Two Stocks On the Cheap: Starwood Hotels and Freeport McMoRan

Includes: FCX, MAR
by: Dan Knight

As a quant, I don't know much about the stories surrounding many stocks. In fact, dare I admit it, there are some stocks in my portfolio that I don't even know what "widgets" they make. But I do know what quantifiable characteristics and measures help predict outperformance and that's what guides my stock selections - buy cheap stocks with good growth, momentum & improving sentiment, short more or less the opposite.

Along these lines there are two names which I hold, that appear to be even cheaper than they were just a few weeks ago, without any apparent fundamental justification. Starwood Hotels (HOT), has been melting over the last month, losing nearly 30%, again without any news. The stock is cheap compared to its peers (eg HLT) and has a good pattern of price momentum and rising expectations. Stocks that sell off excessively over the past 4 weeks tend to bounce back strongly in the follwoing month, then resume their longer term tend of performance. HOT looks like it should get a lot warmer.

The other name that dropped over 30% was Freeport McMoRan Copper and Gold (NYSE:FCX). Yes, there has been a lot of volatility and changing expectations around the two metals, and the stock had been enjoying a nice run, but come on, the fundamentals affecting the stock weren't hindered so much to justify the recent melt down. In fact, it has rallied a bit over the last several days. Like HOT, this stock appears cheap, with good relative strength, improving sentiment and strong growth.

Both of these stocks suspiciously sold off, perhaps due to the "quant quake". Given their good quant fundamentals, that makes me think they were part of the forced liquidation, and thus they offer exceptional values are current prices. Check em out and see if you agree with me.

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