Just as we examine companies each week that may be rising past their fair value, we can also find companies potentially trading at bargain prices. 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 when the market reacts to the upside.
Here's a look at three fallen angels trading near their 52-week lows that could be worth buying.
A veritable money machine
Not to beat the door down on natural gas or master limited partnerships any more than I already have, but if you haven't given El Paso Pipeline Partners (NYS: EPB) a serious look, you're doing yourself a major disservice. Normally investors immediately draw themselves to the highest-yielding MLPs while ignoring those with smaller yields. That's not always the smartest thing to do as you'll see with El Paso Pipeline.
The company itself was formed by El Paso, which was itself recently acquired by Kinder Morgan (NYS: KMI) . Prior to the merger completion, El Paso Pipeline entered into a deal to purchase $635 million worth of pipeline from its parent El Paso (as well as $242 million in debt) to add to its existing holdings in Colorado and Wyoming.
The really exciting aspect of El Paso Pipeline is its assets that transport not only natural gas, but in-high-demand natural gas liquids, which are still commanding a premium price. Although earnings estimates have failed to live up to Wall Street's expectations over the past four quarters, this MLP more than makes up for it by having increased its quarterly dividend distribution in 15 of the past 18 quarters. As it's now yielding 6.1%, investors can expect a complete dividend payback in about 16 years or sooner if they reinvest their payout. Natural gas companies of all forms are being unfairly hit, as I see it, and this looks like a long-term winner.
A warning or a blessing in disguise
Under normal circumstances, show me a company that has disappointed Wall Street with its earnings guidance twice in the past two months, and you'll see me scurrying in the other direction. In the case of Lattice Semiconductor (NAS: LSCC) , I feel that investors may be beating up the company a bit much given the circumstances.
Lattice has run headlong into a brick wall in Europe, where soft demand has more than offset what strength its Asian orders have exhibited. Despite this, there are reasons to be bullish on the programmable design solutions provider.
For one, Lattice is cash-rich. The company's current cash pile of $196.2 million nearly makes up half of its market value. Another reason Lattice is attractive is the sheer magnitude of its drop given the marginal correction in earnings guidance. I'm aware that going from 0%-4% growth to 0% to minus 3% growth in just two months is a swing that demonstrates the company has limited market visibility with regard to its products' demand, but that revenue swing has lopped 22% off the stock in just three days. Finally, operating expenses are flat. To me, that's a good sign as it shows Lattice can keep its costs under control. I'm not looking for any miracles here, but Lattice looks like a good candidate to rebound in the coming years.
Geared for growth
How about one more oil and gas drilling play to end the week? I know what you're probably thinking: "Why?" I can understand your concerns as Chesapeake Energy (NYS: CHK) , the nation's second-largest producer of natural gas, announced plans to cut capital expenditures by $3 billion over the next three years. Also, since October, roughly 35% of all land-based rigs targeting natural gas have been shut down because of oversupply and weak pricing. Yet, Precision Drilling (NYS: PDS) could be a great value that investors may have lumped in with the wrong crowd.
Although Precision doesn't have a crystal ball, it's done well to position itself in the Bakken and Eagle Ford shales, garnering higher day-rate contracts in the U.S. and in Canada. Primarily attributable to receiving higher day rates is the increase in demand, since it has focused 75% of its North American land-based drilling rigs on oil targets. Unlike natural gas, oil and natural gas liquid prices remain high, and many E&P oil and gas companies have shifted their production primarily to an oil and NGL focus.
Valued at roughly 90% of book value and less than five times forward earnings, Precision Drilling's growth trend shouldn't slow as natural gas prices vacillate near decade-lows. This means the company could be a gusher of a value at these levels.
This week, we looked at three companies that were thrown out with the rest of their sector despite marginal weakness (if any) in their earnings reports. All three could present a good long-term investment if investors simply threw their emotions out of the equation and took a good look at each company.
In the meantime, consider adding these potential winners to your free and personalized watchlist -- and get your own personal copy of our special report, "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2012," to see which company our chief investment officer has dubbed the "Costco of Latin America." Best of all, this report is completely free, so don't miss out!
At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributor Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. He has been known to shout at his friends to "Drill, baby, drill!" 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 Chesapeake Energy and Precision Drilling. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of El Paso Pipeline Partners and Chesapeake Energy. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't 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 that's always on the lookout for a good deal.
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