Value stocks can help preserve long-term capital, especially during times of volatility, and if the company produces relatively steady cash-flow producing business with the stock trading at a discount to metrics such as book-value. But investors must be on the lookout for value traps. Value traps can occur if the long-term fundamentals of the company are poor and there is little chance of a turnaround, despite the stock trading below metrics such as cash and assets. Consider these three stocks, if you're looking for long-term investments that will eventually overcome the current market volatility.
Hewlett Packard has slowly started to turn around its business, but the company still primarily relies on Notebooks to drive its revenue, and that segment continues to struggle as a global slowdown in computer sales continues to affect sales. During the latest quarter volume fell by 23% for the segment, but revenue increased overall by 4%, mainly due to sales from the desktop division surging, which in turn led to a total 9% total increase in the personal computing division. Meanwhile, the printing division continued to struggle with a decline of 6.5% y-o-y.
While the overall demand for the business remains weak, the stock continues to trade at a relatively cheap valuation, which means investors could consider the stock purely on a cash-flow basis. The combination of steady cash flow and a strong set of assets makes HP a classic value opportunity. Hewlett Packard currently trades at forward P/E of around 6.55x. It also currently trades at below book value, with book value per share at $33 and the stock trading at around $28. While the desktop and printing businesses are facing headwinds, the long-term business potential of the divisions continues to remain strong. Although HP’s business is under pressure, the cyclical nature of the personal computer industry is likely to see HP’s business turn for the positive once the global economy becomes more steady, making it valuable to those looking to hold the stock for the long term.
Dell is another computer business that is currently trading at multiples that can be considered quite cheap. Revenue continues to grow in the 5-6% range and the stock has been beaten down on news of a slowdown in the PC industry. Excessive debt is also affecting the company’s stock as well, with debt in the range of $28 billion. The stock is currently down 26% from its 52-week high. Considering that the stock trades at such low valuations and the company is witnessing high double-digit growth from the Infrastructure Solutions Group, and a 17% increase from the client performance group, the stock trades could witness significant upside as we move through the next couple of years.
The current P/E for the stock is 6x but the book value is currently at -3.00 per share. Due to the high margin nature of its enterprise divisions, cash flow for the business is hitting record highs. Dell’s book value should considerably improve once the high levels of debt come down, and with a likely increase in cash flow as a result, the stock will become more attractive to investors. Finally, cash flow is also likely to witness significant increases due to the high margins from the enterprise operations, which will only add to the company's fortunes.
Seagate is another company that is down significantly during the recent correction. The stock is down over 41%. The company is a major player in the HDD industry and is outperforming its main competitor Western Digital, as it continues to bring to market more competitive enterprise-class hardware to the market. Management has noted that supply-chain disruptions have affected the business but as the CEO states "It's all about the second half of the year," he noted, highlighting Seagate's own efforts to manage its supply chain. "The back half will see the fruits of these efforts - we really look forward to that."
The company’s forward P/E will be around 6x and the book value per share currently is 80, which makes the price-to-book value less than one, and despite talks of data centers being in a bubble, Seagate has been able to maintain a profit margin of 14%, which can be considered healthy, regardless of the current headwinds. Furthermore, the company continues to see strong cash flows with the dividend yield standing at 3.5% on a payout ratio of 34%, which indicates that the dividend remains sustainable. While the data center business has been under scrutiny due to accusations of it being in a bubble, Seagate could benefit from long-term trends, especially as more and more data centers are required out of developing markets. The stock continues to go unnoticed, but that could change soon, as investors start to consider value over growth once again.