Financial stocks are very shaky and risky in the current markets, but I feel there are a few "diamonds in the rough" worth looking into. I chose these four stocks because they are either floating close to their lows, or have seen a downward surge in stock price even though they are performing better than their peers financially. Despite their low price, below is the analysis of 4 financial “value” stocks that I feel will see exponential gains in the coming years. I believe there might be a few downward trends, but in the long-run investors will reap the benefits if picked up at these prices.
Aflac Incorporated (NYSE:AFL) is a general business holding company and acts as a management company, overseeing the operations of its insurance-related subsidiaries by providing management services. The current market price is $40.24 with a one-year analyst price target of $53.83. This represents a 33.77% upside potential. The company's net margin has been higher than its industry average for each of the past five years. Despite the healthy fundamental data, based on forward PEG, AFL currently trades at a 55% discount to its Life & Health Insurance industry peers. Not only is the stock undervalued, but it also pays a current dividend yield of 3.14%. Aflac is one of the strongest franchises, with a solid track record of delivering its earnings growth targets. The company is well positioned for sustainable mid-teens earnings growth (forecasted at 23% for 2012). Overall, I chose this stock because it is highly undervalued due in part to the uncertainty of the financial markets. Not only is it highly undervalued, but the company continues to grow and raise its dividend. This signals a company that is overlooked and underestimated. 52-week price change has been -24.03% despite its current EPS of 3.94 and P/E of 10.41x. The price is close it its 52-week low, yet its quarterly earnings growth is 7.80%. This is a fantastic pick that is floating close to its bottom, giving it huge turnaround potential.
BB&T Corporation (NYSE:BBT) is a financial holding company. BB&T conducts its business operations primarily through its commercial banking subsidiary, Branch Banking, and Trust Company. The current market price is $21.93 with a one-year analyst price target of $26.44. This represents a 20.57% upside potential. This upside does not include the $0.16 quarterly dividend yielding 2.82%. The company's return on equity has been higher than its Industry average for each of the past five years. Also, on July 21, 2011, BB&T announced its 2Q11 earnings results. The company’s earnings came in at $0.44 per share, a penny ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate. This also compared favorably with the prior-quarter earnings of $0.32 and prior-year quarter’s earnings of $0.30. This represents a growing bank despite the grim financial market sentiment. Another key indicator of BBT’s future growth was its net income available to common shareholders for the second quarter, which was $307 million. This is up 36.4% from $225 million reported in the previous quarter and up 46.2% from $210 million recorded in the year-ago period. BB&T’s results of higher revenue and growth in both net interest and non-interest income symbolize its vision for growth and opportunity for investment. This is a great stock to own at current levels, and the dividend it pays is generous for a bank of this caliber.
The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation (NYSE:BK) is a global financial services company. The current market price is $18.33 with a one-year analyst price target of $26.57. This represents a 44.95% upside potential. This upside does not include the $0.13 quarterly dividend yielding 2.75%. At 1.5, BK's current forward PEG is at a 34% discount to the S&P 500 index average of 2.2. Also, based on trailing P/E, BK currently trades at a 39% discount to its Inv Mgmt & Fund Operators Industry peers. It is no secret that this bank has been in trouble throughout the financial crunch, but I feel it is making substantial changes to its structure to come back bigger and stronger. On August 10, 2011, BNY Mellon announced a job cut plan, in order to improve profitability amid revenue headwinds due to a weak economy and stricter capital requirements by regulators. The company announced that it will cut about 1,500 jobs, which represents about 3% of its total workforce. The primary intention is to reduce expenses, which have been growing significantly. Despite growth from expenses, net income applicable to common shareholders was $735 million compared with $625 million in the prior quarter and $658 million in the prior-year quarter. I feel this bank has bottomed out and right now is a great time to get in. Although BK has been a risky bet for quite some time, beta is down to 1 (in line with the market), and the financial headwinds seem to be cooling off.
Principal Financial Group, Inc. (NYSE:PFG) is a provider of retirement savings, investment and insurance products and services. The current market price is $22.83 with a one-year analyst price target of $30.89. This represents a 35.30% upside potential, not including the current dividend yield of 2.95%. There are several reasons why this company is a solid investment choice. First, the company's debt-to-capital ratio has been lower than the Industry average for each of the past five years. Also, the company is significantly undervalued. Based on forward PEG, PFG currently trades at a 43% discount to its Life & Health Insurance Industry peers. Other factors that make this stock a goldmine include: its competitive position, fundamentals, diversified earnings base, strong organic cash flow, and PFG has the industry-leading retention ratio. Being the industry leader for retention shows the commitment the company has to its customers, which further proves its growth potential. Current EPS is 2.22 with a P/E of 10.23x, not to mention its operating profit margin of 13.14%. PFG's stock price is -18.96% so far this year, which puts it at a very advantageous position for value investors. This is a phenomenal company and a great dividend player for any portfolio.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.