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BALTIMORE ( Stockpickr) -- "Stocks are cheap!" Or at least that's the story that's getting tossed around Wall Street right now.
But even though that phrase has been picking up in popularity this month, it doesn't tell you a whole lot about what you should be doing as an investor. I mean,
which stocks are cheap? And
how cheap are they? Before you go off buying equities with both hands, let's get a better picture of the cheap stocks that are out there.
To do that, we're tearing the lid off of Wall Street's "bargain bin" today.
>>5 Stocks Poised to Pop on Earnings
In very broad strokes, stocks
are looking cheap
er in April. It's earnings season, and one of the big data points that I've been harping on has been the disconnect between investor sentiment and fundamental earnings numbers flowing out of earnings calls this month. So far, 125 stocks in the
S&P 500 have reported their numbers to investors this quarter. Of those, around 82% have reported positive earnings surprise. That means that analysts are dramatically underestimating corporate profits right now.
In the last year, the picture is even clearer: corporate revenues for stocks in the S&P 500 have climbed 7.5%; profits have climbed 6.8%. But at the same time, the S&P's price has only inched 2.7% higher. So even if analysts were dead-on in their earnings projections, Mr. Market is still a lot cheaper than it was 12 months ago; and we know that those projections aren't even close.
Still, the idea that "the market is generally cheaper" doesn't do a whole lot for investors looking to buy bargains. That's why we're turning to the bargain bin. In our search, we're focusing in on stocks that currently trade at or under book value per share -- a number that (generally) means that a company costs less to buy than the value of the stuff it owns.
Typically, stocks trade under book value for good reasons. It could mean, for example, that a company has a major black cloud ready to disrupt its businesses, or that its liabilities are under-represented on its balance sheet. To combat that, we're focusing on larger bargains with consistent profitability, and assets that are primarily financed with equity rather than debt.
Without further ado, here's a look at
five of the stocks from Wall Street's bargain bin.