Book Value Bargains

Includes: C, ELNK, HIG, SBOW
by: Bret Jensen

"Price is what you pay. Value is what you get." - Warren Buffett

The S&P reached its 2007 highs this week as the market completed a very successful first quarter with better than a 10% gain across the board. Despite the recent rally there are still some bargains in equities. One place to start is to find stocks that have a $1 worth of assets going for less than a dollar. Here are four stocks are that are still selling for less than their stated book value. They are cheap and have also attracted insider buying over the last six months.

Hartford Insurance (NYSE:HIG) - One of the largest U.S. multi-line insurance holding companies, Hartford is a leading writer of property and casualty insurance.

4 reasons HIG is undervalued at under $26 a share:

  1. Even with the recent rise of its stock in the market, HIG sells for just over half of its stated book value (.52).
  2. Insiders are holding onto their shares even with the bump in the stock price recently. There has been no selling in the stock over the last six months and there was one small insider purchase in November.
  3. HIG is cheap also on an earnings basis given it is selling at less 9x than this year's expected earnings. The stock also yields 1.6%.
  4. The shares have S&P highest rating "Strong Buy". Credit Suisse has an "Outperform" rating on the shares and predicts its book value per share will be over $62 by end of FY2013.

EarthLink (NASDAQ:ELNK) provides network, communications, and IT services to business and residential customers in the United States.

4 reasons ELNK can move higher from just over $5 a share:

  1. The stock sells for just 77% of book value. The company is still misperceived as a provider of dial up internet services in rural America. However, three quarters of its revenues comes from business customers.
  2. Although the company is posting small losses based on earnings, it is very cash flow positive. It sell at less than three times operating cash flow (just over 5x if you include debt).
  3. ELNK provides a generous 3.5% dividend. Insiders also have been net buyers of the stock over the last year.
  4. The median price target of the four analysts that cover the stock is $9 a share, substantially above its current stock price. S&P has its highest rating "Strong Buy" and a $9 price target on ELNK.

Swift Energy Company (SFY) operates oil and natural gas properties. It focuses on oil and natural gas reserves in Texas, as well as onshore and in the inland waters of Louisiana.

4 reasons SFY is a bargain at under $15 a share:

  1. The company is selling at 61% of book value. It is also priced at around 2x operating cash flow (5x including debt).
  2. The mean price target by the 12 analysts that cover the stock is $23.50 a share, more than 50% above the current stock price.
  3. Several insiders picked up new shares in February and insiders have been net buyers of the stock over the last year as well.
  4. Analysts expect the company to grow revenues at better than a 10% CAGR over the next two years and the shares have a five year projected PEG of under 1 (.91)

Citigroup (NYSE:C) is one of the largest bank holding companies in North America.

4 reasons C still has upside at $44 a share:

  1. Even after recent rise, the company sells at 80% of book value. Several insiders also bought over $1mm in new shares in November.
  2. Consensus earnings estimates for both FY2013 and FY2014 have ticked up over the last two months. The shares sell for less than 10x this year's expected earnings.
  3. Citigroup was one of the clear winners in the recently completed "stress" test. Citigroup should be able to start paying significant dividends again in 2014.
  4. The median price target by the 30 analysts that cover the stock is north of $51 a share. S&P has "Buy" rating and a $52 price target on C. It also rates its balance sheet with an A- credit rating.

Disclosure: I am long C, SFY. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.