With the S&P 500 up nearly 30% from its March lows, the general stock market is fairly valued at best. However, amid the recent euphoria, some little gems are still out there.
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Under the Radar
Many good companies that trade for less than $10 a share are avoided by mutual funds because they bound to certain mandates that specify what the funds can and can not invest in. These restrictions can spell great opportunity for investors because the provide a chance to buy ahead of the smart money. Once the stock reaches suitability for certain investment funds, some impressive gains can occur due to the surge of capital inflows. (For more, see The Impact Of Recession On Businesses)
Quality Always Matters
Whether the share price is $1, $10 or even $100, stock prices mean nothing without the support of a quality underlying business. Any price that goes to zero is still a 100% loss. The following names fit the qualification of a quality business at attractive prices.
First up Horsehead Holding (Nasdaq:ZINC), a producer of zinc and zinc-based products, is one the largest recyclers of electric arc furnace (EAF) dust, a hazardous waste material generated by steel mini-mills. Shares trade at approximately $6.50, the debt is not meaningful and cash per share is $2.72. Not only that, but Horsehead has modernized its facilities and the cost to replicate its plants - which require EPA approval and certification - easily exceeds the $133 million enterprise value.
Origin Agritech Limited (Nasdaq:SEED) is one of China's largest producers of hybrid crop seeds. The agriculture industry in China is an industry to watch. No other country can produce enough food to feed 1.3 billion Chinese people, so China has to figure out a way to do it on its own. The way to do it is by enhancing crop yields, and you do that by using fertilizers and stronger quality seeds.
That's why Chinese fertilizer company China Green Agriculture (NYSE:CGA) has been on an impressive run lately along with anything related to agriculture in China. But these aren't fly-by-night businesses. China Green is growing profits by over 100% and can still be bought for 12-times earnings. At $4.50, Origin has had a healthy run as well; it's not the screaming bargain it was, but it's worth keeping an eye on.
Finally, cement superpower Cemex (NYSE:CX) is worth a look. Sure, the company has a lot of debt but as one of the largest cement producers in the world, it's highly unlikely that it will go under. At $9.99, the company is being priced as if the need for cement no longer exists. But with operations all over the world, and the need for existing infrastructure throughout the world, cement will have its day again. It's doubtful that the stock will see its $30 per share 52-week high anytime soon, but you don't need anything close to that to realize meaningful gains.
Money is made when an asset is bought, not when it's sold, you just don't know it at the time. Today's quality companies are trading at end of the world prices. Keep an eye on them, as they will do well when the economy turns. (For more, see Industries That Thrive On Recession.)