Thoughts On George Soros' 5 New Buys

Includes: QTM, RL, SD, TGT, TMO
by: Vatalyst

Thermo Fisher Scientific (NYSE:TMO)

As of June 30th 2011, this stock makes up 0.44% of the portfolio. In the second quarter, 482,100 shares were purchased at an average price of $60.88.

With the current price of $53.66, Thermo Fisher is selling at 15 times its current earnings and 1.4 times its book value. It’s cheaper than Bruker Corp (NASDAQ:BRKR), (19.7 times earnings) and slightly more expensive than Harvard BioScience (NASDAQ:HBIO), (12 times earnings).

Bookings for the second quarter exceeded sales which will transform into revenue in the periods following. Revenue was $ 2.9 billion, a 9% increase versus the same period last year. On the international front, rapid economic expansion in emerging markets bodes well for Thermo Fisher. China is the company’s third largest market. The recent acquisition of Dionex helps in the company’s expansion plans in China. Also, Thermo Fisher recently received a sizable order from China.

Management has been rewarding shareholders, spending $763 million in buying back 13.5 million shares. A further $475 million is remaining under the current program, which should be exhausted come February 2012. Analysts expect sales to rise just over 10% to $11.6 billion. Thermo Fisher has a competitive advantage over its rivals due to its purchasing power, comprehensive product range and geographical reach.

SandRidge Energy (NYSE:SD): As of June 30th 2011, this stock makes up 0.21% of the portfolio. In the second quarter, 1.4 million shares were purchased at an average price of $11.15.

The stock currently trades at $6.50, valuing the company at 1.7 times its book value, slightly above its four year low of 1.29. At the time of writing, the current price to earnings ratio was not available. Going only on price to book, SandRidge is cheaper than Brigham Exploration (BEXP), 5.7 times book value and slightly more expensive than Apache Corp (NYSE:APA), 1.5 times book value.

Q2 results were excellent with revenues and earnings per share doubling driven by a two fold increase in oil production and higher oil prices. The company also raised its production guidance to 24.1 million barrels of oil, a 20% growth from 2010. Earlier this month, SandRidge announced a $500 million joint venture with a Korean investment firm.

Earnings of energy/exploration companies are never a sure thing with oil price volatility and exploration costs. SandRidge has commodity derivative contracts in place to reduce its exposure to oil and gas price volatility.

Ralph Lauren Corp (NYSE:RL)

As of June 30th 2011, this stock makes up 0.93% of the portfolio. In the second quarter, 498,244 shares were purchased at an average price of $127.29.

The stock currently sells at $132.84. Ralph Lauren is valued at 23.3 times current earnings and 4.4 times book value, more expensive than Guess (NYSE:GES) which currently sells at 12.2 times current earnings and 3.1 times book value.

Results for the 2012 fiscal first quarter (ended June 30th) were impressive. Revenues climbed 32% with earnings per share soaring 57% to $1.90 versus $1.21 for same period last year. A 19% gain in comparable store sales was also notable, reflecting growth in all of the company’s brands.

The recent decline in cotton prices should provide some margin relief. Foreign expansion is a lucrative growth opportunity for the company. Foreign revenues made up 33% of the company’s fiscal year 2011 revenues. The company’s goal is to increase European and Asian sales to about 66% of total revenues in the future.

For fiscal year 2012, analysts project 19% growth in revenues driven by expansion in recently developed product lines and growth initiatives in the Asian region.

Quantum Corp (NYSE:QTM)

As of August 3rd 2011, this stock makes up 0.52% of the portfolio. In the second quarter, 147,885 shares were purchased. With the stock currently trading at $1.86, Quantum is selling at 15.3 times its current earnings and at book value, making it cheaper against EMC Corp (EMC) – 21.4 times current earnings and 2.6 times book value.

Fiscal fourth quarter results were marginally better than the same period last year but lower on a sequential basis. Management also provided earnings guidance in line with analyst estimates. Of concern is Quantum’s ability to increase market share. Fifty five percent of its revenues are derived from tape automation systems, which are nearing the end of their life cycle.

To counter this, Quantum recently bought Pancetra, a virtual data protection company. Standard and Poor's recently upgraded its outlook on the company citing the company’s ongoing debt reduction initiatives as the reason.

Target Corp (NYSE:TGT)

As of June 30th 2011, this stock makes up 0.36% of the portfolio. In the second quarter, 543,900 shares were purchased at an average price of $48.97.

The stock currently sells at $51. Target is valued at 12.1 times current earnings, 2.2 times price to book and a 2% dividend yield, roughly on par with Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) 12.1 times earnings, 2.6 times book value and a 2.6 % dividend yield, and cheaper than Dollar Tree (NASDAQ:DLTR) 20.3 times earnings,5.7 times book value and no dividend yield.

Target is planning to open between 125 to 150 stores in Canada by 2014. Going forward, earnings are expected to stay flat or improve slightly due to growing sales of low margin goods, increased usage of the company’s REDcard which offers a 5% discount and costs associated with the Canadian expansion.

On the domestic front, 384 stores are to be remodeled to the PFresh format which stocks fresh foods. It’s a good move considering that sales have increased 6% versus same store sales increase of 3% so far for 2011. Taking into account share buybacks, analysts estimate full year earnings to increase 6% to $4.25 per share.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

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