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The Hunt For Double-Nets


NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The search for deep value is never-ending: even in the current environment where it is getting difficult to find many companies that are indeed cheap. That means that you have to turn over even more rocks in order to find something of interest.

As I reported last week, my favorite deep value technique, companies trading Bottom Feeding for Deep Value Success Is Rare but Possible, is not revealing a great deal of opportunity these days. The overall rising tide of the markets has lifted most boats higher, and as a result, the net/net cupboard is nearly empty at this point.

That has certainly happened before, perhaps not to the current extent, but when it does, I often relax my search criteria a bit in order to identify the next best thing. That involves the identification of what I call "double nets," or companies trading at between one and two times net current asset value. Often, these companies become net/nets during market corrections, so it is good to know what names are on the precipice of falling below net current asset value.

When identifying double nets, I utilize the following criteria:

  • Market cap is greater than $250 million
  • Companies are U.S. based and trade on a major exchange
  • Trades at between one and two times net current asset value (NCAV; defined as current assets minus total liabilities from the most recent quarter)
  • Financial companies are excluded.

At this writing, there are 30 names that make the cut; the fewest I seen in the several years that I've been studying double nets. As is typical, the list is very heavy on semiconductor and other technology related companies.

At the top of the list in terms of market cap at $3.4 billion, is a very familiar name, Ingram Micro (IM) which seemingly always trades at a relatively low multiple to net current asset value. Ingram has had a good year, up 31%. Ingram trades at 1.41 times net current asset value, and 9 times 2014 consensus earnings estimates. Yesterday shares fell 4%, and it is not uncommon to see double nets hit harder than the broader markets during market declines. IM Chart IM data by YCharts

Electronic components name AVX (AVX) is the second largest double net with a market cap of $2.16 billion. Currently trading at 1.64 times net current asset value, AVX has a solid balance sheet, ending the latest quarter with $1.04 billion, or $6.18 per share in cash and short-term investments. Shares trade just under 16 times 2014 consensus earnings estimates, and yield 2.7%. AVX Chart AVX data by YCharts

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