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I'm not a big fan of technical analysis, except when it makes intuitive sense. The multiple bottom is a technical measure that I have used numerous times to pick a ripe stock poised for a breakout. It doesn't always work, but when combined with other evaluation techniques, it can help identify a good entry point.

Here's the general rationale: as a falling stock tests and re-tests a price level (a.k.a. support level) without falling below that level, it suggests that significant buying pressure exists at that level. It could also suggest that holders aren't willing to sell at that level. Multiple bounces along a bottom strengthen the hypothesis. As the stock bounces up from support levels it hits a resistance level that too is often re-tested. This resistance level suggests a price point at which holders are willing to sell. But as the resistance is re-tested and the 'weak hands' are reduced, selling pressure subsides. A break (particularly on high volume) above this resistance level signals that a new upward trend may have started.

There are other interpretations of the multiple bottom, but most generally follow this line of thought.

I have found seven stocks that have tested and re-tested bottoms over the past several months, only one of which appears to have broken out of the sideways pattern. While none of these patterns predict the future returns for a stock, the months-long sideways movement raise green flags for many investors.

(Note: this is not a solicitation to buy. Consult your financial advisor and do your own due diligence.)

(click charts to enlarge)

AU Chart

AU data by YCharts

GFI Chart

GFI data by YCharts

PBI Chart

PBI data by YCharts

CPNO Chart

CPNO data by YCharts

KGC Chart

KGC data by YCharts

ARCO Chart

ARCO data by YCharts

USM Chart

USM data by YCharts

TickerCompanyIndustryCountry
(NYSE:AU)AngloGold Ashanti Ltd.GoldSouth Africa
(NYSE:GFI)Gold Fields Ltd.GoldSouth Africa
(NYSE:PBI)Pitney Bowes Inc.Business EquipmentUSA
(NASDAQ:CPNO)Copano Energy LLCOil & Gas PipelinesUSA
(NYSE:KGC)Kinross Gold CorporationGoldCanada
(NYSE:ARCO)Arcos Dorados Holdings Inc. ClaRestaurantsArgentina
(NYSE:USM)United States Cellular CorporationWireless CommunicationsUSA

I think the fact that these stocks have more-or-less moved sideways for several months is a good reason to do further investigation. To get you started, below I have summarized key metrics for each company.

In terms of valuation, the AU, GFI, KCG and USM appear interesting based on forward P/E and P/B ratios. However, beware of the South African gold miners as resource companies encounter social stress within the country.

TickerP/EForward P/EP/SP/BP/Cash
AU8.027.691.792.2212.5
GFI9.267.081.551.5711.64
PBI6.716.880.5233.384.98
CPNOneg31.821.662.5744.26
KGCneg8.752.490.86.77
ARCO26.816.860.734.1911.23
USM17.919.480.730.865.98

Looking at dividend yields, PBI appears too good to be true. But, according to the graph below, it has paid a consistent, growing dividend over the years. Perhaps market valuations (and therefore the dividend yield) suggest the market is anticipating a dividend cut?

TickerDividend YieldPayout Ratio
AU1.91%14.01%
GFI3.89%7.27%
PBI11.24%74.41%
CPNO7.38%Negative
KGC1.81%Negative
ARCO1.82%n/a
USMn/a0.00%

PBI Dividend Chart

PBI Dividend data by YCharts

It's important to note, it appears that PBI earnings is highly exposed to the business cycle, as the stock is highly levered. Note that different data sources show a different Debt-to-Equity ratio for PBI, but all are very high. Before anyone jumps head-first into PBI's dividend yield, I suggest a deep dive into the company's financials and prospects. Otherwise, you may get more than you bargained for.

TickerLT Debt/Equity
AU0.45
GFI0.36
PBI40.69
CPNO1.15
KGC0.09
ARCO0.99
USM0.24

PBI's leverage is amplifying its ROE, however this high ROE comes with a lot of potential risk. Meanwhile, AU, GFI and ARCO appear to be meaningfully profitable companies. Profitability ratios are displayed below.

TickerReturn on AssetsReturn on EquityOperating Margin
AU16.18%33.08%34.22%
GFI9.39%16.79%25.90%
PBI5.33%1017.78%8.48%
CPNO-13.38%-44.79%-16.36%
KGC-12.69%-16.25%-38.59%
ARCO5.46%15.09%6.65%
USM3.29%4.95%6.52%

Disclaimer: This is not advice. While the author makes every effort to provide high quality information, the information is not guaranteed to be accurate and should not be relied on. Investing involves risk and you could lose all your money. Consult a professional advisor before making any investing decisions.

Data Source: Finviz.

Source: 7 Stocks Hitting Multiple Bottoms