In a recent Bank of America Merrill Lynch (NYSE: BAC) research report highlighted on Business Insider, analysts suggest that, despite the perceived current expensiveness of the stock market, opportunities to buy stocks at decent prices are as ripe as they have been since 2009 when markets began recovering from the financial crisis. They refer to a concept known as "dispersion."
With this in mind, I screened for stocks with forward price to earnings ratios (P/E) lower than that of the S&P 500 (currently 17), a dividend yield one hundred basis points or higher than that of the index (1.83%), and operating in a growth industry or market. Here are three solid names I found.
AT&T (NYSE: T)
AT&T has made the jump from phone company to an integrated media company, and is determined to not only provide a means for content delivery but to own the content as well.
In the media business, at the end of the day, it's ALWAYS about content. Just ask Disney (NYSE: DIS). And entertainment content -- whether it be movies, broadcast, cable, or streaming (and honestly it's all kind of blurring together) -- is indeed a growth business. With its intended marriage to Time Warner (NYSE: TWX), T has made its plan crystal clear (whether or not the government allows the merger remains to be seen).
Regardless of the outcome, T will continue to acquire or produce and distribute its own content. The stock is dirt cheap, trading at $35.15 with a forward P/E of 10.1 and a 5.7% dividend yield.
CA, Inc. (Nasdaq: CA)
Known in a former life as Computer Associates, CA is the biggest software company you've never heard of. With a market cap of $13.8 billion and annual revenues in excess of $4 billion, CA provides enterprise software solutions focusing on mainframe platforms, enterprise environments, database security operations, and cloud applications.
As businesses continue to migrate their data operations to the cloud and as streamlining sales force automation and customer relationship management, CA is where Wayne Gretzky would be: where the puck is going. The stock trades at $33.92 with a forward P/E of 13.1 and a 3.1% dividend yield.
General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE)
If there was a contest for the market's most hated stock, GE would definitely be a front-runner. What's not to hate? Decades of corporate bloat. Over-leverage that almost led to ruin during the financial crisis. Slashing of businesses, earnings estimates, and dividends.
All the more reason to buy this icon at near decade lows.
Yes, the company is having some issues. However, the company is also the world's premier manufacturer of high-tech medical imaging equipment (a growth business) and has steered its restructuring toward becoming an energy industry facing both traditional (carbon) and alternative: wind, solar, etc. (also a growth business).
It's a long road, but this company is a long-term winner. Shares trade at $13.55 with a forward P/E of 14.08 and 3.5% dividend yield.
Risks To Consider: With CA and GE, the main thesis is fueled by the current economic tailwinds. A robust economy will keep the skids greased. A slowdown or recession, however, might put things on hold.
While not totally commensurate on the completion of its Time Warner merger, AT&T's story could take longer to play out if the government blocks the merger, which it is currently suing to do. Although an adverse ruling would knock the wind out of T's sails in the near term, do not expect them to go quietly. They are going to become a content owner and manufacturer one way or another.
Mathematically, long-term investors should get some downside protection based on the value facing metrics of the stocks as well as the above market dividend rate. They're also all strong, franchise names.
Action To Take: Collectively, these stocks trade with an average forward P/E of 12.4 which is a 27% discount to the 17 forward P/E of the S&P 500 index, putting them firmly into value stock territory. If the stars line up correctly, as the blended forward P/E approaches that of the index, patient investors could see a 20% upside in price appreciation. Figuring in the cumulative dividend yield of 4.08% (111% greater than the index), 24% or better is not out of the question over a 12- to 18-month period.
Editor's Note: It's the most surprising portfolio most investors won't invest in... though some of these blue chips have doubled the market each of the past three years. Click here for the full report.