The tired old "Sell in May and Go Away" didn't ring true this year. In fact, with the return of volatility to the market (a good thing), it looks like we're set for a move up.
The S&P 500 eked out a 2.2% gain for the month of May, which is about the same as the previous year. Even more interesting, although I do not profess to be a wiggle reader, it does appear that market volatility has resulted in the market putting what appears to be a double bottom in place. Typically, a double bottom is a bullish signal.
Whether we have the beginning of a summer rally or not remains to be seen. However, market volatility has created some compelling price opportunities in more stocks than you would
B&G Foods (NYSE: BGS) – Look in your pantry or your fridge or your freezer, there's a better than 50% chance you got a couple of this company's brands on the shelf. This $28 billion packaged food firm has been quietly acquiring old brands and breathing new and profitable life into them. Reviving stalwarts, such as Ortega, Cream of Wheat and Green Giant, and making headway with progressive, younger brands such as Skinny Girl and Pirate's Booty (which my 16-year-old seems to live off), the company pulled in $1.6 billion in annual revenue last year while delivering a mind-boggling 24.7% return on equity. While officially a consumer staple stock, B&G is in growth mode through acquisition as displayed through its superior ROE. Shares trade at a 31% discount to their 52-week high. The stock trades at $28 (a 31with a forward PE of 13.41 and a compelling 6.78% dividend yield.
International Business Machines (NYSE: IBM) -- Despite its battered image, IBM is still a money maker. Are they growing as fast as Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL)? Absolutely not. But for conservative investors looking for consistency, value, and an attractive distribution from a tech stock, Big Blue fits the bill.
IBM has made strides in its Cognitive Solutions unit (fancy verbiage for artificial intelligence). Branded as "Watson," the platform is designed with the ability to interact in natural language, process big data, as well as learn from interactions with people and computers. Combined with its other massive business lines, the company is expected to grow earnings per share at an impressive 9.7% annual clip over the next two years. Throw in a solid 31.1% return on equity and IBM's share price of $145 with a 15% discount to the 52-week high, a forward PE of 10.47 and a 4.34% yield, looks like a real bargain.
Alliance Bernstein Holdings LP (NYSE: AB) -- One of my perennial favorite asset managers to hold, Alliance Bernstein manages $549 billion across a wide range of institutional and retail platforms. The firm is also known for its outstanding financial markets research. With interest rates creeping up and U.S. equity markets setting up for an extended secular bull run, asset managers are well positioned to surf the wave. Priced at $28.75, AB shares trade with a forward PE of 10.85 and throw off a fat 9.8% yield.
Risks To Consider: It's still early in the season and the summer doldrums could set in. U.S. trade war jitters could continue making it hard for the markets to get any traction. Volatility is back, so be prepared. The insulation with this group is the franchise player quality of all three companies and the superior dividend income generated.
Action To Take: With a combined forward PE of 11.57, a blended dividend yield of 7.0% and great sector diversification (staples, tech, financials), patient investors could enjoy total returns approaching 20% over the next 12 to 18 months if the markets cooperate. If we do run into some choppiness, the low valuations on a forward PE basis and the well above average income stream should provide some buoyancy.
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