5 Speculative Stocks With Big Upside Potential

by: Stock Croc

The stock markets are becoming more volatile day by day and it becomes difficult to find stocks that can protect you in a period of recession, much less provide stable returns in a volatile market. The following stocks will provide both, based on my analysis of their growth rates, cash-on-hand and proportion of income derived outside the U.S. Here is my actionable analysis on these picks:

Peet’s Coffee and Tea Inc. (NASDAQ:PEET) is a specialty roaster of ‘green’ coffee and supplier of coffee and tea along with brewing equipment and accessories. PEET operates retail and specialty segments, the former comprising the bulk (61%, FY 2010) of revenue, with the specialty segment (38%) filling the remainder. In spite of rising prices of coffee beans in the African and South American continents, PEET has shown a steady growth trajectory in the last 5 years, posting over 13% increase in sales over the last five years.

PEET’s cup is full of joy as it reported a 13.7% year-on-year quarterly growth in revenue, compared with 15.3% for Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX). Although PEET is trading at comparatively high price earnings multiple of almost 40 times compared with an industry average of just 30 times, the stock is trading well above its 200-day moving average, indicating a strong upward momentum.

Nu Skin Enterprises, Inc. (NYSE:NUS) is the name behind brands such as Nu Skin and Pharmanex and a leading personal and healthcare products company with a presence in every major emerging market. It has a dedicated segment each for Greater China and South Asia, suggesting just how relevant those regions are for the company. 86% of its revenue is generated outside the United States through a wide network of 80,000 active distributors.

Close to a $3 billion enterprise value company, NUS showed a growth of 11.7% in quarterly revenue, year on year. While operating margins are at par with the industry average i.e. 15.14% vs. 12.14%, the company is a bargain with a price earnings multiple of under 22 times when the industry average is over 37 times. The only thing that should concern an investor about this stock is its multi-level marketing (MLM) model, which is frowned upon in several markets.

Dollar Tree Inc. (NASDAQ:DLTR) is the go-to store for under $1 products with over 4,000 stores across North America, under brands such as Dollar Tree, Deal$ and Dollar Giant among others. I like this stock in particular, not just because of its implied relative immunity to the economic pressure aka recession, but also because even though they are pricing everything under a dollar, they still manage to beat out the competition with almost 3 times and 3.5 times the operating and net margins respectively, at 11.5% and 7.2%.

DLTR reported a year-on-year quarterly revenue growth of just under 12%, compared with 8.80% of 99 Cents Only Stores (NYSE:NDN). The operating margins are way better than other competitors such as Family Dollar Stores (NYSE:FDO) at 11.47% vs. 8.18%. With a 5- year EPS growth rate of over 23%, DLTR is relatively higher in price-earnings valuation than I’d like to see, at about 21 times as compared with peers such as 99 Cents Only Stores (NDN) at almost 19 times and Family Dollar stores (FDO) at almost 18 times.

DeVry Inc. (NYSE:DV) is a for-profit education and training company, with a presence across K-12 to higher education, as well as some professional programs. Advanced Academics, Becker Professional Education, DeVry University and Ross University are its major brands. The stock is trading around $35, near its low in the 52-week range of $66.85- $34.24, with a price earnings of under 8 times, making it a comparative bargain with the industry at over 21 times.

Interestingly, DV managed to stay out of the 4 for-profit educator list, covering companies with high fiduciary risk. Still the stock has tumbled for the most part since July, and I believe with education being a mainstay of any economy, DV is an excellent bet. With the training and education industry taking a hit lately, DV managed just half a percent decline in quarterly revenues, a major feat when compared with peers such as ITT Educational Services (NYSE:ESI) and Apollo Group Inc. (NASDAQ:APOL), which lost 10% each in quarterly revenues.

Cal-Maine Foods, Inc. (NASDAQ:CALM) is an A to Z service provider in the farm products industry, with brands including Egg-Land’s Best, Farmhouse and 4-Grain. CALM sells its products primarily in the southeastern, southwestern, mid-western and mid-Atlantic regions of the United States, with Wal-Mart Stores (and Sam’s Club) contributing just about a third to total sales. CALM is being traded around $33, near the high in its 52 week range of $36.55- $27.20.

CALM reported a 28% year-on-year revenue growth for the most recent quarter, with a dividend yield at 2.5% and a payout ratio at 35%, both of which beat competitors, whose average was 1.99% and 17.69% respectively. The stock is a staple, and therefore relatively safe if economic numbers turn further in the red in the coming quarters. As such with excellent cash per share of over $7, the company is not only safe, but offers a high growth potential with a forward growth estimate of 6% for this fiscal year.

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