By Rattana Sangsuriya
We can gain insight into investor behavior by looking into stocks that sell off, but then lag in any subsequent recover. Today, we look deeper into five stocks which have experienced drops but have yet to recover. These could be some of the best buys in the remainder of this quarter. Operationally, these companies are outperforming their peers. As always, use the list below as a starting point for your own due diligence:
Ecolab Inc. (ECL)
The shares of Ecolab have traded around $50, off a 52-week range of $43.81 - $57.19. This stock pays a dividend of $0.70 (1.30%). Its earnings have been increasing since last September, with the only weaker report out last December when earnings fell a mild 1.60%. Surprisingly, quarterly earnings' growth has recently been downgraded by -2.60% while revenue growth is expected at a rate of 11.70%. For an overview of the company's value, shares are currently trading at a price earnings multiple of 22.60 times.
That earnings have been downgraded by -2.60% over the next 12 months could have put a damper on the shares' momentum. This could be the moment to jump in, as many investors are unforgiving about Ecolab's short term earnings prospects.
United Continental Holdings, Inc. (UAL)
United Continental Holdings last closed around $20 per share within a 52-week range of $15.92 - $29.75. It has generated earnings of $1.20 per share and its current price-earnings ratio is 16 times. The overall performance of the company has been positive over the last 12 months. Its current operating margin is 6.28% and the most important factors for the company was a growth in earnings of 97.10%. Growth in the revenue of 88.00% over the past twelve months, on the back of higher ticker prices and net sales, indicates a strong growing trend for the company.
Currently, UAL has the highest revenue growth in comparison with AMR Corporation (AMR) and Delta Air Lines (DAL). AMR has revenue growth of only 7.80%, while DAL has revenue growth of 12.10%.
As a result, UAL is the fastest growing company, while competitors AMR and Delta are being left in the dust. We expect this trend to continue.
Old Republic International Corp. (ORI)
Old Republic is a title insurance company. Shares last traded around $10 per share, with a 52-week range of $8.99 – $14.18. This stock pays an attractive dividend of 7.60%, but its earnings were negative -$0.56 per share. The company has generated negative net income of -$131.60 million in the last 12 months. The current operating margin is currently at -3.93% and the return on equity is at -3.31%.
Title insurance is a good business, but in the Obama recession, a weak housing market has taken its toll on title insurers which derive the lion's share of their income from premiums earned for insuring real estate titles. In other words, sluggish house sales have dampened title insurers' earnings and revenues.
The performance of the company has showed a negative bias, however, the company has increased revenue growth by 8.60%, which is higher than growth experienced by First American (FAF) and giant Traveler's (TRV). FAF has shown a negative -4.40% growth rate for revenue, while TRV has increased revenues by only 3.40% last year. The ORI has the highest dividend rate and the highest revenue growth rate as well. This could be a reason to buy as it seems to be undervalued now or to put it simply, shares are cheap.
Intergy, L.P. (NRGY)
The shares of Intergy trade around $28, within a 52-week low of $27.77 and high of $27.85. It pays a dividend yield of 10.30% and has generated earnings per share of $0.82. The stock seems to be overvalued to some degree, but the company has generated a net income of $79.40 million for the last 12 months. It has been sustaining an operating margin of 8.32% with increased revenue growth of 33.30%. Shares have been discounted by investors, with a return on equity of -1.11%
AmeriGas (APU), Energy Transfer (ETP), and Ferrellgas (FGP) have also grown revenue but with a lower growth rate. APU has upgraded its revenue by 18.70%, ETP by 28.40% and FGP by 19.00%. NGRY has the second highest gross margin, at 33.16%, while APU has the highest rate of 37.74%.
NGRY could be growing at the fastest rate while making a competitive gross margin. It might be a better idea to buy a stock like NRGY rather than buying APU, ETP, or FGP, given the available comparisons.
Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc. (PNK)
Pinnacle Entertainment is a gambling operator operating casinos such as L`Auberge du Lac, with additional properties in Louisiana, Missouri, and Indiana. Gambling companies such as Pinnacle have suffered during this sluggish and recovering economy, as gambling customers have cut their spending for gambling, traveling, and entertainment. The shares of PNK have traded around $13, off of the 52-week low by 10%. The company has an operating margin of 10.19% and a return on the equity of 2.03%. Even with this sluggish economy, it has increased its revenue by 9.30%. It has made $10.29 million in net income in the last 12 months.
Companies like BYD and ISLE seem to be suffering more. BYD has downgraded its revenue growth rate by -0.70%, while ISLE has trimmed it by -2.40%. BYD has made a negative net income at -$7.98 million, while ISLE has made only 1.42 million. Moreover, PNK has made the highest gross margin of 74.51%. ISLE has posted a net margin of 72.48% while BYD has posted only 38.03%.
A poor economy might have decreased the appetite for gambling, but PNK still has been operating efficiently and even has increased its revenues. Prospects of inflation might have deterred investors as well, as gambling operations historically perform poorly relative to the market during inflationary periods. This might be the moment to jump in, however, before everyone else does since the U.S. dollar could be hitting key support levels. It remains to be seen, however, whether the U.S. economy can recover and benefit smaller operators like PNK.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.