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.
Wi-Fi fly high
The Nasdaq Composite may be flying high but wireless networking equipment supplier Aruba Networks (UNKNOWN:ARUN.DL) isn't getting in on the festivities.
In November, Aruba reported its first-quarter earnings results, handily topping Wall Street's estimates. However, its Q2 view of $208 million-$212 million in revenue and $0.26-$0.27 in EPS was a bit disappointing relative to the Street's consensus estimate of $211.6 million in revenue and $0.27 in EPS. Not to mention, a downgrade from JMP Securities didn't help either. JMP suspects that recent expense reductions in the form of employee compensation cuts could reduce morale and lead to a few shaky quarters.
Obviously it was a bit disappointing not to see Aruba blow Q2 expectations out of the water, but I view it as Wall Street crying fire before there's even a single ember.
We know the technology sector is cyclical, but Aruba is far from struggling despite its Q2 forecast. Year-over-year revenue jumped 29% in the first quarter, while EPS jumped 63% to $0.26 from Q1 2014. Aruba was able to do this not only by keeping a tight lid on its costs, but also by penetrating small- and mid-sized businesses where it has a genuine opportunity to draw share away from industry giants such as Cisco Systems. Cisco certainly has the edge with deeper pockets and bundling capacity, but a smaller company like Aruba has a shot at forging a more personal relationship with mid-sized enterprises.
The other factor at work is that next-generation wireless LAN rollouts are still only in the early to middle stages. Because most businesses have been more than willing to spend on infrastructure, especially with lending rates as low as they are, I would opine that Aruba has a good shot of extending its double-digit sales growth through 2017 or beyond.
Lastly, Aruba is just a cheap value stock based on a number of metrics. It's trading at 12 times forward earnings, has a PEG ratio of a mere 0.8, and has no debt with $315.3 million in cash. This is a networking company that could really surprise Wall Street.
Chase what matters
With oil stocks witnessing their first substantive rally in months my attention this week turns to a sector that has been decimated in January: big banks. Specifically, let's take a look at why JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) should remain a value stock on your radar.
First, let's tackle why JPMorgan Chase shares fell by a double-digit amount in January: its unexpectedly weak fourth-quarter earnings results. For the quarter JPMorgan Chase's net income fell to $1.19 per share from $1.30 per share in Q4 2013, while revenue sank by 2% year over year. The drop in income was due to higher than expected after-tax legal charges of $990 million and a sharp decline in mortgage banking income to $338 million from $593 million. It also didn't help that JPMorgan Chase's provision for credit losses jumped considerably.
However, it's not as if JPMorgan Chase's bad quarter was unique among banks. Pretty much every bank saw weakness in its mortgage banking division and cited skepticism about global trading revenue due to increased volatility.
In reality, JPMorgan did a lot of things right this past quarter. Non-interest expenses fell by 1%, or $143 million, consumer net charge-offs dropped 16 basis points to 1.28% from the prior-year period, client investment assets soared 13% from Q4 2013, commercial banking loans jumped 8%, and deposits trudged higher by 3% year over year.
What's ailing JPMorgan Chase is also not a big concern. While I'm certainly no fan of legal expenses and settlements (trust me, as a Bank of America shareholder I'm very familiar with them!), legal expenses are a non-recurring charge. We should be nearing the end of mortgage crises settlements, which ultimately should wind up lowering JPMorgan's costs and boosting its margins.
In the meantime, we can look forward to a number of possible catalysts, including rising lending rates and a rapidly growing U.S. economy.
At less than nine times forward earnings and sporting a dividend yield of nearly 3% you can consider even this picky investor intrigued!
A possible "steel" of a deal
Lastly, after looking under every rock I uncovered what I suspect could be a value stock gem in Grupo Simec (NYSEMKT:SIM).
Grupo Simec is a mid-cap steel company that specializes in the production of special bar quality steel. Its products are typically used in cars and light trucks as well as in non-residential construction. As you might imagine steel price weakness, high raw material costs, and a slowdown in China have taken their toll on steel stocks, including Grupo Simec.
In the company's latest quarter it reported a 10% drop in net income despite a 13% improvement in sales because the cost of raw materials has been on the rise. The figures through the first nine months of the year have been even worse with net income off 13%.
But, there's still a lot to be excited about. For example, Grupo Simec saw its sales to foreign markets soar. They're up 14% through the first three quarters of 2014, and grew 18% in Q3 2014 from Q3 2013. This isn't to say that its home market of Mexico isn't growing (sales advanced by 2% through nine months in Mexico), but emerging markets outside of Mexico hold the greatest opportunity of growth for Grupo Simec.
Also, I suspect Grupo Simec will see a drop in expenses heading into its fiscal 2015. With a majority of commodity prices on the downswing, but with Grupo Simec having no issues boosting its production or maintaining healthy demand thanks to strong global auto sales, I would estimate that its costs could drop by the mid-single digits in 2015.
As Grupo Simec also recently noted, anti-dumping tariffs against the company imposed by the United States account for such a negligible amount of the company's sales and EBITDA that it suggests shareholders need not worry themselves over the announcement.
All told, Grupo Simec is currently trading at less than eight times its 2014 fiscal earnings and 15 times forward earnings based on Wall Street's two estimates. Please keep in mind, though, that the two analysts covering this stock haven't even been in the same zip code when it comes to projected profits over the past year, underestimating by a mile in each of its four trailing quarters. I suspect this could be a sneaky value play for those looking to increase their international exposure.
Sean Williams owns shares of Bank of America, but has no material interest in any other 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 owns shares of, and recommends Bank of America. It also owns JPMorgan Chase and recommends Cisco Systems. 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.