Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL): Currently trading at $336/share, nearly $100 below analyst estimates of fair value, Apple continues to dominate the market with an unparalleled brand identity. It has a reasonable forward P/E of 12.4 and for the past few months, most analyst ratings I’ve seen have reiterated buy or outperform ratings. Apple looks attractive as a stock and on the desk (though I don’t have one on mine, to be clear). The boost in sales of the iPhone due to its increased service, now through Verizon (NYSE:VZ) as well as AT&T (NYSE:T), is another boon for the company. In the near-term, revisions in Nasdaq indices which reduce the relative Apple stake may soften the share price because many Apple shares are traded within the ETF index and mutual fund sphere. We think this may be an opportunity to buy shares.
Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A): Shares trade around $122,600 for A-shares and $82 apiece for B-shares. Berkshire shares are cheap in their own right and should trade around the $145,000 mark ($96 per B share) based on Berkshire's historic book value median of 1.6x. Most analysts continue to model Berkshire primarily as an insurance company which is meritable, given that Berkshire's insurance businesses we value around $85,000 per A share. However, the Burlington (BNI) acquisition has transformed Berkshire's earnings power to suggest a book value analysis consistent with that of a railroad for its representative part of earnings. Most railroads carry a book value between 2.0x and 2.5x which suggests Berkshire at 1.7x or 1.8x with all else equal. A second flaw in most analyst models interprets market prices as the fair value of Berkshire holdings-- to this end, large holdings like American Express (NYSE:AXP) and smaller holdings like US Gypsum (NYSE:USG) remain significantly undervalued, and that percolates through the models to an inaccurate, lower Berkshire valuation.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.
We took a look at "expensive" stocks that we think still offer investors substantial value. Don't let the high price tag scare you off. We believe there is still significant upside to these names. Here's what we found:
Google (NASDAQ:GOOG): In 2010, revenues jumped by 23.9% to $29.32 billion, net income went up by 30.4% to $8.5 billion, and GAAP EPS grew by 28.9% to $26.31. The EBT margin was fat with 36.82%. In 2011, the Street estimates non GAAP EPS to be between $32.23 and $37.51. In 2010, non GAAP EPS was $29.60. Google has the number one value brand in the world, at $44.29 billion. Google went up from No. 2 in 2010. Shares trade at $570 per share, which is right around our fair value estimate on a discounted cash flow basis. We use a 10% discount rate for the company. Q1 2011 results are released on April 15. Analysts expect between $7.58 (+12%) and $8.79 (30%). In Q1 2010, the actual non GAAP EPS was $6.76. Google has exceeded consensus estimates in eight of the last nine quarters. GOOG shares trade with a price to sales multiple of 6.5. From 2004 to 2007, those multiples were 16.5, 19.4, 13.3 and 16.5, respectively. Google has little to no debt on its books. These shares have the fundamentals to run up if Google can continue to grow EPS aggressively (25%-plus).
Markel (NYSE:MKL): Markel trades around $420 per share and is a decent buy right here for the long-term. The picks by Tom Gaynor and the float management team at insurer Markel Insurance mirror those of Lou Simpson. Gaynor spotted up-and-comers like Carmax (NYSE:KMX) early and did not hesitate to establish large positions with conviction. He also shows a preference for wide moat, quality businesses such as Diageo (NYSE:DEO) and Home Depot (NYSE:HD). The effectiveness and transparency of Anthony Markel and the leadership team is top-notch. Markel has shown a 20%+ book value growth rate since the company's inception.
Alleghany (NYSE:Y): Alleghany trades at $335 per share, a mild discount to our estimated value using historical book value. Alleghany has found its comfort zone in property/casualty insurance with real estate mixed into the formula. Its goal is to create stockholder value through ownership and management of a small group of operating businesses and investments. Alleghany’s subsidiaries include Capitol Transamerica and RSUI Group. In its last quarter, the company beat EPS estimates by 1.19 (4.85 actual vs. 3.66 estimated). Alleghany Corporation has had an average earnings growth of 1.9% over the past 10 years. As of the end of February, Alleghany holds $825 million in cash for use in future investments and has no debt to note.