By Frank Curtin and Taaha Khan
These stocks stack up well for the season ahead. Take it from the man who knows best about avoiding asteroids thought of as planets in the investment galaxy.
Research In Motion Ltd. (RIMM): Jeremy Grantham has been increasing his position in Research In Motion for the past year (check the stats here). Chances are he’s a big fan of Research in Motion’s cash cow, the BlackBerry smart phone. Since the third quarter of 2010 he acquired over one million shares to a current holding of 1,478,310. Does he know something we don't? (Probably a lot!) He’s not the only one placing his bets, though. The “Canadian Warren Buffett”, Prem Watsa is doing the same (article here). The stock has been in a steady downward trend in the same time period; however, it has recently broken above the $30 psychological yardstick and out of a range bound situation it has been in since mid June (see this article). This is a far cry from the $144 stock it was in 2008, when Apple (AAPL) took a big bite out of it. Also in June, the company issued 2012 guidance below analysts' expectations. The company's release of the Playbook, an iPad imitation, was also a flop. Along with the current litigation (see this article) on Research In Motion's doorstep, rumors of its imminent demise may not be greatly exaggerated. Research In Motion's next report card is slated for September 15 and the game plan it seems may be the premium on an acquisition (see this article). Research In Motion also just released the new Blackberry Bold in the hopes of keeping those last few diehard Blackberry users... it's light and slim so you can easily hide it in your pocket (see this article).
Baidu.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:BIDU): There was once a great and wise Chinese man who looked to the west and saw a Google. "A Google" this wise man said "I shall make a Google for my country." ( Ah heck, it could have happened that way). Anyways "A Google" was developed in China and they called it Baidu.com. And it prospered. It has even opened up markets in its arch rival country of Japan and is actually one of the few stocks these days that has an established trend line that doesn't seem to waver no matter what the global economy throws at it. You would be hard pressed to find anything that stands in Baidu.com's way except maybe the Chinese government itself (see this article) This company has upped its guidance (above analysts' expectations) every quarter since the first of 2010. This stock was $13 at the beginning of 2009 and is currently $140 per share after bumping up against the $150 mark once and then through it to $165.96. Baidu has a PEG ratio of 1.21 which makes you wonder if it has played itself out somewhat, but the analyst have been surprised consistently with this stock. The PEG for Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is .90 and Yahoo (YHOO) is currently standing at 1.18 for comparisons sake. Well then, let's compare the earnings growth forecast for next quarter: Yahoo is 2.98 %, Google is 17.66 %, and Baidu.com is 88.76 %!There was once a great and wise Chinese man...
Google Inc. (GOOG): Market gurus Jeremy Grantham, Glen Greenburg, and Wallace Weitz have recently added substantially to their positions in Google. The success of the Android Operating System may have a lot to do with this. (see this article) The Android Operating System now controls 41.8% of the high-end smart phone market: in comparison Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has 27% and Research in Motion (RIMM) has 21%. (according to comScore) The company is also preparing to launch Google TV in Europe. The stock itself has recently come down from the $600 watermark to $524 on concerns of pending litigation, but it has just won an antitrust suit in Ohio and settled with the justice department for $500 million to avoid prosecution for illegal prescription drug ads. (see this article) That leaves one dark cloud on Goggles horizon: it's pending lawsuit with Oracle (NYSE:ORCL), which may or may not be worth billions, (see this article) seeing as how The Android Operating System is open source and the burden of proof is on Oracle. I'm not a lawyer, but I know that the latest SAP (NYSE:SAP) development took a lot of wind out of Oracles sails (see this article). Litigation aside, and all other things being equal, this sets Google up nicely for the Fall and the holiday season.
Toronto-Dominion Bank (NYSE:TD): Le Groupe Financier Banque TD, that's how you would say TD bank if you were in Canada, but we are more familiar with TD Ameritrade, the innovator of online trading. (Toronto-Dominion Bank owns a little less than 45% of the company) Here in the USA Barclays just raised its target for Toronto-Dominion Bank stock by C$2 to C$91 on strong third quarter earnings (see this article) and American Guru Jeremy Grantham recently doubled his position in the stock. Toronto-Dominion Banks profits were up 23 % in the quarter and their earnings were C$1.72 per share, well above the expected C$1.62, (see this article) which led the company to boost its dividend for the second time this year. Toronto-Dominion Bank has a PEG of .99, the two closest competitors, Royal Bank of Canada (NYSE:RY) has a PEG of 1.11, and Bank of Montreal (NYSE:BMO) has a PEG of 1.85, which may indicate it is still relatively cheap. Of the 17 analyst that cover the stock: 14 have a buy rating, 1 has an overweight, 1 has a hold, and 1 has a sell recommendation. All the Canadian banks beat estimates, were in line, or posted a loss due to discounted operations in the U.S. Could it be that the Canadian banks are leading the way to the (financial) American Revolution.
Baker Hughes Inc. (BHI): As John D. Rockefeller believed, you don't have to strike oil to get rich, you can provide services for those who do with a lot less risk. Baker Hughes Inc. took this philosophy internationally and though they don't have the monopolistic advantage Mr. Rockefeller enjoyed, they are not as susceptible to price swings in natural resources and the inherent risk involved in drilling for and striking oil. The company provides oilfield services to the worldwide oil and natural gas industry. Baker Hughes Inc. stock is currently trading at its mid range for the year at $58.27 per share and the company's earnings per share forecast for this year is $4.33, for next year it is $5.94. Its top line is expected to grow 36.90 % this year and 16.50 % next year according to consensus estimates. The companies two closest competitors are National-Oilwell Varco (NYSE:NOV) and Schlumberger Limited (NYSE:SLB) with PEG ratios of 2.25 and 1.15 respectively; Baker Hughes Inc. currently has a PEG ratio of .60, so it looks like the stock is way undervalued at this point. So if you want an oil stock for your portfolio but don't want the risk involved in an oil company you may want to consider Baker Hughes Inc.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.