While many companies are rising past their fair values, others are trading at potential bargain prices. While many investors would rather have nothing to do with stocks wallowing at 52-week lows, it makes sense to see 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.
Be greedy when others are fearful
Just because a company is a value stock doesn't mean it's not volatile – just ask shareholders of Russia's No. 3 telecom provider VimpelCom (NASDAQ:VEON).
VimpelCom's 2014 has been nothing short of disastrous, with the company slashing its annual dividend payout by more than 95% to just $0.035 per year from prior guidance of $0.80. VimpelCom's reasoning was to conserve cash outflow to more quickly help pay down debts associated with upgrading its network. If this weren't enough of a downer for shareholders, Russia's ruble has lost 30% of its value, making it more expensive for VimpelCom to buy overseas equipment, and Russia's economy is struggling on the heels of U.S. and EU sanctions for its actions in the Crimean peninsula earlier this year.
Despite these struggles, I believe investors should give serious consideration to this value stock while emotions are at their peak.
Yes, VimpelCom is carrying around $22 billion in net debt, which is higher on a debt-to-equity basis than many of its peers. Thankfully VimpelCom has other things working in its favor. For example, the source of VimpelCom's debt has been its rollout of upgraded networking infrastructure. Broader coverage and faster speeds mean VimpelCom is more competitive than in years past. The results are showing as VimpelCom ended the third quarter with 5 million more mobile subscribers (223.4 million) than it had in the year-ago period. Furthermore, VimpelCom saw its mobile data revenue grow by 22% in Russia, home to one-quarter of its subscribers.
That leads to my second point: infrastructure expansion. Because VimpelCom invested heavily in its future, and many regions of Russia are still in the process of upgrading to faster networks, it opens the door for consumers to continue upgrading their mobile phones to accommodate these faster networks. It gives the opportunity for Apple's iPhone to really drive sales in Russia, and in spite of a high cellular saturation rate, could give VimpelCom the opportunity to grow for many years to come.
Finally, VimpelCom brings in relatively predictable revenue and income. Wireless service providers often have good pricing power because the barrier to entry for wireless service is pretty high, likely buoying VimpelCom's stock from considerable downside.
It's safe to say that investors are running scared right now. However, with a forward P/E of just seven it might be best for investors to take Warren Buffett's sage advice and be greedy when others are fearful.
Power your portfolio with this value stock
Energy stocks are becoming regular entrants on in this series with crude oil prices traipsing along at four-year lows and concerns about growth in China and the EU sapping the outlook for oil demand in the interim. Still, this week I'm going to suggest that Enerplus (NYSE:ERF) is a value stock you'll want to consider.
Enerplus is a North American oil, gas, and natural gas liquids exploration and production company; and as you may have astutely guessed, it's been crushed by falling oil prices which have the potential to lower its top- and bottom-line results.
Enerplus, though, also dealt with another whammy in 2011, losing its tax-advantaged status as a Canadian income royalty trust. Thus, being classified as a normal corporation cost Enerplus its tax-advantaged status and wound up requiring Enerplus to cut its dividend. The result is that Enerplus shares have lost nearly two-thirds of their value since the start of 2011.
The good news is there's a lot of growth potential here, even with oil prices at four-year lows.
To begin with, Enerplus has done a good job of shielding a portion of its production thanks to its hedging strategies. As of the third quarter Enerplus noted that 64% of its crude production, after royalties, was hedged at an average price of $95.29/barrel for the remainder of the year. Looking ahead to 2015, Enerplus wisely hedged 15,500 barrels per day in the first-half of the year, and 8,000 barrels per day in the second-half of the year, at prices near $94/barrel. For context, Enerplus produces about 40,000 barrels per day.
Another important point is that Enerplus' juiciest assets are sitting in the oil-rich Williston Basin. Whether it's selling at the wellhead, in Cushing, Okla., or shipping by rail to Louisiana to take advantage of the Brent-West Texas Intermediate spread, Enerplus has a number of options available to get the best possible price for its assets.
My Foolish colleague Matt DiLallo has also noted that Enerplus has been a leader in downspacing, or putting more than one well in a traditionally defined space where one well would operate. This method could give Enerplus a way to quickly boost its yield and profits, especially if oil prices cooperate.
With the prospect of a monthly dividend, a nearly 8% yield, and a forward P/E of just 12, I believe this value stock could have some real room to run.
Rolling the dice on this value stock
For the last value stock consideration of the week, I'll turn your attention to the Las Vegas Strip (and Macau) to take a chance at rolling the dice on Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:LVS).
In recent months Las Vegas Sands has found itself under pressure after losing its market share lead overseas in Macau, and dealing with concerns about slowing growth in China and Europe. The casino and resort industry is normally reliant on a growing economy to drive their business, so Las Vegas Sands' stock has taken a hit in accordance with those concerns.
But like VimpelCom and Enerplus above, Las Vegas Sands wouldn't be on here if I didn't see plenty of good hidden beneath a sea of recent pessimism.
Even though Las Vegas Sands is no longer the top dog in Macau, it still holds a substantial advantage over many of its peers with its middle-of-the-road approach. Because Las Vegas Sands' casinos and resorts aim to attract middle- and upper-middle income consumers (which is an especially fast growing class in China), it tends to wind up with a healthier mix of customers than its peers, resulting in more predictable growth and cash flow.
Las Vegas Sands is also doing a marvelous job of managing its expenses and rewarding investors. The company's $6.8 billion in debt isn't as daunting as some of its peers (looking right at you Caesars Entertainment) and Las Vegas Sands' expenses actually fell year-over-year as of its latest quarterly report. In addition, Las Vegas Sands recently announced that it'd be boosting its annual payout to $2.60 in fiscal 2015, a 30% increase from this year. That's good enough for a 4.4% yield!
The company's forward P/E of 16 may not look cheap, but I believe its forecasted double-digit growth rate firmly puts Las Vegas Sands in the value stock category.
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.
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