A Rose at the Wrong Price

This article originally appeared on RealMoney.com on Sept. 3, 2014 at 3:00 p.m. To read more content like this AND see inside Jim Cramer's multi-million dollar portfolio for FREE... Click Here NOW.

International Flavors and Fragrances  (IFF) is a very high-quality name. Its balance sheet is quite strong and the low-beta shares have performed extremely well since the start of the bull market.

Management just boosted the quarterly payout by 20.5%, taking it from $0.39 to $0.47. At Tuesday afternoon's quote of $101.30, IFF's current yield was 1.86%.

The stock's earnings per share (EPS) dipped slightly during 2008's recession but have risen in the year since then. Value Line expects $5.00 per share in 2014, which would be a new record high, up almost 12% from $4.47.

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So, what's not to like? The company's valuation is simply too high.

During the four-year period from 2010 - 2013 IFF sold for a P/E of about 15.7x. The shares typically paid around 2.1% dividends. Tuesday's price reflects 20.2x the firm's 2014 estimate with a slightly sub-par 1.86% yield. Why buy now when IFF was avilable at better prices about 99% of the time since 2009?

Source: Value Line

Clearly there is room for this stock to fall, even if it avoids a full regression to its normalized multiple and yield. Independent analysis from Morningstar led them to a rare 2-star Sell rating. They feel fair value is only $88, about 13% below the present price.

Morningstar

Standard & Poor's estimate is a bit less pessimitic. It gives IFF a fair value estimate of $97.90. That still leaves the stock unattractive at north of $101.

International Flavors is a classic case of a good company with a bad stock. Despite its fine fundamentals, investors who paid the peak price in May of 2011 had to wait 19 months to get back to even.

Shareholders should consider locking in gains. Envious non-owners of IFF should wait for a sweeter smelling entry point.

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At the time of publication, Price had no positions in the stocks mentioned.

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