By Chris Preston
By now most of you probably know who Tim Tebow is. You know: The former Heisman winner and two-time college national champion quarterback who has inexplicably become a national sensation as the new starter for the Denver Broncos.
If you’re familiar with Tim Tebow, than you’re probably familiar with the improbable he’s been winning games since taking over as the Broncos starter earlier this fall. Tebow’s games typically follow the same pattern: three quarters of poor production, missing targets, and inspiring little confidence, then miraculously turning things around in the fourth quarter and doing just enough for the Broncos to win.
Well, there are a few stocks that have followed the Tebow pattern this year – stocks that struggled for most of the year but ended up winners after a blowout fourth quarter.
Here are three examples of what I call “Tebow Stocks”:
- Greenbrier Companies (NYSE:GBX): The ultimate Tebow Stock. This Oregon-based supplier of transportation equipment and railroad services started the year at $20.47 a share, steadily dropped to a 52-week low of $10.38 on October 3, and has since shot up 125% in the last three months for a net gain of 11.43% year-to-date. Like Tebow, however, Greenbrier appears to be playing well above its head: At $24.26 a share late Thursday, the small-cap stock is currently trading at 100 times earnings.
- Cobalt International Energy (NYSE:CIE): It wasn’t looking good for this oil company in early October. The stock hit a low of $7.06 after opening the year at $13.07 a share. But the mid-cap stock has since rallied on news that it stuck oil off the coast of Angola. Now Cobalt is trading at $16.00 a share – a quarterly gain of 95% for a 2011 net improvement of 26%.
- La-Z-Boy Inc. (NYSE:LZB): This small-cap stock lived up to its name through the first three months of the year. The makers of the recliner saw their stock fall more than 26% in the first nine months of the year, dipping to a low of $6.91 a share on October 3. Since then La-Z-Boy has been re-energized. The company’s quarterly profits doubled, causing the stock to gain more than 70% to reach a net performance of +32% for the year. The stock is currently trading at $11.84 a share.