Ben Graham values: Silver, health care, global bonds

These 3 stocks meet the criteria of the pioneer of value investing.

By TheStockAdvisors Mar 8, 2012 1:29PM
By J. Royden Ward, Cabot Benjamin Graham Value Letter

Since its inception nine years ago, our Classic Value Model portfolio has achieved a total return, not including dividends, of 190.2%. Compare that to just 46.2% for the Dow industrials.

Here's a look at three additions to this portfolio that reflect the criteria of value investment guru Ben Graham: Silver Wheaton (SLW), WellPoint (WLP) and Templeton Global Income Fund (GIM).

Silver Wheaton, based in Vancouver, British Columbia, purchases silver from mines in Greece, Mexico, Peru and Sweden.

The company does not own or operate any silver mines, but functions by purchasing silver produced as a by-product of gold-mining companies.

Silver Wheaton pays less than $4 per ounce of silver from gold-mining companies like Barrick Gold and Goldcorp. The company owns purchase agreements on proved and probable silver reserves of about 275 million ounces.

Silver Wheaton contracts are very profitable and will produce rapid revenue and earnings growth well into the future.

Slower silver shipments from a mine in Peru caused disappointing sales and earnings results during the second half of 2011.

However, the slowdown is temporary and the recent decline in SLW's stock price offers an excellent buying opportunity. Sales and earnings will likely increase 22% and 31% respectively in 2012.

The company recently raised its quarterly dividend, which yields 1.1%, and will boost its dividend significantly again in 2012. SLW shares are medium risk and will likely rise to our minimum sell price of $54.54 within one to two years.

WellPoint is the largest publicly traded managed health care organization in the U.S. with 34 million members as of Sept. 30, 2011.

The company is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, which directly or indirectly provides insurance to over 100 million Americans. WellPoint is the largest Blue Cross Blue Shield plan provider in the U.S.

WellPoint added more than one million members in 2011. The company is gaining market share as uninsured Americans begin to add health insurance coverage and retired workers opt for Medicare Advantage plans.

The recent acquisition of CareMore Health Group will further enhance senior-focused health care programs.

Earnings have been growing at a rapid 25% rate during the past eight quarters, although recent growth has slowed due to higher claims and health care expenses. I forecast revenues to increase 7% and earnings per share (EPS) to advance 5% during the next 12 months to $7.95.

HealthPoint initiated its first dividend at the beginning of 2011, which could be increased in 2012. The dividend yield is 1.5% and the balance sheet is strong.

WLP shares sell at 9.1 times latest 12-month EPS and at 26% less than current book value. The stock price will likely reach our minimum sell price of $92.82 within one to two years. WellPoint is medium risk.

Templeton Global Income Fund is a closed-end fixed income fund managed by Franklin Templeton Investments. Closed-end funds trade on the stock market just like stocks.

Fixed income refers to the interest paid on the bond or preferred stock which is the same amount throughout the duration of the security. GIM is traded on the NYSE and invests in fixed income government bonds from around the world.

Templeton Global Income Fund was formed in March 1988 and is domiciled in the U.S. The fund is partially hedged against foreign currency volatility and is invested in government bonds of Asian countries (35% of total portfolio), Europe (26%), Latin America (19%) and other regions.

GIM is not invested in bonds from Portugal, Italy, Greece or Spain, which have experienced financial difficulties during the past several months.

GIM is currently selling at a 7.7% premium to its net asset value which is somewhat higher than in previous years.

The dividend, paid monthly, provides a 5.4% yield. We expect GIM shares to produce steady dividends and appreciate slowly during the next several years as global economic conditions improve further.

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