If you were to look at balance sheets and forward P/E ratios, you might come to the opposite conclusion. When you dig for value plays, though, you need to do it on the basis of a company's long-term story, not the numbers.
Is it weaving a reasonable narrative? Does it have the pieces in place to execute and sustain?
Consider Sirius XM (SIRI).
Because its P/E has tanked to more sensible levels, some investors might start referring to it as a value play. That's a surface-scratch analysis. The P/E dropped as the stock price dropped. It was not because of any meaningful uptick in profits. When a stock consistently trends down, as Sirius XM has since April, there's generally a reason.And that reason is clear -- Sirius XM equals dead money in the eyes of investors. The company's own CEO thinks the stock "sucks." Folks such as myself and fellow TheStreet contributor Richard Saintvilus have been hammering home the reasons to Sirius XM loyalist longs for some time now. Leaving aside a lack of innovation and billions of outstanding shares, egomaniacal men acting like children hold the company and stock back at this point. In a perfect world, Mel Karmazin resigns amicably and relinquishes control of Sirius XM to Liberty Media (LMCA). That makes the most sense, as, under that arrangement, satellite radio might actually evolve into something relevant. Integration into Liberty's diverse, growing and cross-platform stable can only help the cause. Instead, Karmazin effectively forces Liberty to strong-arm the situation, which, ultimately, harms the future of Sirius XM's business. A businessman through and through (not an entrepreneur), Karmazin simultaneously grew revenue, generated cash and turned his company into a dinosaur. It will end up in the single-occupancy museum of satellite radio if somebody does not act soon. By the time the Mel and Malone dog and pony show wraps up it might be too late to activate any real change. It probably already is. Look around the market. Given the recent weakness, you can find plenty of stocks with P/Es falling even harder than Sirius XM's. At last check, Research in Motion (RIMM) flounders at a ripe current P/E ratio of 4.5 with the stock finally ending up where most of the free world predicted -- in the single digits.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass + 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV