Several well regarded value investors claim that fishing for bargains using the 52-week low list is their favorite method for finding cheap names. Mohnish Pabrai, Paul Sonkin and several other well known deep value investors prefer buying stocks hitting new lows because many times these names become "falling knives" that most traders and investors sell irrationally and without regard to logic. Indeed, Warren Buffett said many times that he only checks stock quotes to see if someone is doing something stupid in the marketplace. Looking at the 52-week low list was a hugely profitable method of finding good investment ideas in 2008-2008 when shares of Bassett Furniture (BSET) were trading for around $1 per share and for around 15% of tangible book. Today shares are trading for $8.24 per share and for around 1X tangible book value. Needless to say, i liked the stock much more at $1 when it was on the 52-week low list than I do today at a price of $8.24. Many other examples of below book value stocks can be given during that time period, but here are five stocks hitting new lows which in my view represent decent value investment ideas at current prices.
Target (TGT) - If you are like me and view Target as a gift at 10X earnings, other than the fact it is on the 52-week low list, means that it may be the "gift that keeps on giving" for a few more weeks and months. Unfortunately, Target shares are cheap and getting cheaper and at an EV/EBITDA of 6X I may dip my toes into the water here in the coming weeks.
ReneSola (SOL) - No other ticker symbol in the world really encapsulates the feelings of investors better than shares of this Chinese solar play - investors are truly S.O.L. in this stock. With a drop of $45 or so in the past month, investors may want to start buying this name as the fears and the bearishness are likely unwarranted and the momentum crowd is simply bullying the rest of the market in this crowded short play.
John B. Sanfilippo (JBSS) - You aren't nuts for liking this nut company at half book value. The stock is cheap and looks like a good value at a price that represents less than half of the company's net tangible assets. Additionally, JBSS has turned a profit in recent years and if the turnaround has legs, the stock could deliver strong gains to value investors with a penchant for low risk high uncertainty investments.
RadioShack (RSH) - The shack is getting crushed but at under 7X forward earnings the fears surrounding the stock seem highly overblown. Surely, the "business model" shorts are clobbering this name as it's a brick and mortar retailer in an online bubble world. RadioShack is not a dinosaur, however, and many people will be snapping up 4G cell phones from its stores in the near future. In addition to being a strong outlet for brain cancer devices, RSH sells a cheap flat screen TV and other bargain priced electronics, making it a low cost leader in a despised industry.
Research In Motion (RIMM) - Speaking of despised, there is no stock more hated than RIMM by the in crowd on Wall Street. Every day another analyst trashes this company despite the fact that earnings are pegged by the company to grow at an 18% clip to $7.50 per share this year. At current prices, that means RIMM is trading for a cheap valuation of just under 5X this year's earnings. It's enough to drive you crazy, if the cell phone radiation doesn't give you brain cancer first.
Additional disclosure: I may purchase RSH shares and shares of TGT this week.