While some investors are making plays with iShares Silver Trust (NYSEARCA:SLV) and SPDR Gold Shares (NYSEARCA:GLD), the time to jump back into stocks could be now. Operation Twist and stabilization in the eurozone are two reasons why a rebound is on the way. Here are 5 stocks that look primed for big gains:
Although El DuPont de Nemours & Co. (NYSE:DD) has been steadily declining, the company’s joint venture with Bunge (NYSE:BG), called Solae, has just been part of a fascinating study. Solae is a maker of soy products, and there now appears to be evidence that soy protein may help clogged arteries. The full details can be found here, and the study’s lead author had this to say:
“The literature demonstrates that there is a 'window of opportunity' of a potential beneficial effect on coronary heart disease for products that bind to the estrogen receptor including hormone-replacement therapy, soybean isoflavones or selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) when initiated in women within 5-6 years of menopause.”
DuPont has also had success with its solar division as well as measures to cut costs across the company as a whole. Other chemical companies to consider are Dow Chemical (NYSE:DOW) and BASF (OTCQX:BASFY). Those companies are cheaper using price to earnings and price to sales ratios, while DuPont has the lowest price / earnings to growth ratio. DuPont margins are also pretty strong: gross margin is 28.63% and operating margin is 12.92%. As for cash flows, the company brought in $242 million during 2010 but lost $1.995 billion during the first half of 2011.
Charles Schwab Corp. (NYSE:SCHW) has been up and down lately, as investors speculate as to what the Federal Reserve’s Operation Twist will do to this company. Poor performance from mutual funds has already hurt brokers like Charles Schwab, and Operation Twist’s impact on interest rates could also harm the company. The growing popularity of exchange-traded funds is another factor affecting Charles Schwab. Keep in mind that these low-cost securities tend to be less profitable for brokers. Here’s what one vice president from Charles Schwab recently said about the trend:
“Individual investors are attracted to the efficiency and flexibility of ETFs, but many do not have a solid grasp on how they work. As more flavors of ETFs come to market, it is clear that the emphasis on education will be more important than ever.”
If Charles Schwab can charge higher fees justified by educating customers, there is an opportunity for higher profit, however. E*TRADE (NASDAQ:ETFC) is Charles Schwab’s biggest competitor, and that company has both a higher price to earnings ratio and a higher price/earnings to growth ratio. Operating margin is also significantly less for ETFC, although it is cheaper using price to sales. Dividend yield of 2.2% and beta of 1.29 are two more interesting statistics for SCHW.
Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (NYSE:BMY) has fluctuated quite a bit in recent trading, although the company has received some stellar news. Komboglyze, a drug being put out by Bristol-Myers Squibb and AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) has taken the step towards approval in Europe. This drug is actually Onglyza put together with metformin, and it is used to treat type-2 diabetes. There’s some big profit potential here, and investors may want to jump in now while the stock has got beaten down a bit. On the other hand, Bristol-Myers Squibb has hit a bit of a setback with its Abilify drug. Although this product has sold well, its use in teens is now coming under fire. The concern here is that Abilify has some rather undesirable side effects in younger patients, and it may not even work.
Besides AstraZeneca, Merck (NYSE:MRK) and Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) are two other big players in the pharmaceutical industry. These companies offer a wide range of price to earnings ratios, with AstraZeneca at a mere 7.42 and Merck at a lofty 33.46. Also interesting is Bristol-Myers Squibb’s high price/earnings to growth ratio (22.38) and its high price to sales ratio (2.57). Margins are about average for BMY: gross margin is 73.36% and operating margin is 32.74%.
Regions Financial Corp. (NYSE:RF) has fallen quite a bit in the past two months, and there are two trends that are now affecting this bank. One is Operation Twist, the Federal Reserve’s recent action that seeks to flatten the yield curve. Long-term bonds will be bought with money gathered from selling short-term bonds. The Federal Reserve hopes that this will spur lending, although many banks have just pledged separately to increase lending to small business. Indeed, this second trend is also an important factor going forward for the profitability of this industry. Also affecting Regions Financial is a recent ruling that may make the bank more vulnerable to class-action lawsuits. Full details on that can be found here.
Other banks with a Southeastern focus include Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), BB&T (NYSE:BBT), and SunTrust (NYSE:STI). Regions and Bank of America have negative trailing twelve-month earnings, while BBT and STI trade in the 15-20 range for price to earnings. Price to sales for Regions is 0.93 and operating margin is 0.17%. As for cash flows, $1.092 billion flowed out during 2010 while $1.055 billion flowing in during the first half of 2011. Financing cash flow items, especially paying down of debt, caused the 2010 outflow.
Schlumberger Limited (NYSE:SLB) has been trading pretty flat lately, although some are speculating that the Federal Reserve’s Operation Twist could send oil prices higher. This would be primarily caused by a weaker dollar, although possibly only in the short-term. As explained here, it’s going to take a change in regulations and business confidence before oil prices move permanently higher. Other news in the industry has revolved around the continued fallout from the Deepwater Horizon spill. In fact, BP (NYSE:BP), Transocean (NYSE:RIG), Cameron International (NYSE:CAM), and Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE:APC) are among the companies being sued. Meanwhile, Schlumberger might benefit from expanding oil production in Iraq. More info on that can be found here.
Schlumberger’s biggest competition includes Baker Hughes (NYSE:BHI), Halliburton (NYSE:HAL), and Weatherford International (NYSE:WFT). Schlumberger is about average for price to earnings and price/earnings to growth, although it has the highest price to sales ratio out of those companies. Numbers like gross margin (21.22%) and operating margin (16.1%) are also pretty normal for this industry. Cash flows for Schlumberger have been mixed, with $1.147 billion coming in during 2010 and $386 million flowing out during the first half of 2011. Note that recent outflows have been primarily due to capital expenditures.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.