) -- U.S. stocks fell for the fourth straight day on Thursday, with the
S&P 500 Index
down 8.7% so far this year.
Investors are concerned about a range of issues, from Europe's burdensome debt to stricter U.S. regulations. As a result, inexpensive stocks are now even cheaper.
are getting more dangerous.
Bonds, gold and the dollar have risen in 2010 as investors dumped stocks. The Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Broad Market Index of bonds climbed 4.2% in the first half of the year, while the precious metal increased 13% to a record. Meanwhile, the dollar jumped 10% against a basket of currencies including the euro, yen and British pound after falling in the same period in 2009.
Here are 10 U.S. stocks that trade at massive discounts to the broader equity market and their peer groups. They sell for price-to-projected-earnings ratios of less than 6. By comparison, the S&P 500 sells for 11 times estimated 2011 earnings.
The benchmark index trades at a PEG ratio, or a price-to-earnings-to-growth ratio, of 0.8. Many investors consider 1 to be a fair value.
The stocks are ordered from cheap to cheapest.
Everest Re Group
is a property and casualty insurer and reinsurer in the U.S.
Everest Re swung to a first-quarter loss of $23 million, or 38 cents a share, from a profit of $109 million, or $1.76, a year earlier. Its revenue jumped 28%. The stock pays a dividend yield of 2.7% with a safe payout ratio of 17%. It sells for a price-to-projected-earnings ratio of 5.9, a 47% discount to its peer average.
is a Germany-based global investment bank, offering capital-raising, trading and asset-management services. Its stock has dropped 27% a year since 2007, underperforming U.S. indices. First-quarter profit surged 52% and earnings per share increased 41%, though revenue declined marginally. The stock trades at a price-to-projected-earnings ratio of 5.9 and a price-to-cash-flow ratio of 1.4, 50% and 91% discounts to peer averages.
Mitsui & Co.
is a trading company, importing, exporting and selling goods on behalf of its clients. During the past three years, it has grown revenue 1.9% annually, on average. Mitsui swung to a fiscal fourth-quarter profit of $604 million, or $6.71, from a loss of $1.3 billion, or $14.13, a year earlier. Its stock sells for a price-to-projected-earnings ratio of 5.5, a 70% discount to the industry average.
sells hard-drives. Over a three-year span, it has increased sales 22% annually, on average, and boosted profit 41% a year. Fiscal third-quarter profit increased seven-fold to $401 million, or $1.71, as revenue surged 66%. Western Digital sells for a PEG ratio of 0.1, a 90% discount to fair value. Its price-to-projected-earnings ratio of 4.9 reflects a 70% discount to its peer average.
Delta Air Lines
provides air transport for passengers and cargo. Delta has a tainted history, having exited bankruptcy in 2007. Its stock has fallen 16% a year since the exit. But there are encouraging signs. Delta's first-quarter loss narrowed 68% to $256 million, or 31 cents, as revenue ascended 2.5%. Its stock trades at a price-to-projected-earnings ratio of 4.9, 75% less than the airline industry average.
is a mortgage real estate investment trust, investing in residential mortgage-backed securities. It was spun off of
Annaly Capital Management
in 2007. Chimera offers a lofty distribution yield of 19%. First-quarter profit multiplied to $126 million, or 19 cents, from $19 million, or 11 cents, in the year-earlier period. Chimera trades at a price-to-projected-earnings ratio of 4.8, a 92% discount to its REIT peer average.
, like Western Digital, sells hard-drives. The company swung to a fiscal third-quarter profit of $518 million, or $1, from a loss of $275 million, or 56 cents, a year earlier. Revenue grew 42%. Since 2007, Seagate has expanded earnings per share 51% annually, on average. Its shares sell for a price-to-projected-earnings ratio of 3.8 and a price-to-cash-flow ratio of 3.6, 77% and 75% discounts to industry averages.
( UAUA) owns United Air Lines, which, like Delta, endured a bankruptcy restructuring. It emerged in 2006. Its sales have fallen 4.3% a year since then amid an economic recession. UAL shares have risen six-fold during the past 12 months, beating indices by a wide margin. Still, they trade at a price-to-projected-earnings ratio of just 3.7, reflecting an 81% discount to their airline peer average.
is an insurance company that specializes in credit-enhancement products, which improve the credit of underlying debt obligations. Although this business is inherently risky, Assured Guarantee is expected to rebound in the months ahead. First-quarter net income quadrupled to $322 million. The stock sells for a price-to-projected-earnings ratio of 3.5, indicating a 69% discount to the insurance industry average.
is a dry-bulk shipper that provides seaborne transport for iron ore, coal, grain and fertilizers worldwide. The Baltic Dry Ship Index, a gauge of carriers' pricing power, fell 2.3% yesterday to the lowest level since October, a discouraging sign. DryShips shares fell 5%. They sell for a price-to-projected-earnings ratio of 3, a price-to-book ratio of 0.3 and a price-to-cash-flow ratio of 2.6, 75%, 67% and 55% discounts to peer averages.
-- Reported by Jake Lynch in Boston.
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