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Low P/E Stocks Guru Investors Are Buying

July 26, 2013 | About:
Holly LaFon

Holly LaFon

249 followers
A low price to earnings ratio is one sign a stock is undervalued. Investors can find high-quality companies with a low P/E ratio that professional money managers bought by using GuruFocus’ comprehensive screener.

Setting the screener to filter companies with a 2-star or above predictability ranking, a P/E less than the 10th percentile of their industry and that any of the gurus have bought recently, will yield 22 stocks. (See this specific screen.) The low-P/E companies that the most gurus hold are: WellPoint Inc. (WLP), PPG Industries Inc. (PPG), Joy Global Inc. (JOY) and HollyFrontier Corp. (HFC).

WellPoint (WLP)

WellPoint has a P/E ratio of 9.8, ranking it above 85% of the companies in the global health care plans industry, where the median ratio is 14.2.

The P/E ratio has increased along with the price, which is near a 10-year high, year to date. In the second quarter, the company’s financial results beat its forecast and it raised its EPS and operating cash flow forecasts for the full year.

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Earnings per share also increased steadily over the past three years.

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WLP data byGuruFocus.com

WellPoint is a health benefit company, independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and owner of 1-800 CONTACTS. Twenty-two gurus hold the stock, which is 13.2% of all the gurus covered. James Barrow, executive director of Barrow, Hanley, Mewhinney & Strauss, has the largest holding, at 5.87% of shares outstanding.

According to the Peter Lynch chart, the stock is solidly undervalued:

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PPG Industries Inc. (PPG)

PPG Industries has a P/E of 7. That makes it ranked higher than 96% of the companies in the global specialty chemicals industry, where the median is 18.7. While the P/E ratio dropped after the first quarter, the price has risen robustly in the last 12 months to reach a 10-year high.

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Earnings per share have been uneven historically at the company, and full-year EPS dropped in 2012 over the previous year.

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PPG data byGuruFocus.com

PPG is a coatings and specialty products company that has aerospace, architectural, automotive and protective and marine businesses, among others. Eleven gurus hold shares of the company, representing 6.6% of all gurus.

In the second quarter, PPG reported record second quarter net sales of $4.1 billion, a 16% increase from the previous year, and net income reached $356 million, or a record $2.45 per diluted share, compared to $297 million and $1.92 the previous year. The company’s CEO Charles E. Bunch attributed the record results to strength in its coatings businesses, which were responsible for 25% of earnings growth over the previous year, also a record. Additional contributors were a strong operating focus, ongoing cost management and earnings from recent acquisitions in the coatings industry.

The Peter Lynch chart would call PPG undervalued:

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Joy Global Inc. (JOY)

Joy Global has a 7.1 P/E, ranking it higher than 92% of the companies in the global farm and construction equipment industry. The industry median is 16.6. Joy Global’s P/E this year traveled down along with the stock price, and this week both the P/E and P/S ratio fell to their respective three-year low.

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Joy Global makes and services coal, copper, iron ore and oil sands mining equipment. Eleven gurus own it, or 6.6% of gurus. The largest owner is T. Rowe Price’s Brian Rogers, who holds 2.35% of shares outstanding. It was also one of his largest increases in the second quarter, raising his position 233.33%.

Net second quarter sales at Joy Global declined to $1.4 billion from $1.5 billion the previous year, in line with expectations. Operating income declined 20.5% over the previous year to $279 million, as operational efficiencies and cost reduction efforts affected the company. Soft market conditions and other factors combined to hinder the company from meeting the upper portion of its prior revenue guidance, and it lowered its earnings per share guidance range.

The Peter Lynch chart indicates the stock is undervalued.

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HollyFrontier Corp. (HFC)

HollyFrontier Corp. has a P/E of 4.9, ranking it higher than 98% of companies in the global oil and gas refining and market industry, where the median is 13. The P/E has remained in a narrow range for over a year as the price pushed to record levels. Currently the P/E is close to a one-year low.

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Since the merger between Holly and Frontier that created the company, it has produced increased earnings per share annually.

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HFC data byGuruFocus.com

With two refineries in New Mexico and Utah, HollyFrontier is an independent petroleum refiner that derives the majority of its revenues through selling high-value light products such as gasoline, diesel fuel and jet fuel. Ten gurus are HollyFrontier investors, 6% of the total. The largest position belongs to Jim Simons, who owns 1.45% of shares outstanding.

HollyFrontier’s first quarter net income was $333.7 million, or $1.63 per diluted share, improved from $241.7 million, or $1.16 per diluted share the previous year, primarily due to higher refining margins, which increased 34% from the previous year, to $23.32 per produced barrel, offsetting lower quarterly production levels.

The Peter Lynch chart indicates that this company is undervalued.

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Research more high-quality, low-P/E stocks gurus are buying from this screen here.

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Rating: 3.6/5 (5 votes)

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