"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:
(out of 5)
National Bank of Greece
||$29.05||$26.76||Not yet rated|
Last week was a scary one. Silver prices plummeted 30% over the course of just a few frightening days, taking mining stocks such as Coeur d'Alene
Investors in the four companies making up today's chart, unfortunately, have no such consolation. Shares of Logitech, National Bank of Greece, Lexmark, and Air Lease have been in an uninterrupted slump. Dropping for months, last week marked only their most recent low point. And here's the really bad news: These lows may get even lower. Air Lease, unrated on CAPS, and only recently arrived on the public markets, has no history of profits to recommend it. Lexmark and National Bank of Greece, while bearing apparently attractive P/E ratios (7.6 and 10.4, respectively), are actually expected to see their earnings decline over the next several years.
However, we do have one stock on the list today that gives greater cause for optimism.
The bull case for Logitech International
Why buy Logitech? CAPS All-Star ogness starts us off with a few good reasons: "No debt, 13% return on equity, earnings & revenue growth, great pipeline of products, & a great reputation. This stock looks like it could be about to break out and stay ahead of the curve for many years."
Logitech has a whole list of products that Fools think will sell well. CAPS member jbtheone especially likes "the new video conferencing products as a high driver on bottom line over the next 3 to 5 years," while All-Star investor BuffySoro points out that Logitech's "products are handsomely dispersed all along the margin spectrum, eg my logitech illuminated keyboard was the most expensive of the store, but my logitech mouse wasn't."
Granted, not all of these products sell equally well. As fellow Fool Anders Bylund pointed out last month, Logitech's Revue play on Google TV is pretty much a bust. On the other hand, the new Logitech Keyboard Case (for iPad) that it's building in cooperation with ZAGG
Sure, at first glance the stock doesn't look particularly attractive today. While sales ticked up in the latest quarter, profit was down nearly 90%, helping to push the P/E into expensive territory at 18.3. Free cash flow appears similarly weak, as Logitech generated just $113.5 million over the last four quarters. But consider: From 2006 to 2010, Logitech averaged free cash flow of more than twice the current rate ($234 million). If and when Logitech books a few more "normal" years, its current price would have the stock selling for just 10 times FCF.
The bull case for Logitech basically comes down to this. If you believe Logitech's past performance was anything other than a fluke, the stock is cheap today. That's how I look at it. Of course, maybe you believe the company's broken, and that last year's performance is the "new normal" for Logitech? In that case, selling is probably the right move.
So ... what do you think the future holds for Logitech? We'd really like to know, and at Motley Fool CAPS, we've got a place for you to state your case. Click over, and sound off.
Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares of any company named above. You can find him on CAPS, publicly pontificating under the handle TMFDitty, where he's currently ranked No. 490 out of more than 170,000 members. The Fool has a disclosure policy.
Logitech International is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems pick, and Motley Fool Options has recommended a written covered call position on it. The Fool owns shares of both Logitech and National Bank of Greece. Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.