MILLBURN, N.J. (Stockpickr) -- My investment strategy focuses on growth at a reasonable price, or GARP. To that end, I seek out stocks that are selling at low price-earnings-to-growth, or PEG, ratios.
The price-to-earnings, or P/E, ratio is a measure of risk. It calculates the multiple of earnings an investor is willing to pay. The higher the multiple, the greater the stock price will react to changes in earnings per share. A stock sporting a lower multiple is considered safer because of the lesser impact that earnings has upon stock price. Lower-P/E stocks tend to compensate investors by paying dividends.
The PEG ratio adjusts the P/E ratio for growth. A stock with a P/E of 16 growing earnings at 10% per year will have a PEG of 1.6. The lower the PEG, the less we are paying for future growth. The higher the PEG, the riskier the stock is because of the dual sensitivity to both changes in current earnings and future growth.
The objective for GARP investors is to seek out stocks with PEG ratios closer to 1 and avoid stocks with PEG ratios closer to 2. Many momentum or fad stocks will trade at elevated PEG ratios. No wonder that those stocks are more likely to crash and burn when they post an earnings miss or when expected growth contracts.
Here is a list of
to consider for investment.
is a very interesting stock to analyze. On the surface, Apple sells at about 14 times current-year consensus estimates. Earnings are expected to grow by over 60% in 2011 and by 15% in 2012. This implies a sub-1 PEG ratio. That makes Apple cheap.
But Apple is even cheaper than that. Of the approximate $340-per-share stock price, nearly $70 per share represents cash, cash equivalents or long-term U.S. Treasury investments, all of which are quite liquid. These assets generate almost no net income for Apple. What Apple plans on doing with that $70 per share is the subject of much debate and speculation.
I prefer to back out the $70 when calculating P/E and PEG for Apple. Thus, I see the company's stock selling at 11 times the current year's earnings and a PEG of about 0.73. This makes Apple one of the cheapest stocks in the market.
Apple was recently highlighted in "
Stocks to Play a Social Networking Bubble
Polo Ralph Lauren
Polo Ralph Lauren
is a global luxury clothing, personal care and home goods retailer that operates out of its own branded stores and factory outlets and in department stores. Polo Ralph Lauren is quickly growing outside of the U.S. as demand for high-end goods increases in more countries, especially in the Far East. The company is about to report its fourth-quarter 2011 results before the bell on May 25.
For its fiscal 2011, I expect earnings to grow by nearly 23% to $5.80 a share. In the coming year, I anticipate that earnings will grow by at least 15%, but earnings growth of 20% or more is not out of the question -- especially as foreign expansion takes hold, the U.S. dollar remains weak and Ralph Lauren's Club Monaco concept adds more stores.
Using my expected growth rates, the stock currently sells at around 20 times forward earnings with PEG of about 1 to 1.3. In a world where luxury is in growth mode, Polo Ralph Lauren is cheap.
I recently highlighted Polo Ralph Lauren in "
is a global letter and freight carrier specializing in overnight deliveries. Increasingly, businesses and individuals in the U.S. are avoiding using the U.S. Postal Service and relying on email or private carriers such as
(UPS) and FedEx.
FedEx and its peers can pass on cost inflation such as for gasoline to its customers at will, whereas the U.S. Postal Service requires legislative approval before increasing postage rates. Hence, for FedEx, margins can be maintained and profit can grow despite rising costs.
For its fiscal year ending May 2011, earnings for FedEx are expected to grow by about 31%. The company is expected to outdo itself in 2012 when earnings are projected to jump 33%. The stock sells for about 19 times 2011 earnings estimates and 14 times estimates for 2012.
No matter how you look at it, Fedex sells at a PEG of less than 1, making the stock a compelling buy.
FedEx, one of TheStreet Ratings'
, shows up on a recent list of
Buffalo Wild Wings
I have closely followed
Buffalo Wild Wings
since it came public a few years ago. The company operates casual dining restaurants across the country that serve a variety of chicken wings, burgers, sandwiches and wraps as well as beers and specialty drinks. Buffalo Wild Wings continues to roll out its concept from coast to coast.
Buffalo Wild Wings is expected to generate earnings growth of 27% in 2011 and 19% in 2012. The stock currently sells at 24 times current year's earnings estimates and 20 times forward estimates. The PEG ratio for Buffalo Wild Wings is approximately at or below about 1.
But Buffalo Wild Wings does not get the respect it deserves, likely due to the high-profile growth at other casual dining establishments such as
Chipotle Mexican Grill
(PNRA). Pretty soon, Buffalo Wild Wings will be mentioned in the same breath as Chipotle Mexican Grill and Panera Bread.
Buffalo Wild Wings showed up on a list last month of
-- Written by Scott Rothbort in Millburn, N.J.
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At the time of publication, Rothbort was long RL, FDX, BWLD, PNRA and AAPL and was long AAPL calls, although positions can change at any time.
Scott Rothbort has over 25 years of experience in the financial services industry. He is the Founder and President of
, a registered investment advisor specializing in customized separate account management for high net worth individuals. In addition, he is the founder of
, an educational social networking site; and, publisher of
. Rothbort is also a Term Professor of Finance at Seton Hall University's Stillman School of Business, where he teaches courses in finance and economics. He is the Chief Market Strategist for The Stillman School of Business and the co-supervisor of the Center for Securities Trading and Analysis.
Mr. Rothbort is a regular contributor to
TheStreet.com's RealMoney Silver
website and has frequently appeared as a professional guest on
Fox Business Network
and local television. As an expert in the field of derivatives and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), he frequently speaks at industry conferences. He is an ETF advisory board member for the Information Management Network, a global organizer of institutional finance and investment conferences. In addition, he is widely quoted in interviews in the printed press and on the internet.
Mr. Rothbort founded LakeView Asset Management in 2002. Prior to that, since 1991, he worked at Merrill Lynch, where he held a wide variety of senior-level management positions, including Business Director for the Global Equity Derivative Department, Global Director for Equity Swaps Trading and Risk Management, and Director for secured funding and collateral management for the Global Capital Markets Group and Corporate Treasury. Prior to working at Merrill Lynch, within the financial services industry, he worked for County Nat West Securities and Morgan Stanley, where he had international assignments in Tokyo, Hong Kong and London. He began his career working at Price Waterhouse from 1982 to 1984.
Mr. Rothbort received an M.B.A., majoring in Finance and International Business from the Stern School of Business, New York University, in 1992, and a B.Sc. in Economics, majoring in Accounting, from the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania, in 1982. He is also a graduate of the prestigious Stuyvesant High School in New York City. Mr. Rothbort is married to Layni Horowitz Rothbort, a real estate attorney, and together they have five children.