Pick any stock that trades in the market and you are 100% guaranteed to find at least one, if not more, person with an unfavorable viewpoint. In investing, that's a good thing because it forces one to consider the alternatives. At the same time, Ben Graham said it best when he remarked "you are neither right nor wrong because the crowd disagrees with you. You are right because your data and reasoning are right."
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Here is a list of such stocks - names that to some will look very interesting and to others will look like losers. Regardless of opinion, these are not fly by night businesses, but rather companies with various characteristics that may include: an attractive P/E multiple even in today's market, a quality balance sheet, attractive returns on invested capital and earnings growth.
First up is Chicago Bridge and Iron (NYSE:CBI) a $2 billion infrastructure construction firm. A lot of the company's work is tied to the energy sector. The company is nearly debt free when cash is counted, commands a P/E multiple of less than 11 and return on equity over 30%.
Recently, the company was awarded a contract from China's Jilin Petrochemical company to design a chemical plant beginning in 2011. No other details have been given yet, but this is the second such contract awarded to CBI by Jilin. (For more, check out the The Value Investor's Handbook .)
Speaking of fixing things, small cap Comfort Systems (NYSE:FIX) is a $500 million company that provides design, repair and construction of heating and air systems. Shares are $13 with over $3.50 in net cash per share on the balance sheet. At today's price, shares trade for less than 13 times earnings. Earlier in the month, the company announced the acquisition of two small similar HVAC type businesses that operate in North Carolina and Tennessee. (For more, see 3 Secrets Of Successful Companies.)
Boring is Good
If the above two industrial type names aren't enough, check out Graham (NYSE:GHM) and Chart Industries (NYSE:GTLS). Both have a great capital structure and Graham Corp has no net debt. Chart trades for less than 9 times earnings.
With industrial production levels at multi-year lows, these names are trading well off their highs a few years ago. Any realistic future expectations should assume that these prices may not be seen for a long time to come. But as industrial activity starts to pick up, these smaller issues could see some meaningful growth again. Shares have appreciated nicely in 2009, so the easy gains are gone. But opportunity does remain.
Keeping An Eye Out
It's in times like this when investors who maintain vigil and a close watch over good businesses will benefit from any correction that will enable you to quickly buy an ownership stake in a business for an attractive price. (For more, see Removing The Barriers To Successful Investing.)
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