Some stocks are becoming a buy irrespective of Euro fears

May 17, 2010 10:25 AM ETFSLR, APOL, ESI-OLD
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Long/Short Equity, Special Situations, Contrarian, Medium-Term Horizon

Contributor Since 2008

Gold Digger started his career in financial services with Bloomberg LP in New York. He played a key role in fixed income analysis for Bloomberg professional services with specific focus on corporate and municipal bond markets. Currently he is the Chief Investment Officer of a private wealth management firm based out of Dallas, TX. His focus is on equity and fixed-income research and analysis including risk management. His firm provides research and advice to small investors as well as some large private and institutional clients. His firm values providing accurate information and right analysis to its clients irrespective of their investment size and its most important task is to win investment communities' trust and provide them good returns. He holds the master's degree from University of Maryland and MBA from University of Chicago.

Fears related to Euro have been rattling the market for past few days. Even though as I pointed out in my previous article, Euro might be facing headwinds due to some poor decision making, it does not mean that all stocks should be sold as they are. Companies which have solid products (not pure services companies) will get paid in some currency, most probably in US dollars. A silver lining in all this Euro saga is that if it becomes clear that Euro can not be sustained then euro-zone member countries will revert to their own economies with their own strong currencies. Not every economy in Europe is bad. Germany, Switzerland, France have very competitive and strong economies. As long as officials can design a good plan to dismantle Euro and compensate those holding Euro in some weighted average of local currencies of euro-zone nations, I think stocks of solid companies should become a buy soon. I have some future growth oriented companies in my radar that include companies in education sector and alternative/renewable/green energy sector. After recent sell-off, I am specially interested in First Solar (FSLR), Apollo Group (APOL) and ESI (ESI). First Solar is the leader in solar panel industry and has a big pipeline of solar energy projects. With a P/E ratio of around 15 and EBITDA multiple of around 14, this company is very attractive. I think that in coming years as conventional energy sources become more expensive, renewable energy and specifically solar will become dominant. So considering there are growth opportunities in yet to be expanded retail sector (home owners and small business owners) customers, I think a 15 P/E for this company is very low. Also this stock have come down more than 20% from its recent highs and is a great buy at $120 level.
Education sector is also very attractive because focus of US will turn to higher and better education as individual families realize the importance of it in order to increase their household income. Education and not easy credit is the real driver for economy. Stocks of Apollo group and ESI are the top league of private education sector in US. These stocks are currently trading at around 12x P/E and event lower EBITDA multiples. Both of these stocks are a buy at these levels. Also these companies have no Euro zone exposure. First Solar has euro zone exposure but it is mainly concentrated in strong economies like Germany and France. Also First Solar is slowly trying to expand in emerging countries which have huge demand for renewable or individual energy generation due to poor infrastructure. I would rate all three companies a strong buy at current price levels.

Disclosure: No position at the time of writing. I'll be adding these companies to my portfolio at an attractive level.

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