Last week the markets experienced chaos, with the S&P seeing a loss of over 7%. This loss came as a result of market fear and doubt concerning our economy. With the latest developments, a downgrade of U.S. credit, panic is sure to continue throughout the week.
Investors are impulsive regarding the way in which they trade stocks. Everyone is worried about the potential for another recession as in 2008. The Dow Jones traded on Friday with a range of 400 points as investor's became more fickle.
I do not believe we have seen the end of this downtrend, however, we may see a couple gains or stalls along the fall. As an investor I have set prices at which I will purchase stock with losses to accumulate additional shares. I feel confident in this position as I have been successful with this strategy many times in the past. However there are many stocks that have experienced price action that is difficult to justify. These stocks are falling as a result of market panic testing new 52 week lows. The following stocks have seen a great deal of loss over the last few weeks and I believe present great buying opportunities.
CenturyLink (CTL) has seen loss in excess of 10% since Tuesday, August 2nd after releasing earnings. The company's earnings report was a tale of two sides as net income dropped and revenue increased. The company addressed the net income issue and spoke of the Quest acquisition and non cash accounting charges. Yet revenue increased from $1.77 billion to $4.41 billion, which includes $2.7 billion from Quest. Since 2008, revenue for the company has continued to increase and last quarter assets increased drastically.
The company has a lot of upside and is trading with a P/E of only 14.3. The company has made several acquisitions and completed multiple mergers. They appear to be focusing growth on these mergers and acquisitions. I would purchase this stock, however it will probably drop slightly lower. The company pays a solid dividend and if investors can load up on shares as a result of a market downtrend then it should pay off. You can always correct company spending to become more profitable but it is more difficult to create additional revenue. I will buy on the increase in revenue and believe that the company will adjust spending to increase EPS and benefit from a high dividend.
The next company that set 52 week lows is actually 3 companies within an industry. The airline industry has seen heavy loss throughout the year to accommodate the 5 day loss it has experienced. Southwest Airlines (LUV), United Continental (UAL), and Delta Airlines (DAL) have all seen loss and recorded new 52 week lows. All three companies posted an increase in revenue but posted net income that missed expectations. Southwest Airlines said in their earning conference that if they would have paid 2nd quarter 2010 prices in fuel they would have saved $420 million. Considering the fact that fuel fluctuates, I find this to be encouraging.
Each of the three companies has seen losses in excess of 24% during the last 52 weeks. Each company trades with a relatively low P/E ratio and has increased revenue substantially. United Continental Holding doubled their revenue year over year but still could not hit EPS goals. Each company posted much better revenue in 2010 versus 2009 and is on track to post higher revenue this year. Delta Airlines posted increased revenue year over year for the last 5 years in a row. EPS has been inconsistent but I expect it to balance in the near future.
This is not an overnight success story with any airline company. It may take 3 years to see large returns. The potential is present to see short term gains but I believe it will take time. The stocks are undervalued and many analyst say there are many issues within the industry. I see the increase in revenue as a supply of business, it tells me that more people are flying. A company can correct operational issues to create more profit but it is hard to create the level of revenue it has. I expect the sector to see gains in the coming years and for these three companies with higher revenue, a low P/E, and a 52 week low price to become more profitable and benefit the most.
Stillwater Mining Company (SWC) presents one of the best opportunities among companies within the sector. The stock has lost more than 40% of its value in one month and more than 10% during the last 5 days. There were several reasons as to why this decline in price has occurred. The first being 2nd quarter financial results where the company announced revenue of $222.6 million up 65% year over year and record net income of $42.7 million a gain of 192% year over year. The company increased production guidance and completed a new 4 year labor agreement. At this current position, the stock has nothing but potential.
The company has posted a higher EPS for the last 3 years and has increased revenue the last 2 years. The company is currently on track to keep the streak going on better financials year over year. The price was primarily driven down because of lower commodity prices. Investors offer the explanation that the company paid too much for the acquisition of Peregrine Metals to expand into a plentiful area in Argentina. I disagree, the company has increased guidance, posted solid financials and I trust they know what they bought in Argentina. The company is only sending signals of growth and they have given me no reason to doubt them at this point therefore I see them as a buy and expect large returns over the next 4 years.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.