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3 Value Stocks Near 52-Week Lows Worth Buying

By Sean Williams - Apr 20, 2016 at 10:39AM

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These three value stocks may be down, but they're far from out.

Image source: Flickr user Andreas Poike.

While many companies' shares are rising past their fair values now, others are still trading at potentially bargain prices. The difficulty with bargain shopping, though, is that you may be understandably hesitant to buy stocks wallowing near their 52-week lows. In an effort to separate the rebound candidates from the laggards, it makes sense to start by determining whether the market has overreacted to a company's bad news.

Here's a look at three fallen angels trading near their 52-week lows that could be worth buying.

Take this value stock for a "drive"
We'll begin by taking a closer look at a technology company that had a rough week: Seagate Technology (STX). The maker of traditional hard drives, solid state hybrid drives, and solid state drives for consumer and enterprise storage purposes nosedived 27% in three days after it reported preliminary third-quarter results that weren't up to snuff.

For the quarter, Seagate anticipates reporting $2.6 billion in revenue and an adjusted gross margin of approximately 23%. Prior forecasts had called for $2.7 billion in revenue and adjusted gross margin of 25.6%. Seagate blamed its woes on slowing demand for traditional hard drive storage products, weak demand in China for desktop client products, and its choice to not participate in the low-capacity notebook market.

Image source: Seagate Technology.

While last quarter was not ideal for the company by any means, Seagate's share price plunge could be giving investors an opportunity to profit. Although traditional hard drives aren't likely to see a springboard rebound anytime soon, they aren't going away, either. Seagate still maintains 40% market share in traditional hard drives (based on its Q3 preliminary figures), and traditional drives are still critical for enterprise users building data centers and cloud infrastructure. China is one country where these traditional drives can still prosper.

Conversely, Seagate can also take advantage of the higher data demands of enterprise cloud clients by pushing its 8-terabyte nearline products, which were among its stronger performers during the third quarter. This new line of cost-effective 8TB storage solutions should allow Seagate to maintain or expand its role with medium- and large-sized businesses.

Lastly, Seagate does a great job taking care of its shareholders. It's currently yielding in excess of 9%, and even if this dividend receives a haircut, I'd be shocked if shareholders weren't still earning well above the average yield of the S&P 500. At roughly eight times reduced forward earnings, it could be time to take this storage solutions company for a "drive."

The cure for all your ills
Next up we have the sob story of 2016: the break-up of Pfizer (PFE 1.00%) and Allergan (AGN) as precipitated by the U.S. Treasury Department. Since the termination of the deal was announced, Pfizer's shares have moved higher while Allergan's valuation has plunged to lows not seen in some time. But now could be the perfect time to go fishing for value.

One of the biggest catalysts ahead for Allergan is the pending $40.5 billion sale of its generics unit to Israel's Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (TEVA 0.00%). Once completed, Teva will become the undisputed top generic drug manufacturer in the world, which isn't a bad thing, considering that low-cost generics are an attractive alternative to "expensive" brand-name therapies.

Image source: Teva Pharmaceutical.

On the flipside, Allergan would receive a much needed $33.75 billion in cash and $6.75 billion in Teva stock. Allergan is sporting $41.6 billion in net debt following its numerous acquisitions; with this sale, it could conceivably retire around three-quarters of its debt and keep a few billion dollars around as a buffer. With minimal regulatory hurdles to the deal likely (perhaps a few asset sales may be required on Teva's end), a closing by mid-year seems likely, in my opinion.

Wall Street also appears to be overlooking Allergan's rapid growth vis-a-vis its acquisitions. On top of simply growing core drug Botox, Allergan reported double-digit percentage gains for a slew of branded therapies in its portfolio. Extended-release Alzheimer's therapy Namenda XR, irritable bowel syndrome with constipation drug Linzess, and low-dose birth control pill Lo Loestrin are some examples of branded therapies in Allergan's pipeline showing 27%-plus year-over-year sales growth in 2015.

Lastly, don't forget that Allergan is headquartered in Ireland, the land of low corporate tax rates. That's what attracted Pfizer to Allergan in the first place. Lower tax rates mean more of Allergan's profits go to its bottom-line.

At roughly 12 times forward earnings, Allergan looks attractively priced for value investors.

A good-looking value you can't take your eyes off of
Finally, value investors might be wise to give consideration to L Brands (BBWI -6.18%), the company behind retail chains Bath and Body Works and Victoria's Secret.

Image source: Flickr user Eternity Portifolio.

L Brands stock has been punished of late due to a downgrade last week from investment bank Goldman Sachs. Covering analyst Lindsay Drucker Mann cut her rating on L Brands to neutral and also removed it from Goldman's conviction buy list. The reason? Mann suggests that restructuring moves at Victoria's Secret could hurt near-term performance. 

But here's the thing about analysts' actions: They're often very short-minded and give value investors a great opportunity to dip their toes into the water. The restructuring Victoria's Secret is undergoing entails forming three business units (Victoria's Secret Lingerie, Pink, and Victoria's Secret Beauty) and streamlining its existing strengths to cut costs and boost margins. L Brands is doing this by focusing on digital channels and its bricks-and-mortar stores, and weening consumers off promotions. Instead, the company will aim to use loyalty programs to reward Victoria's Secret shoppers. Over the long term, I'd expect this to be a winning strategy.

Comparable-store sales at Bath and Body Works have also been strong, improving 5% in 2015. People want to feel better about themselves, and the relatively inexpensive luxuries that the chain offers are clearly hitting home with consumers.

As a final bonus, value investors are currently receiving a 3% dividend yield with L Brands. At 18 times forward earnings L Brands is trading more or less in-line with the S&P 500; but given how commonly Victoria's Secret outperforms expectations, I'd consider L Brands' current value to be a possible steal.

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Stocks Mentioned

Bath & Body Works, Inc. Stock Quote
Bath & Body Works, Inc.
$36.15 (-6.18%) $-2.38
Allergan plc Stock Quote
Allergan plc
Seagate Technology plc Stock Quote
Seagate Technology plc
Pfizer Inc. Stock Quote
Pfizer Inc.
$53.41 (1.00%) $0.53
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Limited Stock Quote
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Limited
$8.45 (0.00%) $0.00

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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