"Don't catch a falling knife," as the old saw commands. (Pardon my mixing a cutlery metaphor.) The idea of buying a former superstar stock at a discount price certainly has its attractions, but you've got to make sure you catch the haft -- not the blade. That's where Motley Fool CAPS comes in.
It's been awhile, but thanks to last week's sell-off, we once again have a chance to stand beneath Mr. Market's silverware drawer in hopes of snagging a bargain. Let's meet today's contenders:
Hudson City Bancorp
|Royal Bank of Scotland||$16.82||$11.40||**|
The week in weak stocks
This week, we have two returning "champions" on our list, as both Dolby Labs and Hudson City Bancorp repeat their ignominious appearances on Mr. Market's list of equity rejects. We've also got a pair of megabankers dropping by for a cameo.
No huge surprise there. As fears of a Greek debt default continue to weigh on the sector, banking stocks are likely to remain weak. We've supposedly got $60 trillion worth of credit default swaps floating around "out there." If the pipes play for Greece, no one's sure which banks will end up paying the piper, and judging from the two-star ratings on both Royal Bank of Scotland and Morgan Stanley, CAPS members have no desire to find out the hard way.
In an uncertain world there are a few sectors to which investors historically like to flee for security: dividend payers, utilities, and, best of all, utilities that pay dividends. In short, stocks like the one we're going to examine today.
If you're not familiar with Russian telecom major VimpelCom, you can get a quick primer on the environment by way of my recent interview with the CFO of its archrival, Mobile TeleSystems
CAPS member arthurmaz, for example, tells us that "[Vimpel] is doing really good on Russian market. It also spreading around all over ex-USSR countries like Uzbekistan , Kazakhstan … an open market for [Vimpel] with a lot of potential for growth."
CAPS member 94impala agrees that the company is "an early entrant in areas I expect to see massive wireless growth." What's more, according to hh2198, despite its "huge potential" VimpelCom remains "underpriced for the value."
I agree. At the most basic level, VimpelCom looks like an obvious bargain with its 8.7 P/E ratio and 11% long-term growth prospects. The company's not as generous a dividend payer as AT&T
It gets better. With $1.9 billion in reported profit for the past 12 months, VimpelCom's GAAP financials actually understate the company's true level of profitability. Over the same time period, VimpelCom generated $2.1 billion in free cash flow, meaning the stock's probably about 10% cheaper than it already looks.
Time to chime in
Of course, that's just my opinion of the stock. What I'd really like to know, though, is what you think about VimpelCom. Are its high dividend and low stock price enough to entice you to brave the "Wild East" Russian market? Or do you prefer to keep your money closer to home. Tell us -- and tell us why -- on Motley Fool CAPS.
Fool contributor Rich Smith owns shares of Dolby, and Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of both AT&T and Dolby Laboratories. You can find Rich on CAPS, publicly pontificating under the handle TMFDitty, where he's currently ranked No. 473 out of more than 170,000 members. The Fool has a disclosure policy.
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