When bull markets are strong and when gains are expected to remain in place, investors often say that they will wait for a market correction of 5% before buying into stocks. Sadly, bull markets often never give those clean entry points so that patient investors have a chance to get in. What often does occur is that investors start to get chances to enter a stock when it is down 5% or 10% from its 52-week or all-time high.
24/7 Wall St. sees that 15 of the 30 Dow Jones Industrial (DJIA) stocks have pulled back 5.0% or more from their 52-week highs, and many stocks are still down 10% from highs.
This means that investors do have a chance of picking up some of their top dividend picks and DJIA stocks at a discount, even if the broad market has not pulled back from recent highs by anywhere close to these amounts.
While most of the points behind each of these reviews will sound positive, they are simple explanations of what is driving the trend or what stands out in each one. As a reminder, stocks that are weak are generally weak for a reason.
AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) remains the more beaten up of the two telecom DJIA stocks. Shares are close to $33.50, making the drop down about 14.1% from the $39.00 52-week high. AT&T is now even about 1% within a 52-week low. The pressure is on from Sprint and T-Mobile. AT&T seems as though it is now in a price war, and price wars are generally bad for shareholders. AT&T now yields 5.5% due to the sell-off getting worse. The consensus analyst price target is just shy of $36.96.
Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) is down about 14% from its 52-week high of $26.49. At $22.74, it remains challenged because of a serious drop off from orders in China and emerging markets. The Snowden snooping issue has met at the same time that China is retaliating against the United States for a lack of technology orders. Cisco also has tried endless restructurings, and its acquisitions have remained a key strategy of being a one-stop shop for networking and infrastructure. Cisco also pays a 3.0% dividend.
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) is down 13% from its 52-week high of $54.31. At $47.26, its consensus analyst price target is up at $54.04. Verizon suffers from many of the same woes as AT&T, yet Verizon just took a massive load of debt to fund the remaining stake purchase of Verizon Wireless in 2013. Its dividend is much lower than AT&T’s at 4.4%.
International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) is down almost 12% from its 52-week high. The pre-Tuesday price was back up to $190, but shares have pulled back ahead of earnings. IBM is cheap on the surface at 10 times earnings, but that is because the share buybacks are driving it. There is no organic growth at IBM, and now we have word that it wants to exit the lower-end server market. It seems that there is just very little exciting here, other than that it is cheap. It is cheap for a reason, and its 2.0% dividend does not entice buyers to come out of the woodwork.
Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO) is trading now around $39.50, which is still down 9% from its 52-week high of $43.43. The 2.9% dividend sounds somewhat enticing, but the big question is whether it can move into new products fast enough to get away from its sugary drink pressure in developed markets looking to be healthier. Coca-Cola is still a defensive stock that should hold up in a bear market, but we would caution that it trades at almost 18 times expected 2014 earnings. That seems expensive for a defensive stock.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) might not be down 10% from its recent highs, but at $75.50 it is down about 7.2% from its recent high of $81.37. What is interesting is that analysts see a new high coming, with the consensus price target up at $83.77. Walmart is plagued with labor fights, even as Americans keep flocking to the cheaper prices. Walmart pays a 2.5% dividend yield, and it is buying back billions worth of stock. Walmart is suffering from the same thing many other retailers are seeing — a lack of growth and competition.
Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE) is among the newest of the DJIA members after being added in 2013. This is without argument one of the top brands in the world. At $73.40, Nike is down 8.5% from its recent all-time high of $80.26. The consensus price target is looking for an even higher high of $81.74. Unfortunately, Nike’s low dividend yield of about 1.3% just will not entice income buyers. Nike will have to attract growth stock investors, and hopefully those growth investors think it is cheap enough to buy. Still, this trades at 24 times expected earnings.
What is obvious when you look at these is that there are no free gifts in this stock market. The DJIA and S&P 500 Index are both trying to find direction in 2014, after the massive performance in 2013. Bargain stocks often just do not feel like bargains. In fact, some may not even be bargains at all.