5 Troubled Names: What Turns Them Around?

by: Bill Maurer

Sometimes, investors have to take a little risk. When looking for names that could soar, they sometimes will look at names that have been beaten down so much that a small turnaround in the company could make a stock soar. Today, I'll look at five names that are at or near their 52-week lows. These names have been crushed in recent times not only just in terms of stock price, but in their reputation as well. I will examine why they are in their current situation and examine the possible scenarios in which they can turn it around.

Dendreon (NASDAQ:DNDN)

Shares of the company behind the prostate cancer treatment Provenge lost nearly a third of their value after the company's second quarter results. The quarter's revenues missed by a wide margin ($80 million versus $86 million expectations), and earnings per share also missed on both adjusted and unadjusted basis. Dendreon has been very disappointing over the past few years when it comes to earnings reports, and that has continually knocked down the stock.

Now there was one positive during the earnings report, and that was that the company announced a major restructuring plan, which they believe will cut costs going forward. That saved the stock from completely falling off a cliff. However, shares did hit a post-earnings low of $4.17, down about $2 in just a matter of days.

The restructuring plan has given investors hope that this company could eventually be profitable, but losses are piling up, and the company's financial future isn't looking too pretty. However, the stock has rebounded because takeover rumors are out there.

This is a stock that traded for over $40 just 14 months ago, and now trades for less than $5. Revenues are expected to grow by 55% this year and another 22% next year, but current forecasts also call for the company to lose nearly $4 a share, and the company can't survive losing this much money forever. Analysts currently rate the stock as a 'hold' to 'slight underperform', but the median price target is $6, implying analysts believe there is some hope that this company can either cut enough costs or that a buyout could eventually happen.

Research in Motion (RIMM)

The BlackBerry maker is under $7 again and is just 35 cents from its 52-week low. I talked about the name two weeks ago saying to short it (it was above $8 then), and that trade has worked incredibly well.

The company's hopes rely on two possible outcomes. The first is that the BB10 phones, expected to be launched in Canada sometime in January and a few weeks later everywhere else, will be the complete savior of the firm. The problem is, it is taking these phones so long to get out. By the time RIMM gets these phones out, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) will have its next iPhone out, the Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows 8 powered phones will also be out, and let's not forget about Android.

The numbers are absolutely ugly right now, with analysts expecting a 40% drop in revenues this quarter and 55% drop the following quarter. This company is expected to see full-year revenues drop by approximately $8.35 billion, or 45%. That is an unbelievable decline for a company of this size. Analysts also see this name as a 'hold' to 'slight underperform', with an $8 median price target.

How much will the BB10 phones turn things around? Well, analysts aren't expecting much in the following fiscal year, with current forecasts for a continued decline in revenues as well as losses both this year and next. The company has a large cash pile, something bulls have pointed to for a while, but the company is starting to bleed cash as it progresses towards the BB10 launch. How large that cash pile will be 6 months from now is a huge question.

The other hope is that the company will be bought out. That hope was there when this name was at $25 last year, and it continued as the stock broke through $20, $15, and $10. If you want to try and buy a company just on the hopes of a buyout, you generally want to buy a company with good fundamentals. Right now, Research in Motion is not that company.


The social gaming company has seen its stock plummet, thanks to another poor earnings report and lackluster trading in the social media names. The company is also seeing executives leave at an alarming pace. Trading at just $2.96, shares are just 30 cents from the 52-week low and are well off the nearly $16 yearly high.

As I stated before, Zynga's second quarter results and weak guidance sent many investors for the exits. Zynga's forecast pointed towards 2012 revenue growth of just 3%, whereas analysts were looking for looking for 24% growth then. The stock fell nearly 40% the next day, and trades below that level now.

For now, it appears that social gaming has hit a wall, with a fair amount of Zynga's games showing monthly declines in active users. Zynga also announced that the weaker guidance was due to several games being delayed until next year, and that has not pleased investors either. Being heavily reliant on Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) has not helped either, because as Facebook's stock has struggled, so has Zynga's.

So what can Zynga do to turn things around? Well, they need to get more games out, and they are currently working with phone maker Nokia (NYSE:NOK) to get Zynga Poker and Draw Something on Nokia's Asha phone. Zynga has also promised to develop games for the Lumia line. Mobile gaming appears to be where Zynga needs to target growth going forward, and it appears they are getting there, but slowly.

Most of the analysts have 'hold' recommendations on the name, but there are a few that say the stock is a 'buy' just because it is so low. Basically, this stock is now a long-term option at just $3. The median price target currently is $4.70, which implies significant upside. Since Zynga is currently trading near cash levels, some analysts see the real value of this firm well above where shares are now.

Dell (DELL) and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ)

The two computer names are both at or very near 52-week lows after another round of disappointing earnings reports.

Dell started off the party when it reported revenues that missed by $170 million, although it beat on the bottom line thanks to share buybacks. Dell also announced that it expected Q3 revenues to fall 2% to 5% over Q2 levels, which was well below forecasts. Also, fiscal year earnings guidance of at least $1.70 was below a consensus of $1.91.

Shares have fallen to a new 52-week low. The one positive may be that the company's announced quarterly dividend of $0.08 will yield almost 3%. Analysts see a fall in both revenues and earnings this fiscal year, ending in January, with flat to slight increases in the following fiscal year. About half of the analysts following the name have 'buys' with most others having 'holds'. The overall recommendation is a 'slight buy' at these levels, with a median price target of $14. That's about 30% above the most recent close.

Like Dell, Hewlett Packard also announced a bottom line beat, but revenues missed by $440 million. Yearly earnings guidance of $4.05 to $4.07 was slightly below to in-line with expectations for $4.07. Analysts don't expect as much of a revenue fall this year (ending October) for HP as they do with Dell, although the following fiscal year is expected to show a revenue decline as well.

With HP's fall to below $17 a share, the dividend is also above 3% on an annual basis. But that's not much comfort for investors as this name traded for nearly $30 just six months ago. The current analyst recommendation is for a 'hold' with a median price target of $22.

Both computer names are struggling now, and investors are looking forward to the launch of Windows 8 later this year. Both names are also being hurt by Apple's continued dominance. This is an industry that is struggling right now, but unlike some of the previous names I've mentioned, these names are paying dividends and buying back some stock right now.

So where else can investors in these names look for hope? Well, for Dell, it is enterprise solutions, which has grown to a third of the company's revenues and half of the gross profit. Dell's services backlog rose 5% year over year, and now stands at $16.3 billion. If Dell can continue to diversify its product line, relying less on computers, it may be able to offset the decline in PCs.

When it comes to HP, the company did announce further job cuts with its latest report, up to 11k from 9k. On the conference call, CEO Meg Whitman said that HP will respond to aggressive pricing from competitors, unlike Dell that has decided to sacrifice market share to keep margins higher. HP also says that it is preparing two notebook/tablet hybrids, and that it may shut down some struggling smaller businesses.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.