Reluctantly Picking Turnaround Stock Favorites For 2014

Includes: ACW, FCH, FCX
by: George Putnam

Looking to spruce up your portfolio with a few promising turnaround stock picks? These value investing opportunities offer the potential for extraordinary stock profit.

Just as I am always hesitant to make a stock market forecast, I never like to pick out just a few of my purchase recommendations as favorites. Around this time of the year, however, I get persuaded to do both, but before turning to the stocks, it is worth talking a little about why I don't like picking favorites.

The main reason is diversification. A handful of stocks are not enough to provide adequate diversification to reduce risk--even though I pick stocks from different industries. Secondly, picking favorites from my contrarian investing newsletter's recommended list feels a little like picking favorites among your children--I like all our recommended stocks or else I wouldn't have recommended them in the first place! The third reason may verge on superstition: Often in the past when asked to identify a few favorites, those stocks have done badly for at least a while.

That wasn't the case in 2013, however. In fact, the five stocks I named as the Top Turnaround Stocks last year around this time gained an average of more than 90% by the end of 2013. With those caveats, here are a few of my favorites for 2014. Two additional stock picks are named in the January issue of my value investing newsletter.

Accuride Corp. (NYSE:ACW): While orders for new trucks remain weak, this wheel maker has fixed its manufacturing problems over the last couple of years, and become leaner and more efficient. Among other things, it has upgraded equipment and shut down less efficient plants. As quality issues fade into the past and delivery times get more dependable, the company has been able to win more business. And with costs coming down, profit margins are improving. While I can't say exactly when it will happen,I expect demand to come back as the economy continues to improve; and when it does, the company is well-positioned to profit.

FelCor Lodging Trust (NYSE:FCH): This hotel owner has done a good job transitioning its portfolio to more upscale properties in stronger markets. The company has sold a number of its weaker locations while acquiring a few marquee hotels in strong urban markets, and it is renovating and repositioning several others. These moves are beginning to improve the bottom line. The company has also refinanced much of its debt to reduce interest costs. Demand for hotel rooms is rising as both business and leisure travel continues to rebound, but the supply of rooms is fairly static because it remains difficult to get financing for new hotels. Rising demand, steady supply, better properties and lower interest costs bode well for FelCor stock.

Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (NYSE:FCX): While the stock has bounced a little off its mid-year lows, it remains a good way to play a likely rebound in metals prices. Freeport has extensive mineral reserves around the world. In addition, Freeport has a good history of expanding reserves through a combination of exploration, development and acquisition. Most of the company's reserves are of a high quality, allowing it to be a low-cost producer and generate strong margins. Freeport has recently diversified into oil and gas properties which should reduce the volatility in the stock. Even if you have to wait a while for a commodity rebound, you will be compensated by the generous dividend.

Favorite Turnaround Stocks for 2014



4-Year Range

Recent Price

Dividend Yield

Accuride Corp.





FelCor Lodging Trust





Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold





Disclosure: I am long ACW, FCH, . I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.