I have compiled data on five companies that I feel are a "strong buy" at current prices. These stocks work well together because they are so different, which is a good hedge against risk. When picking stocks I like to look for certain credentials: No debt and data signaling earnings growth, an underpriced stock compared to the industry (but still has strong fundamentals), and finally, recent news that does not seem to be reflected in the market price. Such news includes new practices or products (like at Apple (AAPL) when the original iPod came out). The current prices for these stocks look very good, and their outlook is even better. This makes them jewels for any diversified portfolio looking for a safe haven from substantial risk.
Pfizer Inc. (PFE) is a research-based, global pharmaceutical company. The current market price is $19.82 with a 1 year analyst price target of 23.25. This represents a 17.31% upside potential. I feel that the acquisition of Wyeth and agreement with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) for HIV treatment development will provide Pfizer with long-term benefits. Also, the company’s decision to cut its R&D spending and streamline pipeline activities is being viewed as a major positive by the firms in the Digest group. Another reason why I like this company is because of the current dividend yield which is 4%.
The company's days sales in inventory has been higher than its subsector average for each of the past five years, yet this is not reflected in the price. Its competitors are much higher in price, yet the fundamentals are very similar; JNJ is at $65 a share, WPI is $69 a share, and ABT is $54 a share. PFE's Forward PEG of 1.8 represents a 27% discount to its 5-year average of 2.5. If the Forward PEG returned to historical form, the stock would trade at $26.07. Not only is PFE a solid company, but it is relatively safer than the market. Over the past 90 days, PFE shares have been less volatile than the overall market, as the stock's daily price has fluctuated less than 94% of S&P 500 index firms.
Duke Energy Corporation (DUK) is an energy company primarily located in the Americas. The current market price is $20.46 with a market cap of $ 27.25B and the enterprise value is $ 44.87B. Duke has a current dividend yield of 4.9% making it a great buy for income investors. DUK has a lot of debt on its balance sheet, but I like the fact that the company is focused on enhancing annual cost savings. Another upside is the fact that the company is developing its business in the core pipeline and utility businesses, which offers a good hedge and diversifies its portfolio. Not only is DUK a solid company, but it is relatively safer than the market.
Over the past 90 days, DUK shares have been less volatile than the overall market, as the stock's daily price has fluctuated less than 98% of S&P 500 index firms. Duke has an EPS of 1.54 compared to the industry average of 0.41, yet its competitors are trading significantly higher; AEP $40 per share, FE $45 per share, and EXC $45 per share. DUK shares are currently trading 6.1% above their 50-day moving average of $19.47, and 10.6% above their 200-day moving average of $18.67. This signals very positive market sentiment about this company.
Unum Group (UNM) together with its subsidiaries provides group and individual disability insurance products primarily in the United States and the United Kingdom. The current market price is $24.24 with a 1 year analyst price target of $28.5. This represents a 17.57% upside potential. There are several reasons I am bullish with Unum, for one it is a leader in the growing income protection and long-term care markets and fundamentals are expected to continue to improve which could boost earnings and valuation.
The company is modifying its business strategy to restore a more balanced mix by case size. It will continue to refocus on potentially profitable small or medium account cases. Aggressive re-pricing of Group Long-Term Disability book is expected to lead to gains in the benefit ratio. Although its current total debt is $2.76B, Net Income is $901.80M which signals strong growth and insignificant debt. I also like the fact that UNM has a dividend yield of 1.73% which offers an extra incentive for holding shares. UNM's Forward PEG of 0.7 represents an 18% discount to its 5-year average of 0.9. At the current price this is a great choice for growth and value investors.
Robert Half International Inc. (RHI) provides specialized staffing and risk consulting services through such divisions as Accountemps, Robert Half Finance & Accounting, Office Team, Robert Half Technology, Robert Half Management Resources, Robert Half Legal, The Creative Group, and Protiviti. The current market price is $27.24 with a 1 year analyst price target of $33.31. This represents a 22.28% upside potential. RHI is the world’s largest provider of flexible staffing for financial professionals and practices on the higher-end of administrative, legal, creative, and IT staffing. RHI has one of the strongest B/S in the industry with approximately $261.07M in cash and essentially no debt, which provides the opportunity to finance new service lines, fund dividends (current yield is 2.06%) and repurchase stock. There is also a strong market demand for RHI’s services, which makes it a great buy for future growth. The stock price is very cheap compared to its potential. RHI’s trailing P/E of 34.3x represents a 13% discount to its 5-year average of 39.4x. I believe the stock price belongs in the mid $30s, but has the potential to get back to pre-recession levels of $40s.
Mattel, Inc. (MAT) designs, manufactures, and markets a broad variety of toy products worldwide through sales to its customers and directly to consumers. The current market price is $28.79 with a 1 year analyst price target of $32.13. This represents a 11.6% upside potential, not including its 3.2% dividend yield. MAT's forward PEG of 1.1 represents a 21% discount to its 5-year average of 1.4. If the forward PEG returns to historical form, the stock would trade at $34.92, signaling a 21.29% upside potential.
I like the management focus of MAT; management is focused on top-line growth, cost cuts, increasing international sales, and growth through acquisitions. The company is also a key player in the toy industry, with leading brands under its umbrella. Mattel has numerous traditional toy brands that have been category leaders in multiple product segments for a number of years. Of the company’s major brands, Barbie and Hot Wheels remain the leading ones with their core lines and new lines such as WWE, Thomas & Friends, and Toy Story 3. Not only is the brand very strong, but the balance sheet is also very strong with a good cash flow position. This stock is a great addition to any portfolio.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.