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15 Gritty Survivors Worth a Gamble

Ralston Raiders
These stocks have been through a lot and survived
Company May 2 Price % Change Last 12 Months % Change YTD Short Ratio Price/Sales Ratio
Epcos (EPC:NYSE) $15.77 -58.7% 52.2% 30 0.79
Manugistics (MANU:Nasdaq) 3.22 -77 34.2 18 0.79
Amerco (UHAL:Nasdaq) 8.22 -52.8 86 14 0.08
WCI Communities (WCI:NYSE) 13.40 -56.3 31.4 11 0.49
Elan (ELN:NYSE) 3.85 -67.6 56.5 10 0.92
Children's Place (PLCE:Nasdaq) 15.23 -56.8 43.1 10 0.6
Factory 2-U Stores (FTUS:Nasdaq) 5.28 -62.9 54.8 10 0.16
Metris Cos. (MXT:NYSE) 3.42 -73.2 38.5 9 0.14
Paxson Communications (PAX:NYSE) 3.46 -65.4 68 9 0.84
Atlas Air Worldwide (CGO:NYSE) 2.10 -83.6 39.1 8 0.1
Amkor Technology (AMKR:Nasdaq) 8.61 -50.1 80.9 7 0.87
Continental Airlines (CAL:NYSE) 11.80 -50.6 62.8 6 0.09
Lucent Technologies (LU:NYSE) 1.85 -58 46.8 6 0.75
Mirant (MIR:NYSE) 3.15 -72.2 68.4 6 0.08
Allmerica Financial (AFC:NYSE) 16.24 -67.6 60.8 5 0.26
Source: MSN, Value Line

The first of our Ralston Raiders is a decent example: Epcos (EPC - Get Report) is the world's second-largest manufacturer of passive electronic components -- those funny-looking things such as capacitors, and surface acoustic wave devices that stud the circuit boards of your computer, cell phone, television, digital camera, rail-car brake system or automotive air bag. They may not be as exciting as the CPU or graphics chip, but they process signals, control the supply of energy and generally make the thing work.

Germany-based Epcos is essentially a joint venture of the Munich industrial conglomerate Siemens and the Japanese conglomerate Matsushita. The stock traded in the upper $100s during the heyday of the tech-stock bubble. Then it fell as far as $5.70 during the bloodbath last fall.

It's been steadily rising all year, but still trades at a paltry price-to-sales multiple of 0.79. A multiple of 1.0 or even 1.5 would not be expensive for a market leader with such a diversified client base. Barring global depression, it's fair to expect the stock to double to trade back to the $30 range over the next two years, as it muscles up to give short-sellers a bloody nose.

Shrugging It Off

Or how about Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings (CGO), which rose another 21% on Monday alone to $2.65? This stock traded as high as $46 in 2000, and as high as $12 just last year as the air cargo company suffered from onerous debt load and global recession.

Last December, it suffered the indignity of being kicked out of the S&P SmallCap 600, which, as you know, is often a good sign that frustrated longs are selling out. At that point, it had fallen to $1.25. The shares would get cut in half one more time, sinking to 65 cents a month ago when it announced that it was having trouble restructuring leases on several of its aircraft and would suspend all payments to lessors in the meantime.

And now? On April 1, the company announced it had reached an agreement with GE Capital Aviation Services to restructure its obligation and would start making lease payments again. Presumably that means harsh payment terms, but that's the equivalent of cutting off your arm to save your life.
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ELN $0.00 0.00%
MXT $0.57 -20.95%
EPC $81.51 0.00%
AMKR $4.58 0.00%
AFC $25.11 0.00%


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