5 Dividend Picks Trading At Low P/E Ratios

Includes: FCX, HPQ, ITUB, LOW, XOM
by: Investment Underground

Using the stock screener at finviz.com, Investment Underground has identified 1,139 dividend stocks that offer a price-to-earnings ratio of 15 or less. Here are 5 that we found particularly interesting:

Itau Unibanco Banco Holding SA (NYSE:ITUB) – Investment Underground recently talked about Petroleo Brasileiro (NYSE:PBR), and this is another Brazilian stock that’s pretty interesting right now. ITUB was down over 4% on Friday, as the stock was affected by economic troubles in both the U.S. and Brazil. The prospect of a third round of quantitative easing is another thing that’s shaking up Brazil’s markets. Some analysts are even speculating that the Brazilian government is worried about a recession due to the recent cut in interest rates.

Not everyone is bearish, though, and here’s one article that discusses why Latin American banks like ITUB could be a good choice right now. Specifically, some analysts have ITUB going to $29, and the growth potential for banks like ITUB is quite strong. In fact, Latin American banks may actually be stronger than their North American counterparts right now. Here is another article that has bullish sentiment for ITUB, again with a focus on the company’s growth prospects. Other Brazilian banks include Banco Bradesco (NYSE:BBD) and Banco Santander (NYSE:BSBR). ITUB has a lower price/earnings to growth ratio than both of these, and operating margin is decent at 43.99%. Note that ITUB’s dividend yield right now is 0.5%.

Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) was down nearly 2% on Friday. Some investors ducked out of the stock due to economic concerns as well as Tropical Storm Lee. Luckily for shareholders, though, the storm doesn’t appear to have affected XOM’s operations too much. Another piece of news for Exxon Mobil is a deal it has made with Russian oil company Rosneft, which will allow XOM to look for oil in the Russian part of the Arctic Ocean, and Investment Underground thinks Exxon Mobil will benefit greatly from the transaction. Note that BP (NYSE:BP) also attempted a deal like this some months ago. Another piece of news for XOM is its sale of some assets to Dynamic Offshore Resources LLC. Seeing as the properties of South Marsh 269, South Marsh 41, Breton 53, West Cameron 507, and Main Pass 125 are probably better suited for Dynamic, Exxon Mobil was able to get $182.5 million in exchange. This is another move we like, as Exxon Mobil continues to consolidate its massive enterprise. Note that XOM’s price-to-earnings ratio is currently higher than competitors like BP and Chevron (NYSE:CVX). Price/earnings to growth ratio, operating margin, and gross margin are all in the middle of these two other companies.

Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) was down over 5% on Friday, and the big news lately has been the company’s decision to restructure. Specifically, HP will probably spin off its PC business, a division that’s been notorious for poor margins. The company is also giving up on making hardware for its WebOS mobile operating system, although WebOS software efforts will continue. Whether any phone manufacturers actually want WebOS running on their phones remains to be seen.

Some of HP’s moves make more sense, though. The company’s acquisition of Autonomy, a firm focused on software for analytics, has been seen by many as a wise move. Says Gartner analyst Martin Reynolds, “Most of their [HP’s] services work is about integration and outsourcing and keeping stuff running… It’s not about transforming the way you do business — which is the way IBM would go.” And while IBM is perhaps HP’s biggest competitor, the company also has to worry about Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL). In fact, ORCL and HP are in quite a legal battle right now – HP claims that Oracle breached a contract, and Oracle claims that it was tricked into signing another agreement between the two companies. Clearly, things in this industry are heating up.

Lowe’s Companies Inc. (NYSE:LOW) – Known to many as nothing more than Home Depot’s (NYSE:HD) biggest competitor, LOW was down nearly 5% on Friday. In fact, many analysts now see LOW going up, and they’ve correctly predicted LOW’s direction in the past. A dividend yield of 3% is also pretty appetizing. Additionally, at least one analyst firm likes where this industry is going – away from the housing industry, essentially. Note that with a beta of 1.05, LOW is neither very defensive nor very aggressive.

The company’s also had some good PR lately, with its announcement that it will help those affected by Hurricane Irene. These types of things can only improve Lowe’s business. Lowe’s has also been affected by its recent reorganization effort. Investment Underground applauds the move and believes it will help consolidate Lowe’s business. As for value metrics, note that LOW is cheaper than HD in ratios such as price-to-earnings, price/earnings to growth, and price-to-sales. LOW boasts a slightly better gross margin, while HD has a slightly better operating margin. Cash flows for LOW have been about neutral lately, as $20 million came in for the 12 months ending January 28, while $84 million has been lost since then. The company has been aggressively buying back stock though, so that certainly explains why those cash flows are a bit low.

Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (NYSE:FCX) – This stock has outperformed the market over the past 12 months, as the price of gold has skyrocketed. On the other hand, some miners for the company are preparing to strike, and the stock was down over 3% on Friday. BlackRock is staying bullish on the stock, though, noting that mining companies as a whole have a lot of growth ahead of them. Strong margins due to high prices for metals also help. Essentially, industries are still demanding a wide variety of metals despite the economic slowdown. Materials to keep an eye on are platinum, palladium, copper, cobalt, nickel, iron and lead.

As described here, the time to buy stocks like FCX could be now. These stocks haven’t moved up much lately, while the price for metals like gold have gone way up. Note that FCX has a pretty low price-to-earnings ratio compared to competitors like Newmont Mining (NYSE:NEM) and Southern Copper (NYSE:SCCO). Price/earnings to growth and price to sales are also very low for FCX. FCX margins are about average for the industry – gross margin is 58.17% and operating margin is 50.67%. As for cash flows, FCX brought in $1.082 billion for 2010 and $640 million for the first half of 2011.

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