When I start feeling like there is no good reason to be in the market, and I should roll up the tent and sell out, I now know this is a signal to buy, not sell. This is how I’ve been feeling as of late. Warren Buffett says, “We simply attempt to be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy only when others are fearful.” So I say, why not take advantage of the value created by the current turmoil and start a position in the following stocks before the market sorts out the global debt issue and rebounds? After the economic storm clouds clear, (and they will, because they always do) you will most likely have missed the move and be buying in at much higher prices.
Buying low is not an easy thing to do, I know, but if you have a long-term time horizon, you will most assuredly make money. Markets don’t stay down or up for long, or Wall Street wouldn’t make any money. The Wall Street traders thrive on volatility. Markets fluctuate on a continuum, and we are bouncing along the bottom of it right now -- ergo, it’s time to load up. The very bottom of the market, during March 2009, was the time to buy, but no one I knew was buying; everyone was running for the exits at the exact time they should have been piling in.
Warren Buffett invested $5 billion in Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) recently. Bank of America announced the investment, declaring it would sell Buffett cumulative perpetual preferred stock, which pays an annual dividend of 6%, and give him a warrant to buy 700 million shares at roughly $7.14 each. Regardless of massive market losses year to date, Buffett says Bank of America is still a “strong, well-led company,” and he is “impressed with the profit-generating abilities of the franchise.”
Nevertheless, Buffett took a lot of heat for making this bold play. Most investors are steering exceedingly clear of financials now, especially Bank of America. I have a certain affinity for Buffett, the “Oracle of Omaha,” as I was born in the great "Gateway to the West" city myself. Furthermore, I am an experienced investor. I have been through several boom and bust cycles and learned that Buffett’s proverbs are words to live by, and following his footsteps (whenever possible) will make you money.
Many analysts are predicting a recession going forward. I don’t see it happening. How soon we forget: Just a few months ago you heard the odds of a double-dip recession were minimal, and now it is virtually assured, according to the crowd. In my experience, the crowd is usually wrong. There may be more volatility in front of us, even with the more than 10% drop in the market recently and the inevitable restructuring of Greek sovereign debt; nevertheless, this may be a good point to start a position in these buying opportunities.
I believe we are nearing the end of the correction, and it’s time to start nibbling at the amazing buying opportunities created. Many stocks look really cheap and have dropped over 10%. These seven S&P 500 stocks have dropped by nearly 43% on average year-to-date, and are primed to rebound due to a reversion to the mean, if nothing else.
The mean reversion strategy is based on the mathematical premise that all prices will eventually move back towards the mean, or average, return. Thus, if a stock is underperforming, its price will move towards its average value when the market rebounds. Many of these stocks have been taken down in sympathy with the global market sell-off or due to headline risk. Stock market correlation is at an all-time high, but when the market recovers, I expect these stocks to experience a significant rebound.
With the Fed’s recent announcement that rates will remain at ultra-low levels for at least the next two years, we can see that fixed income instruments such as bonds and CDs provide little protection against inflation, driving investors into stocks in search for yield. The Federal Reserve guaranteed super-low interest rates for two more years, an unprecedented step to arrest the alarming decline of the stock market and the economy. Bernanke said the Fed will meet for two days in September instead of the planned one day to discuss its options to provide additional monetary stimulus, among other topics. Bernanke went on to say he expects growth to pick up in the second half of the year. However, if signs of a recovery fail to materialize in the near-term, the FOMC may consider additional policy tools at its September meeting. This bodes well for stocks, creating a virtual win/win scenario for equities.
Moreover, most of these stocks are trading well below consensus analysts’ estimates; several have recent upgrades and positive analyst comments and positive catalysts for future growth. Below is a table with detailed statistics regarding each company’s current summary and performance information, followed by a brief review of each company, detailed current analysts' estimates and up/downgrade activity, followed by a chart of the company's key statistics. Nonetheless, this is only the first step in finding winners for your portfolio. Please use this as a starting point for your own due diligence.
The seven S&P 500 stocks are: Bank of America Corporation (BAC), Ford (NYSE:F), Sprint Nextel Corp. (NYSE:S), Corning Incorporated (NYSE:GLW), Charles Schwab Corp. (NYSE:SCHW), Staples, Inc. (NASDAQ:SPLS) and Alcoa, Inc. (NYSE:AA),
Current Summary Statistics (Click to enlarge)
Current Performance Statistics (Click to enlarge)
Bank of America Corporation, a financial holding company, provides banking and nonbanking financial services and products to individuals, small- and middle-market businesses, large corporations, and governments in the United States and internationally. The company is trading significantly below analyst estimates. Bank of America has a median price target of $11 by 25 brokers and a high target of $18. The last up/downgrade activity was on May 4, 2011, when UBS initiated coverage on the company with a Neutral rating.
Ford Motor Company primarily develops, manufactures, distributes, and services vehicles and parts worldwide. It operates in two sectors, automotive and financial services. The company is trading significantly below analysts' estimates. F has a median price target of $18 by 16 brokers and a high target of $26. The last up/downgrade activity was on Oct 14, 2010, when Deutsche Bank upgraded the company from Hold to Buy.
Sprint Nextel Corporation, through its subsidiaries, offers wireless and wireline communications products and services to individual consumers, businesses, government subscribers, and resellers in the United States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. The company is trading below analysts' estimates. Sprint has a median price target of $5.50 by 27 brokers and a high target of $12.60. The last up/downgrade activity was on Jul 26, 2011, when RBC Capital Markets upgraded the company from Sector Perform to Outperform.
Corning manufactures and processes specialty glass and ceramics products worldwide. The company is trading significantly below analysts' estimates. Corning has a median price target of $20 by 17 brokers and a high target of $25. The last up/downgrade activity was on Aug 9, 2011, when Ticonderoga upgraded the company from Sell to Neutral.
The Charles Schwab Corporation, through its subsidiaries, provides securities brokerage, banking, and related financial services to individuals and institutional clients. The company is trading significantly below analysts' estimates. Charles Schwab has a median price target of $17 by 16 brokers and a high target of $20. The last up/downgrade activity was on Jul 27, 2011, when Ticonderoga downgraded the company from Buy to Neutral.
Staples, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, operates as an office products company. The company sells various office supplies and services, business machines and related products, computers and related products, and office furniture. The company is trading significantly below analysts' estimates. Staples has a median price target of $19 by 15 brokers and a high target of $23. The last up/downgrade activity was on Mar 30, 2011, when Caris & Company initiated coverage on the company with an Above Average rating.
Alcoa, Inc. engages in the production and management of aluminum, fabricated aluminum, and alumina. The company operates in four segments: Alumina, Primary Metals, Flat-Rolled Products, and Engineered Products and Solutions. The company is trading below analysts' estimates. Alcoa has a median price target of $18 by 13 brokers and a high target of $28.10. The last up/downgrade activity was on Aug 12, 2011, when BMO Capital Markets upgraded the company from Underperform to Market Perform.
Disclosure: I am long BAC.