NEW YORK ( Stockpickr) -- In the past few years, we've read countless reports about the still-struggling U.S. consumer. Hopes are rising that 2013 will be a better year for consumers, but we're not exactly on the cusp of a truly healthy consumer economy where all people feel a greater sense of financial well-being.
In corporate America, it's an entirely different story. By many measures, a wide range of companies are generating near-record profit margins, and cash continues to pile up on corporate balance sheets.
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To be sure, many stocks have surged in value in recent years and aren't necessarily deep bargains in the context of their cash flow prowess. However, there are a handful of stocks in the S&P that produce prodigious amounts of free cash flow (defined as operating cash flow minus capital spending) yet have a market value that is still quite low in relation to that cash flow.
four stocks that sport free cash flow yields
(which is free cash flow divided by market value) in excess of 7%.
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This office equipment maker could have been a candidate for the trash heap by now, were it not for savvy moves to shore up its balance sheet and a game-changing acquisition.
(XRX - Get Report)
acquired business services company Affiliated Computer Services in 2009, and that move is now paying off handsomely.
How do we know? Because Xerox has now become a veritable cash cow, churning out impressive amounts of free cash flow. Over the past four years, Xerox has generated a cumulative $6.8 billion in free cash flow, or roughly $1.7 billion per annum. The entire company is valued at just $10 billion, which equates to a free cash flow yield of 17%. That's almost hard to fathom at a time when most other companies sport free cash flow yields in the 3% to 4% range.
To take advantage of the low valuation assigned to its shares, Xerox bought back more than $1 billion in shares in 2012, and will likely keep shrinking the supply of stock.