In arguably most circumstances, when you see stocks at 52-week lows, you should avoid them. Based on prevailing market theory, equity valuations culminate from the most recent publicly available information. So, when a security falls to a fresh trailing one-year low, it’s for a reason and usually not a good one.
Nevertheless, contrarian investors are inherently attracted to the red ink because of the (possible) discounted opportunity. If you think about, stocks at 52-week lows have been de-risked in the sense that with a few tweaks, they could return to their 52-week highs. While that would make many longtime stakeholders break even, for the gamblers, we’re talking about 100% returns.
Another factor benefiting the idea of acquiring stocks at 52-week lows is the common adage: buy low, sell high. When you’re buying securities at their low point, you theoretically have a better chance of seeing upside. That compares to buying an already elevated security and hoping it drives even higher.
Still, there’s no guarantee that red ink eventually becomes black. Sometimes, the crimson tone just becomes bloodier. If you can accept this danger, these are the stocks at 52-week lows.
Becton Dickinson (BDX)
On paper, Becton Dickinson (NYSE:BDX) offers a reasonably safe enterprise for investment thanks to its everyday relevance in the medical and scientific fields. A technology firm that manufactures and sells medical devices, instrument systems and reagents, it was on a decent albeit unremarkable run prior to its third-quarter earnings report. Unfortunately, the print wasn’t what Wall Street had hoped for.
Specifically, Becton Dickinson’s quarterly profit landed at $108 million or 37 cents per share. This contrasted sharply with the $265 million or 93 cents per share posted in the year-ago quarter. Moreover, analysts anticipated that the company’s profit would hit $3.43 per share. Obviously, it was a glaring miss and investors penalized BDX heavily.
However, with shares now ranking among stocks at 52-week lows, an argument could be made that BDX is worth picking up. Right now, the market prices BDX at only 17.38X forward earnings, lower than nearly 69% of its peers. Again, this is about banking primarily on the relevance of Becton Dickinson, not just that it fell.
Another relevant idea among stocks at 52-week lows, Chevron (NYSE:CVX) probably is just going through a rough patch. As one of the world’s biggest integrated hydrocarbon energy stalwarts, you can arguably trust Chevron for the long haul. However, recent fundamentals have not boded well for CVX. In particular, CNN Business pointed out that gasoline prices printed more than 60 days of consecutive declines.
Of course, that’s a gift to drivers as the rise in energy costs imposed a severe headwind on consumer sentiment. With more bucks in their wallets, people can spend more on discretionary items, just in time for the holidays. Still, I’m not sure if this narrative can hold up. Yes, demand in China is fading. However, tensions in the Middle East could relatively easily yield supply disruptions.
Also, we’ve got to think about Russia being a major oil player continuing its brazen aggression against Ukraine. Add the possibility of a full return of pre-pandemic social norms and hydrocarbon prices could rebound.
Based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Franco-Nevada (NYSE:FNV) represents a gold-focused royalty and streaming company. Stated differently, Franco-Nevada enters into agreements with pure-play mining enterprises providing upfront cash in exchange for a share of revenue or actual metal production. In theory, this approach should even out the volatility associated with the mining industry.
That’s because the terms of the contract are known ahead of time, thus affording predictability. However, FNV has been an underperformer recently, likely stemming from a mixed earnings report. In Q3, the company posted earnings per share of 91 cents, beating the 90-cent consensus. But Franco-Nevada rang up sales of only8l $304.53 million, missing the target calling for nearly $318 million.
Obviously, that’s not a good read. However, it should be noted now that FNV’s free cash flow (FCF) yield comes in at 1.96%, much better than sector average. Also, analysts rate FNV a moderate buy with a $152.38 price target, implying about 35% upside. Thus, it’s one of the stocks at 52-week lows worth considering.
One of the world’s top pharmaceutical firms, Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) obviously ran hot during the worst of the Covid-19 crisis. As one of the top developers of messenger-RNA vaccines designed to address the SARS-CoV-2 virus, Pfizer with its partner pushed its solution across the finish line before many other competitors. Still, we all knew that this day would come, the day that nobody cared about Covid anymore.
From then on, it was only a matter of inevitability that PFE became one of the stocks at 52-week lows. Now, what’s particularly problematic for risk-averse investors is the nearer-term negative acceleration. I’m not sure if a clear sign exists of a bottom materializing. So, anybody interested in speculating on Pfizer will require a heavy dose of patience.
However, for those thinking well ahead, mRNA medicines might change the therapeutic landscape. Given Pfizer’s acumen in the field, it could eventually storm higher. To sweeten the pot, PFE trades at a subterranean forward earnings multiple of 8.93X.
Sturm Ruger (RGR)
For those that don’t want to listen to a controversial but arguably viable take, you might want to skip this discussion of Sturm Ruger (NYSE:RGR). As a firearms manufacturer, Sturm Ruger will almost certainly attract heated debate no matter what the social circumstance. However, with gun violence representing an escalating crisis in America, RGR seems a justified name among stocks at 52-week lows.
Fair enough, I’m not here to make a political point. On a financial level, Ruger didn’t do itself any favors with its Q3 earnings disclosure. Management reported declining top and bottom line results, reflecting weakness in firearms demand. Unfortunately for the industry, it’s also comparing itself to a likely unprecedented event where people rushed to buy guns during the Covid-19 crisis.
However, with so many firearms, one would need ammunition; otherwise, what’s the point? To that end, Ruger also manufacturers ammo. Still, an even more powerful catalyst could be the addictive nature of firearms. Like a French fry, it’s hard to just have one. So, as economic circumstances normalize, RGR could storm higher.
Headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Marcus (NYSE:MCS) operates two principal divisions: Marcus Theatres and Marcus Hotels and Resorts. While it’s risky, I can see a case for MCS ranking among the stocks at 52-week lows to speculate on. Still, it will require patience. In the trailing one-month period, MCS incurred a loss of almost 8%.
First, on the hotel and resorts side, most of its properties concentrate in the Midwest. That’s important because it’s possible consumer dollars for “revenge travel” is waning. However, consumers still want to take vacations. It’s just that they might do so at more reasonable locales.
Second, the company’s cineplex business operates under a similar directive: serving smaller Midwestern communities. With millennials moving away from major metropolitan areas to more rural communities for cost-of-living reasons, Marcus could be well-positioned to provide entertainment to a viable consumer demographic.
Also, analysts peg MCS as a unanimous strong buy with a $21 price target, implying over 48% growth.
Easily the riskiest idea on this list of stocks at 52-week lows, China’s technology and e-commerce juggernaut Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) was once the toast of Wall Street. In many ways, Alibaba’s rise became synonymous with the stratospheric trajectory of the world’s second-largest economy. However, that narrative now faces serious questions. And that puts BABA stock under dark clouds.
As Foreign Affairs argues, China’s slowdown stems from a decade of overinvestment in property and infrastructure. And this directive received financing from loading debt onto households and local government entities. Now, the chickens are coming home to roost, so to speak. Notably, BABA slipped almost 20% since the beginning of the year.
Still, on the positive side, the Chinese consumer may show resilience like American consumers. What I mean by that is kicking the can down the road through plastic or buy now, pay later (BNPL) platforms. If consumers across the Pacific decide to keep the merry-go-round going, BABA’s forward multiple of 8.27X could be attractive.
Finally, BABA carries a strong buy view among analysts with a $124.74 target, implying almost 69% upside.
On the date of publication, Josh Enomoto did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.