) -- There just aren't any more stock bargains out there -- at least that's the complaint that deep value investors have been lobbing at the market in recent months.
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Back in May,
, the $27 billion hedge fund firm run by value investor Seth Klarman, said in a client letter that it may return client capital at year-end for lack of opportunities. Since then, value seekers have been wringing their hands over the ballooning price tags on the stock market.
But there are still some bargains to be had right now -- it just takes a bit more nimbleness than a $27 billion portfolio can afford.
Even though equity prices have moved substantially on an absolute basis, valuations aren't astronomical on a relative basis. At least not yet. In my view, an expanding monetary base has a lot more to do with the equity rally from 2008 to now than ebullient buyers do.
Translation: There are still buying opportunities in this market. To find them, we're tearing the lid off of Wall Street's "bargain bin" today.
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In our search, we're focusing in on stocks that currently trade near book value per share -- a number that (generally) means that a company costs less to buy than the value of the stuff it owns.
Often, 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 those value traps, we're focusing on larger bargains with consistent profitability, and assets that are primarily financed with equity rather than debt.
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Without further ado, here's a look at
five of the stocks
from Wall Street's bargain bin.