Just as we often examine companies that may be rising past their fair values, we can also find companies trading at what may be bargain prices. While many investors would rather have nothing to do with stocks wallowing at 52-week lows, I think it makes a lot of sense to determine whether the market has overreacted 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.
Ready, set, charge!!
The pullback in the stock market over the past couple of weeks has created some intriguing buying opportunities, and perhaps none more so than payment processing facilitator MasterCard (NYSE:MA), which has dipped about 12% from its all-time highs set earlier this year.
MasterCard usually isn't a company investors worry about too much, but lately it's been giving short-term-minded investors a reason to think twice. The potential for a global growth slowdown could reduce the company's growth rate, and ongoing U.S. and European sanctions against Russia are putting a low-single-digit percentage of MasterCard's annual revenue in danger.
Of course, the fears that Russian sanctions will drastically hurt MasterCard's lucrative business are being blown out of proportion, and MasterCard has plenty of potential to shine.
As MasterCard has noted previously, 85% of all global transactions are conducted in cash, which means the company has a bounty of opportunity beyond the borders of the U.S. In the second quarter, MasterCard delivered a 16% increase in cross-border (i.e., outside the U.S.) volume, with processed transactions increasing by 12% to 10.6 billion. With much of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East still largely an untapped resource, MasterCard has double-digit growth potential for decades to come in emerging-market territories.
Secondly, the barrier to entry for payment facilitators is incredibly high. MasterCard has spent decades forging partnerships with merchants around the world. As payment facilitators, MasterCard and a handful of its rivals ensure that the competition remains at bay.
Lastly, MasterCard is arguably at an attractive valuation considering its double-digit growth potential, which is why I consider it a value stock in the first place. Given MasterCard's projected annual growth rate of 12% per year through 2017 and valuation of just 13 times 2017's profit projections, the stock has a relatively low PEG ratio. Furthermore, MasterCard's dividend, while only yielding 0.6%, has grown by leaps and bounds over the years and has the potential to grow a lot more.
The sun is shining on this value stock
When global growth fears engulf the stock market, not even financial-services companies like Sun Life Financial (NYSE:SLF) -- provider of life insurance, annuities, and other asset management tools -- are safe.
Although U.S. investors may be hesitant to throw money into investments at the moment, the good news is Sun Life investors can look well beyond just the U.S.' borders for growth (similar to MasterCard above). In the second quarter, for example, Sun Life reported that its Canadian wealth business netted sales of $3 billion during the quarter, up from just $2 billion in the prior year, as customers gobbled up mutual fund offerings by Sun Life Global Investments. Sure, an unfavorable market could slow that growth a bit, but foreign markets give Sun Life a way to diversify its revenue generation and lessen its exposure to the U.S.
Two additional reasons I like Sun Life Financial's chances of advancing are that I believe in its management team and the company's ability to stay on track.
In 2012 the company laid out its "four pillars of growth" strategy, which was meant to reduce volatility and deliver a higher return on shareholder equity. For the most part, Sun Life has capitalized on these initiatives, which included becoming Canada's premier life insurance company, boosting its U.S. group insurance business, increasing the scale of its wealth management operations, and focusing on its expansion in Asia.
Finally, it's hard not to appreciate Sun Life as a value stock, given that the company trades at a mere 11 times forward earnings, pays out a 4% yield, and is priced at a PEG ratio of just 1.2. With global diversity on its side and a conservative investing approach that tends to draw in customers, Sun Life looks to have a good chance of appreciating over the long term.
Powering North America's future
The final value stock that has caught my attention this week is Fluor (NYSE:FLR), a provider of engineering, construction, maintenance, and management services for the energy sector in North America.
We don't have to dig too deep to understand why Fluor has taken it on the chin over the past month: falling energy prices. Oil is officially in bear market territory, and the thought here is that lower oil prices could deter some oil and gas companies from undertaking large projects, at least in the interim. Further, the prospect of a pullback in the U.S. economy could stymie the desire of energy companies to build new plants or expand/update existing power-generating facilities.
However, when I look years down the road, I see Fluor sitting in the driver's seat. The U.S. is one of the world's largest energy users, and the demand for additional power plants, storage tanks, transmission lines, and so on will be fulfilled by experienced management companies like Fluor. This is especially crucial with shale deposit finds expected to lead to a huge increase in domestic oil and gas production throughout the remainder of the decade. Based on Fluor's second-quarter results, released in late July, the company is carrying a whopping consolidated backlog of $40.3 billion, which I anticipate will only continue to grow.
Furthermore, Fluor is looking inexpensive, considering that it's carrying around $40.3 billion in future contracts: It's valued at just 12 times forward earnings and a PEG ratio slightly above one. Tack on a dividend that's yielding a little over 1% and a net cash balance of $1.8 billion, and you have what I believe is a well-capitalized value stock that will help power the U.S. energy industry over the next decade and beyond.
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.
The Motley Fool recommends MasterCard. The Motley Fool owns shares of Fluor and MasterCard. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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