I love a good wrestling match. The imaginative names, wild hairdos, vibrant tattoos, and big guys in tights beating each other to a pulp -- it's not all that different from the work environment at the Fool. But probably the most exciting part of the match for me is that just when it appears that the fallen, desperate victim is down for the count, he rises to do battle again.
That brings me to Avon
Just last week, the world's largest direct seller of beauty and related products announced that its earnings would fall short this year. The company attributed the weakness to rising fuel costs, a slowdown in sales, and the impact of Hurricane Katrina on its U.S. business.
Other cosmetics manufacturers have reported similar troubles. Nu Skin, a division of Nu Skin Enterprises
Now that Avon's stock price has fallen by about 40% year-to-date, is the company a good buy? The high gas prices and the slowdown in sales may be here to stay and will most likely affect any near-term turnaround. However, for the long-term investor, Avon may present a buying opportunity, especially if the Street continues its stranglehold.
Avon is expected to earn nearly $1.80 per share this year. At a current share price of $27, that would deliver a price-to-earnings ratio of nearly 15, well below the average P/E for the industry. In addition, the company has generated greater than $500 million in free cash flow for the trailing 12 months and sports a 2.4% dividend yield.
Will Avon be able to wrestle its way back to the top? Although the current environment for direct-to-consumer beauty products is looking pale, I think the quality Avon's products will ultimately speak for themselves.
To read more things of beauty:
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Fool contributor M.D. Mitchell is down the street at the local junkyard looking for some good trash. His short wrestling career ended abruptly, after he experienced the double chicken wing firsthand. He owns none of the above companies.