NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- It's hard for me not to get the itchy trigger finger and press the buy button whenever I see stocks that are trading at exceptionally low valuations. That convulsion is even more noticeable when it is a technology company.
But it begs the question, if the valuation is perceived to be low, why hasn't anyone else noticed? That seems to be the weird aspect of investing -- everyone wants value, but they refuse to buy until everyone else does.
That seems to be especially true these days with tech giant
. But it won't be for long.
'Sentiment' Does Not Dictate 'Value'
For many, the thinking is, since the market is presumed to be always right, why bother on a stock that everyone ignores. However, investors don't often realize that they are making the mistake of confusing "market sentiment" with "value" -- two entirely separate terms.
Although the stock has not been a high-flyer in recent years, the HP is now taking steps not only to shore up its position against rivals such as
, but also possibly to steal some market share away from
With the help of its longtime partner
, with which it shares a mutual enemy in Apple, the company is betting heavily on the success the Windows 8 launch as a way to dispel exaggerated
What's more, the company is now in the midst of a cost-cutting strategy that should save it an estimated $3 billion over the next several years.
It will do this by opting to consolidate both its printing and PC businesses which combined have accounted for $65 billing of the company's revenue last year. In addition to reducing its capex, this is certain to make the company more nimble while improving its ability to innovate and produce products that appeals to consumers.
With these moves in place, investors should take notice that not only is HP poised for tremendous growth over the next four years, but it has now positioned itself to increase its profit margins in a relatively short period of time.
By its recent moves, it is clear that HP has high expectations and wants to take Apple head-on. How successful it will be in that endeavor remains to be seen.
In spite of all of that, the stock continues to take a beating and is down 30% since early May. The market is now taking a "wait and see" attitude toward HP. I think that's a fair approach as new CEO Meg Whitman has a tall task ahead of her in not only executing correctly, but also erasing these clouds of doubt that continues to plague the company for its past mistakes.
However, investors have to certainly feel a sense of excitement to see that the company is as ambitious as it has become. Its moves will allow HP to design future builds with initiatives and focus not only on its existing products but more importantly how these new products will work together.
Initially, after Whitman took over, it was difficult to assess the company's progress in convincing investors that a new HP is on the horizon -- especially when considering the revolving door that has become the company's CEO post. However, what is clear now is that Whitman has a firm handle on what the company's strengths and weaknesses are. Clearly, it now seems that one of the company's strengths is its management.
Making a play on the stock at these levels might be a smart move. At $17 the stock should easily trade north of $20 by the end of the year. With a P/E of less than 8 it is clear that Wall Street is expecting very little from HP, which suggests there is little risk in the shares.
That said, investors must not make the mistake of expecting an immediate turnaround. This is going to take some time.
At the time of publication, the author was long AAPL and held no position in any of the stocks mentioned
This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.