that selection. Over the past year KCAP has paid out $1.06 in dividends, which will certainly fluctuate based on credit market conditions. Based on cumulative payouts, though, we're talking about a tidy 13% yield over the past year.
I see no reason why KCAP, given current credit conditions, couldn't continue to pay out in excess of 8% to shareholders throughout 2014. With a forward P/E of just eight, this is a venture capital company worth a deeper dive.
Missing the mark
Tomorrow, aspirin and ibuprofen will be flying off the shelves as people around the world awaken to a painfully bright New Year's Day. Unfortunately for Target (NYSE:TGT), no such remedy exists for the literal hack-job that compromised some 40 million debit cards between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15.
The hacking incident has been a logistical nightmare for Target and came during its busiest possible four-week period -- and one of the weakest retail seasons we've witnessed over the past five years. Target rival Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), for instance, has delivered disappointing same-store sales expectations for much of the year as consumers have struggled to adapt to the end of the payroll tax holiday and the expectation of paying for health insurance costs. Compound that sector-wide sales weakness with Target's debit-card flub, and you have the wrong kind of bull's-eye.
But, looking on the bright side, Target has two factors working in its favor that could make this recent swoon an intriguing buying opportunity.
First and foremost, the long-term memory of consumers is terrible. Given some time, a mea culpa from Target, and a continuation of what Target does best, this, too, will blow over just like nearly every other retail blunder of the past.
Also, few chain superstores can compete with Target's prices and selection. Since the mid-1990s, few superstores have been able to draw in consumer traffic the way Target has, and it has its affordable brand-name merchandise and loyalty rewards cards to thank for that boost in traffic.
With its 2.8% yield and a now-reasonable forward P/E of around 13, I would suggest digging deeper into Target at these levels. I suspect you'll like what you'll find.
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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