Japan's largest bank (in terms of assets), Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MTU), hit an eight-year low this week (Nov. 27). Though it was once valued at more than $200 billion, it is now valued at just $57 billion. Meanwhile, this bank generated an eye-popping $49 billion in free cash flow in fiscal (March) 2011, according to Thomson Reuters. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial has one of the premier providers of financing for inter-country trading transactions, providing shippers, manufacturers and other financial-services firms with logistical capital. In the first six months of the current fiscal year, the bank posted $9 billion in net income, or about $18 billion when annualized. This means it trades for a little more than three times annualized income.
Investors interested in the Japanese banking sector should also check out Mizuho Financial (MFG), Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMFG) and Nomura Holdings (NMR). These bank stocks also hit fresh lows this week, erroneously tied to the widening crisis in Europe.
Toyota: down, but not outToyota Motor (TM) remains the world's largest automaker and, after shedding $100 billion in market value since 2007, the stock is now also a bargain. To be sure, the weak global economy has crimped financial results during the past few years. Toyota generated $47 billion in EBITDA in fiscal (March) 2007 and $48 billion during fiscal 2008. This figure has slid to just $20 billion in each of the past two years.
Yet it's important to remember that Toyota's engineering department may be the most innovative in the industry. For example, the company is on track to sell more hybrids in 2011 than the rest of the auto industry combined. Look for a series of Prius spin-offs to hit global showrooms in coming quarters, which should help the company maintain this lead. Meanwhile, Toyota is quickly boosting its manufacturing presence in lower-cost countries and shedding capacity in Japan. That's why analysts think earnings per share (EPS) can rise more than 100% in fiscal (March) 2013 to about $6.25, even with sales projected to grow less than 10% in the same period. In the meantime, shares trade at levels seen back in 1999.
The No.2 printer in the worldFor all its troubles, investors note that Hewlett-Packard's (HPQ) printing division is a huge source of profits. Right behind HP in the global printing business is Japan's Canon (CAJ), which can boast its own impressive financial profile. Free cash flow topped $5 billion in 2010 on $48 billion in sales. Few hardware-focused companies can generate free cash flow margins that exceed 10%.
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