3/28/2014 1:15 PM ET|
8 bargain stocks for value investors
Even in this rich market, these shares are still trading at a discount, says one fund manager.
Are there still any bargains left out there in the stock market? If so, where are they?
It is not news that by many long-term measures, U.S. stock indexes, and indeed many overseas indexes, are looking on the rich side.
But it's an old saw that there is always a bargain somewhere on the stock market if you know where to look -- even when most shares are expensive, like now.
So I asked one excellent value investor for his top picks. He gave me eight -- ranging from some small-cap and foreign names you've probably never heard of to some household names that even your grandma knows.
Josh Strauss is a partner at Pekin Singer Strauss, a $1 billion money manager in Chicago, and the co-manager of the firm's Appleseed (APPLX) mutual fund, a general investment fund with a socially-responsible angle.
The Appleseed fund was launched at one of the toughest moments for a money manager: Namely at the end of 2006, not long before the beginning of the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression. And while a seven-year track record is still a small sample size, it's impressive.
If you had invested $10,000 in the MSCI World stock market index back then and just left it there, reinvesting the dividends, you'd have made $3,200 in profits through the end of last year.
If you'd invested the same amount of money in Appleseed, you'd have made $7,800 -- more than twice as much.
The fund fell just 18 percent in 2008, compared with 40 percent for the MSCI World index of stock markets.
Strauss is a big gold bug, and the fund has 17 percent of its money invested in gold bullion. That helped it when gold was on the way up, but has hurt it for the past couple of years. The fund is also cautiously positioned, holding 17 percent of its money in cash and bonds. That also hurt it last year, when markets boomed.
Despite that, Appleseed was up 20 percent, not too far shy of global markets' 27 percent. The fund's stock holdings were up nearly 40 percent -- an astonishing performance.
So what are his eight picks?
Teva Pharmaceuticals (TEVA): The Israel-headquartered company, whose stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange, is the world's top manufacturer of "generic" or off-brand drugs and some patented, branded drugs. Fears over the imminent patent expiration of Teva's blockbuster multiple sclerosis drug, Copaxone, have left the stock too cheap on about 11 times forecast earnings and a free cash flow yield of about 10 percent, argues Strauss.
Titan International (TWI): This company makes agricultural equipment, including wheels and tires. Profits have been hit recently, in part because tumbling corn prices have hit the income of its customers, farmers. But Wall Street is too pessimistic, says Strauss. The stock is now just six times earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization. "The market has this stock trading at a depressed valuation on cyclically depressed earnings -- as if low corn prices are the new normal," Strauss says.
FTD (FTD): Do you order flowers online? You may use ftd.com. This stock was spun off from parent United Online (UNTD) at the end of 2013 and has been overlooked by the market so far, says Strauss. No sell-side analysts cover it, but Strauss estimates the stock is only about ten times free cash flow.
John B. Sanfilippo (JBSS): It's nearly 18 months since I first wrote about Appleseed's bullish take on the owner of Fisher Nuts. Since then the stock has, er, gone nuts, rising 70 percent. Strauss is still nutty about the stock, too (sorry about that. You try writing about the booming stock in a nut company). It's still only about 11 times forecast earnings.
Toyo Tanso (JP:5310): This Japanese company makes key components for solar panels and LEDs. The stock has been hit along with the wider alternative-energy sector, but Strauss argues the fall is overdone and the stock now sells for less than "tangible book value" -- the net value of its real assets.
Western Union (WU): These guys were letting you transfer money around the world long before "bitcoins." They are still the biggest brand worldwide in money transfer and payment services. The stock is just 11 times forecast earnings with a decent 3% dividend yield. Strauss says the business has high barriers to entry, and the company has a solid balance sheet and robust cash flows.
Staples (SPLS): Stock in the giant office supplies company has fallen by nearly a third since last summer, and the company recently announced store closings and layoffs as profits came in lower than expected. Many traditional retailers are suffering as we buy more and more online. Staples has also been hit by the sluggish economy, and the move -- thanks to technology -- toward more "paperless" offices. But the franchise remains robust, and the stock is now just 12 times earnings, with a 4 percent dividend yield.
Mosaic (MOS): Stock in this producer of potash fertilizer has halved in three years as the boom in commodities, particularly agricultural products, has gone into sharp reverse. An industry price war last year hurt the economics still further. But Strauss thinks the industry fundamentals are sound and the stock (with a 2 percent dividend yield) is a contrarian buy.
How will these picks fare? As ever, you pays your money and you takes your chance.
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VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
These are "Bargain Stocks" for a reason..
Most of these companies are laying off or are in the process of reducing stores and staff..
The only company I see with growth potential is Mosaic, expect to stay in for at least 5 years in order for the market to rebound from a huge growth in agricultural production from the past 3 years.. Normally this cycle takes 10 years..
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