3 Stocks Near 52-Week Lows Worth Buying


Just as we examine companies each week that may be rising past their fair value, we can also find companies potentially trading at a bargain price. While many investors would rather have nothing to do with companies tipping the scales at 52-week lows, I think it makes a lot of sense to determine whether the market has overreacted to the downside, just as we often do to the upside.

Here's a look at three fallen angels trading near their 52-week lows that could be worth buying.

Switch it up
Just when you think valuations in the beleaguered network equipment sector couldn't possibly get any cheaper, they somehow do. Last week, I profiled Brocade Communcations (NAS: BRCD) as an attractive takeover candidate. I think one of its closest rivals, Emulex (NYS: ELX) , deserves a closer look.

The days of wild gyrations are long gone for Emulex shareholders. Now the provider of network conversion solutions is looking more like a deep value play than a rapid growth story. Investors might shrug off Emulex because its guidance for the coming quarter wasn't up to par compared to what Wall Street was expecting, but it's hard to ignore a debt-free balance sheet and slightly more than $2 in cash and short-term investments per share. Currently trading at only 7 times forward earnings and right around its book value, it's only a matter of time before Emulex is back on its feet -- especially with the boomingIBM (NYS: IBM) accounting for one-third of its business.

A company you can bank on
Bank stocks are in the bargain bin, as fellow Fool Morgan Housel noted last week. But some seem like considerably better bargains than others, and I feel Bank of Hawaii (NYS: BOH) fits that bill.

Bank of Hawaii recently reported its second-quarter results, and like much of the banking sector, they were relatively mixed. Economic growth in the area has been below normal as the earthquake in Japan has had a negative effect on its business. Despite this, Bank of Hawaii saw an increase in loan and lease balances, deposits, and a decrease in loan loss reserves. Even with an efficiency ratio which ticked higher over the year-ago period, Bank of Hawaii remains solidly profitable. Trading just pennies above its 52-week low, the bank now boasts a 4.5% dividend yield. It's hard to argue against buying into a company that has consistently raised its quarterly payout for decades.

A hearty opportunity
Health-care companies have been indiscriminately bludgeoned since the U.S. debt ceiling plan passed through Congress. From home health-care companies like Amedisys (NAS: AMED) to drug producers like Teva Pharmaceutical (NAS: TEVA) , no company has been spared the worry created by potential cuts to Medicare. These concerns have created a potential bargain-basement buying opportunity in medical device makers -- specifically stent producer Medtronic (NYS: MDT) .

Medtronic may not be breaking down any doors with its short-term revenue growth projections, but I find it hard to ignore a company that has grown revenue every year for the past decade while maintaining its gross margin in a tight range around 75%. Even Medtronic's dividend growth goes largely unnoticed. The company has more than doubled its quarterly payout within the past five years and currently yields more than 3% . Valued at less than 9 times forward earnings, now may be the time to take a stab at Medtronic.

Foolish roundup
With the market down significantly over the past few weeks, bargains seem to be popping up everywhere. Keeping a tight grip of companies offering high (but stable) margins and growing dividends is likely to be a recipe for success regardless of the gyrations of the overall market.

What companies are currently on your buy list? Share your ideas in the comments section below and consider adding Emulex, Bank of Hawaii, and Medtronic to your watchlist.

At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributorSean Williamshas no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen nameTMFUltraLongThe Motley Fool owns shares of Medtronic, IBM, and Teva Pharmaceutical.Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Teva Pharmaceutical. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree 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 adisclosure policythat's always on the lookout for bargains.

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Originally published