Price-to-Book ratio is a significant parameter used to evaluate the market value of any company compared with its book value. A lower P/B ratio indicates that a company could be undervalued relative to the value of its total assets (for more information on P/B, check out this video). Low P/B and good dividend yields are another combination of good traits that investors desire to see in their portfolios' stocks. Discussed below are three companies with P/B ratio less than 1 and dividend yield greater than 3%.
* as of 4/29/2013. Source: Yahoo! Finance and Finviz.com
Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE:CLF) is a dominant player in iron ore and coal production, though this industry has faced a variety of issues due to declining demand for both basic commodities. China was one of the company's most prominent buyers over the past few years, but the country has reached an excess of inventory for both materials; thus, the prices of coal and steel are declining. Another reason for coal's decline in demand is because of the low price of natural gas, which has caused a number of utilities to opt for that. In the past few months, however, the price of natural gas has surged, potentially benefiting coal.
In the last quarter of fiscal 2012, the earnings per share for the company came in at $0.62, which is better than expected. The revenue for the company stood at $1.54 billion.
Cliffs is a low-cost producer and is financially in a strong position to face the challenges that are present in coal and iron ore industry. Most companies in the segment are not doing very well, but Cliffs is one that has declined the most. However, the positive side to this is that as the material sector begins to rebound, there is room for growth for Cliffs.
While Cliffs has been the worst-performing stock in the S&P 500, the company's iron ore business is a profitable venture. However, the same performance is not reflected in its other ventures.
JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) posted better-than-expected profits in the first quarter of its current fiscal year, but investors do not seem to be impressed. Of the bank's $6.5 billion net income, $1.15 billion came from the releasing of funds, which were provisioned for potential losses from delinquent mortgage and credit card loans. From an investor's point of view, these types of profits are not indicators of demand for bank services in its truest sense. The bank posted a profit of $1.50 per share and its revenue came in at $25.8 billion.
JPMorgan has been chosen by Bloomberg Markets as the best-paid investment bank measured by the fees it earns. The fees collected by the bank last year stand at $3.97 billion, which is an up surge of 24.8% over 2011. The company has been No. 1 in the ranking for the past four out of five years, and last year it was also the top investment bank in debt and equity fees and overall.
JPMorgan has planned to trim down 3,000 to 4,000 jobs in its consumer banking division in 2013, to increase its profitability across branches. The bank is, however, expanding in terms of the number of branches. It wants to add some salespersons for products and services like wealth management, which will be helpful in contributing to its profit. JPMorgan has also focused on its wealthy depositors.
JPMorgan has recently been upgraded from negative to stable by Standard & Poor's as the credit firm's doubts about the "London Whale" episode eased. For our more detailed analysis on JPM, check out our article here.
People's United Financial Inc. (NASDAQ:PBCT) is an England-based lender with around $28 billion in assets. The company performs well in the core banking business, with three-fourths of its total assets including loans, which are primarily commercial. The bank has been successful in doubling its loan and deposits portfolio since the financial slowdown, and has been expanding through its acquisition strategy from the past four years.
For the first quarter of fiscal 2013, the bank's net revenue came in at $302.2 million, declining 2.3% due to lower net interest and non interest income. People's United posted net income of $219.3 million, a decline of 2.6%. The bank recently decided to increase its dividend, announcing it as $0.1625 per share to the shareholders.
People's United's conservative approach allows is to maintain a high level of capital. In a way, excess capital is a sign of sound company financials, but too much capital only indicates that the bank has failed to utilize the money and convert it into earnings.
Amongst the three, JPMorgan seems to be the most reliable stock to invest in. The bank has been chosen as the No. 1 investment bank and reported a healthy latest quarter. It is the biggest bank in the United States in terms of assets, and maintains a healthy dividend yield; additionally, its recent upgrade by S&P reflects a brighter outlook.
Both Cliffs and People's have their share of problems and likely warrant the lower P/B ratios. While Cliffs' future course is not sure amid declining steel and iron ore prices, People's is struggling from excessive non-interest expenses and non-accretive acquisitions.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, but may initiate a long position in JPM over the next 72 hours.
Business relationship disclosure: Black Coral Research, Inc. is a team of writers who provide unique perspective to help inspire investors. This article was written Aman Jain, one of our Senior Analysts. We did not receive compensation for this article (other than from Seeking Alpha), and we have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.
Additional disclosure: Black Coral Research is not a registered investment advisor or broker/dealer. Readers are advised that the material contained herein should be used solely for informational purposes. Investing involves risk, including the loss of principal. Readers are solely responsible for their own investment decisions.