While many companies are rising past their fair values, others are trading at potential bargain prices. Although 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.
Google may not be a value stock in the traditional sense of the term, but its forward P/E of 17, which is lower than the broad-market S&P 500, and PEG ratio of just 1.3, implies on a fundamental basis that Google is very much a value stock. Not to mention, Google is sporting $60 billion in cash on hand compared to just $8.6 billion in debt, so it's possible a dividend or major buying spree could be on the docket in 2015.
Google is a value stock you should consider here because it's an advertising kingpin and a mobile operating system maven. According to comScore, Google's market share on desktop search is 67%, and this figure grows even more once you look at its mobile search share. In terms of smartphone operating systems Google's Android is found in a jaw-dropping 84% of phones. This dominance gives Google incredible pricing power in just about any economic environment. With regard to advertising, it's true that mobile is still in its infancy, but it looks more apparent each day that Google will be every bit the dominant player that it's been on consumers' desktops.
Google also thrives as an innovator. From the revolutionary Google Glass to more modern applications like Chromecast that allow you to stream your digital videos onto your television, Google sits at the forefront of technological advances. Not every innovation is going to succeed, but Google has the capacity and cash to take chances on the off chance that they deliver the next big thing.
With an expected double-digit EPS growth rate over the next five years there seems to be little standing in the way of Google and success. The days of doubling overnight may be gone, but this value stock still has healthy enough growth potential to attract even the pickiest of tech investors.
I still want coal in my stocking
Sure, the holidays have come and gone, but that doesn't mean I don't want a lump of coal in my stocking -- specifically one from Peabody Energy (NYSE:BTU).
I'm certainly not going to stand toe-to-toe with coal pessimists and argue that coal doesn't have headwinds to confront. Solar energy is becoming more efficient each year, alternative energy costs are falling, natural gas prices are competitive enough to encourage utilities to make the switch away from coal-fired power plants, and coal pricing is still relatively weak. Peabody is also dealing with the real possibility of ongoing losses through 2015. As skepticism of the sector grows investors are liable to avoid miners that are losing money like Peabody.
But, there are positives as well that Wall Street seems to have forgotten about. For starters, coal demand does have an intermediate floor. Even with subsidies encouraging the use of solar power and other alternative energies, coal still generated 39% of all electricity in the U.S. in 2013 according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. While coal's importance may decline over the coming decades, we're also talking about America's most important source of energy right now. It's not going to go away overnight. Even when solar and wind are in abundance coal will continue to play a role.
Second, there's ample room for Peabody to cut costs in order to boost its bottom line and cash flow. For instance, I see no reason for the company to continue paying a dividend with coal pricing and demand remaining uncertain. Cutting out the dividend completely might annoy a few investors, but most investors in Peabody aren't there for the dividend anyway. Removing Peabody's dividend would keep nearly $92 million in Peabody's coffers each year.
Lastly, Peabody is the epitome of a value stock at just 53% of its book value. Book value isn't everything when it comes to investing, but it's clearly implies that Peabody could potentially look to shed assets in order to raise cash. It may also be an invitation for sectorwide consolidation. With a market value under $2 billion Peabody could be the perfect buyout candidate.
Bank on this value stock
We're nearly six years removed from the worst global banking crisis in seven decades and yet we're still witnessing banks and financial institutions struggling to regain their glory days. Swiss-based Credit Suisse (NYSE:CS) is no exception.
In recent months Credit Suisse has been weighed down by a duo of problems. First, it's dealing with ongoing issues in the EU related to Greece and other bailed-out countries. The inability to kick start the economic gerbil in the EU could plunge the region back into a recession, which is worrisome for a company that relies on investment banking activity to fuel its profits.
Also, Credit Suisse is among many banks to face litigation in the U.S. stemming from its mortgage activities during the bubble. In March 2014 the company agreed to pay $885 million to the Federal Housing Finance Agency over mortgages it had sold to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Just weeks ago it was denied in its bid to dismiss a mortgage-backed securities lawsuit brought against it by the state of New York. This litigation is a costly overhang that hasn't allowed the company to move beyond the financial crisis.
The good news here is that beyond these lawsuits its core business is improving. A lot of this has to do with the fact that Credit Suisse seeks out high net-worth individuals who are less susceptible to swings in the stock market and global economy. For example, Credit Suisse has reported $3.9 billion in new net lending through the first nine months of the year compared to just $1 billion during the first nine months of 2013. The financial giant also saw its pre-tax strategic businesses revenue soar 43% to nearly $1 billion from the year-ago period. This growth is occurring all while Credit Suisse continues to pare down its losses and toxic assets from the global financial crisis.
At just eight times forward earnings and sporting a 3% yield I'd have to suggest value investors looks past its near-term legal challenges and consider giving this overseas financial services company a closer look.
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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