Finding The Silver Lining In These 4 Falling Stocks

by: Kevin Quon

Watching a stock fall can be a stressful time for investors. It can also be a period of caution for those standing on the sidelines. But for those who equate the company's health to its share price, it's important to remember that the market capitalization is not always the most accurate portrayal of a company's value. As it stands, the market value is but an expression of the sentiment that ideally incorporates the full picture of the company's past performance along with its future prospects.

For those trying to identify an overreaction in a falling stock, one basic strategy is to piece together the company's problem and contrast it's severity against the justifications of the price decline. In some cases, one might be surprised to find silver linings for the rainy storm clouds that seem to be gathering over the company's performance. In themselves, such upside quirks might merit further investigation or warrant a buying opportunity when the market settles. The following four companies appear to offer such a case in their own unique ways. All values were taken as of March 5, 2012.

Name Market Cap. Last Price Trailing P/E Price/Book Ratio Industry
National Presto Industries (NYSE:NPK) $534 M $77.71 9.4 1.65 Consumer Goods & Defense Industries
First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) $2.43 B $28.08 5.1 0.67 Thin-Film Solar Systems
Amyris (NASDAQ:AMRS) $258 M $4.59 N/A 1.31 Renewable Chemicals & Fuels
SodaStream International (NASDAQ:SODA) $749 M $37.30 27.45 3.36 Carbonated Beverage Systems

National Presto Industries. For a company that specializes in safe markets that tend to offer stability, watching its share price drop from $102 down to $77 in a little less than a week serves as an alarming curiosity. Yet despite the drastic decline, there appeared to be little reason for the excessive reaction that ensued immediately following the issuance of the annual dividend. The company's revenues had been falling over the past year, however, and it was likely that this most recent decline was in part due to those lingering around in order to qualify for the dividend. Nevertheless, the company has no long-term debt, has thus far paid out a dividend in excess of 5% over the last three years, and was founded in 1905. Despite a rough year, the company remains well-lodged in the traditional safe haven markets of home kitchenware, defense products, and adult diapers.

First Solar. Repeatedly bashed by falling guidance, shifting management, and a deteriorating business environment, this leader in the solar market has taken one of the largest plunges in the stock market over the past year. Despite also having self-reported themselves to the SEC in light of a possible violation, the company has come under additional pressure with "news" of an ongoing SEC investigation. As the analysts appear more than eager to throw in the towel in light of the compounding issues, the somewhat meager guidance cut of only 10% might suggest that the company is on the threshold of seeing the beginning to the end of its woes. As First Solar's business model adapts to the end of a reliance on lucrative subsidies, those willing to endure the transition might find comfort in the positive earnings guidance still in store for the company. Added alongside the deep discount off the company's book value, and one might begin to wonder if the company has been deeply oversold irregardless of the many problems its faced on multiple fronts. With its direct competition continually posting net losses on a quarterly basis, First Solar's recent collapse might be more of an exaggeration yet to be made apparent with the passing of time.

Amyris. Poor industry sentiments, delayed company plans, another round of financing, and a poor reaction to the company's earnings have all served as the ongoing catalyst that has sent this company's stock into a seemingly endless spiral over the last 3 months. Yet as Motley Fool Blogger Maxxwell Chatsko is quick to point out in his last article, Amyris was successfully able to raise much needed funds with ease through multiple investors. Among them was a new investor found in Biolding Investment SA, an entity owned by His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalifa Al-Thani of Quatar. Additionally, another commitment of a separate $15 million would be invested by Biolding upon satisfaction by Amyris to meet certain criteria at it's Paraíso Bioenergia SA production plant in Brazil. With such commitment found in its backers despite performance shortfalls perceived by its retail investors, Amyris continues to lose market value despite its recent win from a financing standpoint.

SodaStream International. SodaStream International has fallen from grace over the last week as the Israeli company dropped 20% to $37.30. The company had traded around $48/share prior to release of the quarterly earnings, which failed to impress investors as starter kit sales fell short of analyst expectations. With a lowered projected guidance of 28% from the expected 39% sales growth in 2011, the company still continues to make large market penetrations regardless of dashed expectations. Within a day, Oppenheimer and Roth Capital continued to reaffirm their buy ratings on the company with price targets of $55 and $60 respectively.

Disclosure: I am long AMRS, FSLR, NPK.

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