by Hilary Kramer | June 5, 2012 12:00 pm
Here are three stocks currently on our Buy List that I view as especially good buys right now. The first two are in solid position to better withstand the issues in Europe, and the third is a stock that looks to be consolidating after pulling back, giving us a chance to get in for the next move up.
eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) has churned over the last several weeks but held up relatively well during May’s tumultuous market. I believe this will continue to be an attractive stock for money managers looking for companies that will ride out economic uncertainty.
An important part of that is eBay’s PayPal payment system, which took another jump last Thursday when the company announced that it added 15 new retailers to an existing set of clients using its in-store payments technology. Customers at these stores, which include Aeropostale (NYSE:ARO), J.C. Penney (NYSE:JCP), and Office Depot (NYSE:ODP), can now pay through PayPal Technology by either using a PIN code or PayPal credit card.
PayPal revenues increased 32% in the first quarter to account for 40% of eBay’s total revenues, and this deal should continue to drive that growth. eBay’s marketplace division also showed strong growth last quarter, which management attributes to improved technology that made browsing on ebay.com easier. Based on expectations for earnings of $2.36 a share this year, the stock is attractively valued at 17X this estimate.
Vascular Solutions (NASDAQ:VASC) has traded firmly since reporting better-than-expected first-quarter earnings, and I believe we’ll continue to see good results for the remainder of the year, which should be a catalyst for further gains.
After a few disappointing quarters, the company bounced back nicely in the first quarter, with revenues up 12%, volumes up 13% and new products contributing 2% to revenue growth, which offset price declines in a still-competitive environment. This strength was led by a 40% increase in catheter sales.
Earnings of 12 cents a share set the stage for VASC to post earnings of 56 cents per share this year. The company also has a strong and liquid balance sheet, with currents assets less all liabilities of $2.17 a share. VASC should also benefit in the coming months by little direct exposure to the macroeconomic issues that have been pressuring the market.
Cognizant Technology (NASDAQ:CTSH) sold off sharply in May after the company lowered revenue guidance for growth of “only” at least 20% for the year. While it does appear that enterprise IT spending is slowing, which will have some adverse impact on CTSH’s growth, powerful trends to increase IT outsourcing will be a revenue tailwind for the company for years to come.
The situation in Europe is a near-term concern, but there are a few important points to consider. First, revenues from Europe were still up 11% in the first quarter. And second, the longer-term gains should far outweigh the near-term concerns.
New services, such as consulting and business process outsourcing, will be additional drivers of growth. CTSH will also support its stock through buybacks, and, in fact, recently increased its current buyback program to $1 billion from $600 million, with $577 million remaining in the program.
After the May sell-off, the stock is trading at just 17.7X 2012 estimates of $3.38 per share.
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