This rally has been tremendous. It reminds me of a surprise birthday party. Wasn't the European sovereign debt debacle about to bring global financial markets to their proverbial knees just last week? I feel as though I've awakened from a financial nightmare.
Most retail investors have not participated in the rally. I understand their obstinacy to reenter the markets with the sting of the 2000 dot com and 2008 housing bubbles still linger. What's more, the "I've already missed the boat" sentiment seems to be prevalent. Well, here are five stocks I believe still have substantial upside remaining based on strong fundamentals and company specific catalysts.
Current Market Backdrop
The market has unswervingly shrugged off a dangerous state of affairs in Europe, continuing apprehensions regarding concerns for global growth, and dispute over the inevitability of monetary stimulus. The S&P 500 is on stride for its fifth consecutive weekly advance landing it above 1400 for the first time since mid-2008.
Two Financials With Room To Run
Financials powered the market's recent advance with a majority passing the Feds recent stress tests. Financials are up more than 20% year to date and the top performing sector for 2012. Conversely, the financial were the most beaten down sector in 2011. So even though you may feel they have run up too far too fast, in reality they have a long way to go.
Bank of America (BAC) and Regions Financial (RF) are my picks going forward in this sector. Bank of America is currently trading at half its tangible book value, has a PEG ratio of .82, a quarterly YOY growth rate of 27% and a fortress balance sheet with $64 billion in trailing two month cash flows. Book value per share is $20. These are astonishing statistics. Throughout the tumultuous times I while many Wall Street hedge fund wizards were focused on European contagion gibberish, I suggested buying the U.S. banks. It appears as though Warren Buffett was right after all.
My second pick is Regions Financial . Regions is currently trading at two thirds its tangible book value, has a PEG ratio of 1.37, total cash per share of $9 and a fortress balance sheet with $11.3 billion in cash. Book value per share is $10.39. These are astonishing statistics. I've chosen my top money center bank with the Bank of America pick and my top regional bank with my Regions Financial Bank choice. I was an auditor with the Ernst & Young Atlanta office in the late 90s and Regions Financial was one of our clients.
Top Tech Pick: Micron (MU)
Micron appears technically strong. Micron is trading in a well-defined uptrend and recently broken out to the upside. Many investors live by the credo, "The trend is your friend", and will see this as a buying opportunity. Additionally, the coveted long term bullish indicator referred to as the Golden Cross was recently achieved. Micron's Golden Cross indicates the bull run may have just begun and the high trading volumes give it additional weight.
Micron appears fundamentally strong. The company is currently undervalued, trading for book value. Micron has a fortress balance sheet with 7.8 billion in net tangible assets. Next year's EPS is expected to be a monumental 232%. Even though Micron has had outstanding 2012 performance so far, it is not overbought. Finally, Micron is still 20% below its 52 week high share price of $11.89 and significantly below its recently increased price target of $12.
Micron has had a recent positive product catalyst development. Intel (INTC) and Micron agreed to augment a flash-memory joint project, improving efficiencies and adding tractability thereby increasing potential profits for both parties. Micron will supply NAND products to Intel, while Intel will sell its stake in two wafer factories for approximately $600 million. The agreement expands the companies' NAND Flash joint development program to include emerging memory technologies.
Micron has had a recent positive competitive advantage catalyst occur. Elpida Memory Inc. recently sought protection at the Tokyo District Court according to a filing with Japan's finance ministry. The bankruptcy may usher in a new era of DRAM consolidation, and will likely energize Micron's fundamentals. It is a win-win situation for Micron. Finally, Micron is a major supplier for Apple (AAPL) which makes it an Apple derivative play.
Two Steel Stocks To Buy On Weakness
U.S. Steel (X) is down big based on the recent downturn in the global economy. This is a turnaround play. Recent economic data have been promising and the market has rebounded significantly in recent weeks. U.S. Steel has been a laggard, but, may be the one stock with the most upside once the emerging markets gain traction and recover. (Which they always do.) This is your opportunity to buy low and sell high.
The company currently has 144.07M shares out and its stock trades around $28, giving it a market cap of roughly $4.11B. The stock's average daily trading volume is 11.35M. Shares of U.S. Steel are trading about 55.16% below their 52-week high of $64.03. Institutional ownership stands at about 74% and, as of 02/15/12, the total short interest was 29.17M shares. Its forward P/E is 7.44.
U.S. Steel is trading at the bottom of its trend channel. Next year's EPS is expected to rise 31.57%. X has a RSI of 48 and is 55% below its 52 week high. This is the beaten down stock of the bunch. Nevertheless, it has the most upside.
After AK Steel (AKS) announced plans to increase prices for some of its products, shares of steel companies popped. AK Steel Holding Corp. stated it will increase prices for all carbon flat-rolled steel products by $50 per ton. The increase is effective immediately with new orders.
The price appreciation will most likely be a short lived head fake since they just forecast a net loss for the first quarter, compared with analysts' expectations of a profit. AKS expects a net loss of 11 cents to 15 cents per share. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S were expecting a profit of 3 cents per share. Nevertheless, business is expected to recover in the second quarter, steered by the automotive market. Second-quarter shipments are anticipated to be greater than the first and the company expects to produce profits. I see any weakness in the stock price as a buying opportunity. These opportunities are few and far between with the recent run up in stocks.
Friday brings monthly consumer price data at 8:30 AM ET, monthly industrial production numbers at 9:15 AM ET, and the preliminary reading on consumer sentiment for March from the University of Michigan at 9:55 AM ET. Additionally, tomorrow is a quadruple witching options expiration day. Volume and volatility will likely be the watch words for the day. This may offer the opportunity to pick up some shares in these promising names at a discount.
Use this information as a starting point for your own due diligence and research methods before determining whether or not to buy or sell a security. If you choose to start a position in any stock, I suggest layering in a quarter at a time on a weekly basis to reduce risk and setting a 5% trailing stop loss order to minimize losses.