In this installment of my analysis of recent purchases made by renowned investors, I will present 5 stocks bought by Kenneth Fisher's Fisher Asset Management during the 4th quarter of last year. In addition to estimating the price Fisher might have paid for the stocks, I have also calculated my preliminary price targets for the stocks using relative valuation to judge the attractiveness of these companies at current prices. Based on my preliminary analysis, I have short listed 5 stocks that offer decent returns from current levels.
Industries represented on the list include metal mining, oil well services and equipment, computer services, chemical manufacturing, and communications equipment.
1) McDermott International (NYSE:MDR)
MDR is a $2.91 billion company by market capitalization and is an engineering, procurement, construction and installation company focusing on complex offshore oil and gas projects worldwide. The stock has lost big during the last 5 years and is down approximately 50% compared to a decline of 8% in the broader markets. During this time period, earnings contracted at an annual rate of 23%. Going forward, analysts expect the company to grow at an annual rate of 16% slightly below the projected 18% growth rate of the industry.
Fisher Asset Management initiated a position in MDR by acquiring 2.3 million shares at an estimated average price of $11.9, which is slightly below yesterday's closing price of $12.4 a share. Applying my estimated P/E of 17 to 2012 EPS of $0.89, my initial 12-month price target for APD is $15 a share. A return of 22% is possible from current levels.
2) Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU)
Baidu has been range bound during the last year. The stock routinely traded in a range of $110 to $160 and is up 22% during the time period. Its stateside big brother Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) lost 4% during the same time period. After growing at an incredibly high rate of 87% during the previous 5 years, the company is projected to increase its earnings at an annual rate of 48%.
Fisher bought 94,350 shares during the 4rd quarter at an estimated average price of $128 a share and now owns a total of approximately 4.25 million shares of BIDU stock. Applying a P/E of 50 to the low end of 2012 average analyst EPS estimate of $3.88, my 12-month price target of $194 a share is obtained. The stock is significantly undervalued in my opinion. For comparison, my 12-month price target for GOOG is $800 a share. GOOG last traded at $578.
3) E I Du Pont De Nemours And Co (DD)
DuPont recently announced fourth quarter results beating estimates by two cents a share. DuPont had indicated some tough times in its traditional business of construction and consumer electronics in the past, but had expressed optimism in its newer agricultural and nutritional businesses. This was borne out by the financial results with newer businesses growing at a faster pace. The company expects to earn $4.2 to $4.4 a share in 2012. Applying a multiple of 14 to the midpoint of this EPS guidance, my 12-month price target of $60 a share is obtained. It would imply a return of 21% (including a dividend yield of 3%) from current levels.
Fisher Asset Management increased its position in DD by 60% by purchasing approximately 184,000 shares at an estimated average price of $45.4 a share. The stock currently trades at approximately $51 a share.
4) Belden Inc. (NYSE:BDC)
Belden designs, manufactures, and markets products for the transmission of signals for data, sound and video applications. This St Louis, MO based company has a market cap of $1.83 billion and is projected to increase its earnings at an annual rate of 8%, which is lower than the projected 15% growth rate of the industry. Fisher initiated a position in BDC by buying 214,000 shares at an estimated average price of $31.5, significantly below its current price of over $39.3 a share. My target of $45 implies an additional return of 15% from current levels.
5) Stillwater Mining Company (SWC)
SWC was one of Fisher's largest purchases during the last quarter, with Fisher Asset Management acquiring 3.8 million shares at an estimated price of $10.42 for a total investment of $52 million. The company is involved in the development, extraction, processing, refining, and marketing of platinum group metals. The company grew its earnings at an annual rate of 45% during the last 5 years and is expected to grow at a similar rate during the next 5 years. Applying my P/E estimate of 17 to 2012 EPS estimate of $0.99 a share, my 12-month price target of $17 is obtained. A return of 29% is possible from current levels.
As always, please do not consider this list as a "buy" list, rather use this list as a starting point for your research. Of the companies listed above, I find DD particularly attractive based on fundamentals and long-term growth prospects. The company boasts a healthy yield of 3.2%.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.