Stocks Providing Value And Growth

By Todd Shriber | August 03, 2009 AAA

In the search for winning investments, perhaps no combination is more attractive than a stock that displays both value and growth characteristics. Frequently, these two schools of investing thought are pitted against each other, giving investors the feeling that they can't have both in a single stock. There's also the assumption that it's hard to find growth among well-known companies in less-than-sexy industries. It's gotten to the point where investors think that a company needs to hail from China or the Silicon Valley to have a growth story.

On the other hand, some investors think it's hard to find value without incurring the risks that are common among growth stocks. They think that there isn't value among stocks with lofty forward price-to-earnings ratios or with rapid earnings growth.

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Well, we set out to find some names that might fit into both the value and growth categories. We ran a screen for stocks with current P/E ratios under 20, but with forward P/E's of over 35 with expected EPS growth of 25% for the next year. Our screen turned up 24 stocks in a variety of industries with financials and energy-related names leading the way.

Since we don't have the room to cover all 24 stocks here, let's focus on three of the more familiar (and intriguing) names.

Company Current P/E Forward P/E
Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE: APC) 8.6 54.6
Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS) 6.2 86
Goldcorp (NYSE: GG) 17.9 41.2

Don't Be Fooled by the Name
Sure, the company's called Anadarko Petroleum, but this company has become more correlated to the natural gas market over time. While that may not be the best news with natural gas futures currently trading around $3.50 per MMBtu, natural gas for December delivery is already trading for $5.50 per mMBtu on the assumption that demand will increase during the winter months. While it's not likely Anadarko shares will rise that much on a percentage basis, improved demand for natural gas should bolster the shares.

To be sure, Anadarko still has plenty of oil exposure and it displays some growth traits by being an interesting play on continued oil discoveries in Brazil. On July 1, Anadarko became the first independent oil and gas firm to find pre-salt oil in Brazil and the company has spent more than $500 million on exploration activities in Brazil since 1998.

Anadarko's shares are currently knocking on the door of $50, a level that the stock has touched, and broken twice this year, but that didn't stop Bank of America/Merrill from stamping the stock with a $57 price target earlier in July. The stock is already up almost 22% year-to-date and if natural gas moves higher, there could be more to come for Anadarko's shares.

Yours to Discover
The environment has been tough for credit card companies. Struggles among credit card issuers from the top end (think American Express (NYSE:AXP)) to the mid-tier (think Capital One Financial (NYSE: COF)) have been well documented, but those stocks have already started to rebound. And so has Discover Financial Services, which is up 23% year-to-date.

Discover's shares were definitely taken to the woodshed during the market downturn, trading as low as $4.73 in the past 52 weeks. That might be why the stock appears downright cheap at just above six times earnings, as the P/E soars to 86 on a forward basis. Even better: Discover recently surprised the Street with fewer cardholder defaults, the first time since October 2008 it has made such a bullish proclamation.

Discover is expected to lose 85 cents a share this year, but is expected to earn 14 cents a share for 2010, hence the lofty forward P/E.

Golden Returns?
What happened to the price of gold? The yellow metal looked poised to make a run at a new all-time high earlier this year, but as stocks have come back into vogue, investors seem to be passing on gold futures. They haven't taken a pass on Goldcorp shares though, sending the stock up more than 13% year-to-date.

Goldcorp is a compelling growth story as it expects to produce 3.5 million ounces annually by 2013. The company has also been a steady dividend payer, although the dollar amount is quite low, and recently raised $862 million to retire some senior debt.

Goldcorp has bolstered its market share through smart acquisitions in recent years and could acquire Rubicon Minerals (AMEX: RBY), a company in which it already owns an almost 24% stake. And don't count gold out just yet. If inflation rears its head, the gold bugs will be aflutter and that could add to Goldcorp's growth story.

Bottom Line: The Best of Both Worlds
Yes, you can have it all when it comes to value and growth. Discover is a fine example, particularly at current valuations, and the long-term prospects for Anadarko and Goldcorp look bullish. (To learn more, check out the Forbes Financial Round Table: Growth vs. Value Investing.)

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