As we head into the last two weeks of the dog-days of August investors are presented with the usual routine of cleaning out portfolios and getting ready for what could be an interesting fall. With the S&P 500 locked in a tight trading range since last November, many top companies have treaded water and look ripe for the picking now. In a new research report from Jefferies they are out with this week’s top value stock picks.
The Jefferies list is chock full of great companies with solid upside potential. We screened the stocks for those that have somewhat matched the sideways market move, and could be ready to break-out to highs later this year.
AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) has to be one of the most ignored dividend plays on Wall Street. In fact, AT&T is the 3rd most underweighted security, and the most under owned by active fund managers according to Wall Street data. While growth has been admittedly slower over the last few years, the company continues to expand their user base, and strong product introductions from smartphone vendors has not only driven traffic, but increased device financing plans. An area that many on Wall Street believe could lead to some continued earnings weakness.
Most on Wall Street including the Jefferies analysts feel that finally closing the DIRECTV deal will remove a lot of lingering questions, especially where the company’s big dividend is concerned. It’s a good bet that the synergies created by the deal are being underestimated. and many analysts see upside to wireless margins which were a positive earnings driver in the second quarter.
AT&T investors are paid an outstanding 5.49% dividend. The Jefferies price target is set at $40, and the consensus estimate is at $37.05. Shares closed Monday at $34.23.
This company is the old financing arm of GM that was known before the great recession as GMAC. Ally Financial Inc. (NYSE: ALLY) has been rebuilt into a stronger and more solvent Internet-focused bank with no brick-and-mortar locations. Its customers do their banking solely through the bank’s website, its mobile application, and automatic teller machines.
The Jefferies analysts feel that flat out in comparison to peers, which there are actually few actually structured like Ally, the stock is very cheap. Trading at a low 9.27 times estimated 2016 earnings,and at a less than 0ne times book value, the analysts feel that there is room to run. Most on Wall Street feel that the stock should trade more like 1.25 times book value.
With the capital structure optimized and management having diversified the originations platform ahead of expectations, the stock has tremendous value at current levels. The Jefferies price target for the stock is posted at $27. The consensus is at $26.54. Shares closed on Monday at $21.80.
This somewhat forgotten player on Wall Street could be a great addition to a growth portfolio if Jefferies turns out to be accurate here. Legg Mason Inc. (NYSE: LM) is a global asset management firm with $696 billion in assets under management as of July 31, 2015. The Company provides active asset management in many major investment centers throughout the world. Bill Miller the legendary investor and portfolio manager has returned to the firm after stepping down in 2012, and has started back on his winning ways.
The Jefferies team notes that Legg Mason participated in the firm’s recent Financial Conference in Boston and the analysts continue to believe that Legg Mason’s institutional client base should provide stability if not more opportunity as rates slowly rise and as demand rises for higher yielding securities. The analyst’s price target of 16.5 times earnings assumes the multiple expands modestly as fund flows improve and margins expand.
Legg Mason investors are paid a 1.64% dividend. The Jefferies price target for the stock is posted at $63, and the consensus is set at $58. Shares closed Monday at $48.83.
This stock is a Franchise Pick at Jefferies, and also is a top value play for investors. Owens Corning (NYSE: OC) is expected to continue earnings growth as the housing market stays on a solid but slower growth path. The company develops, manufactures and markets insulation, roofing, and fiberglass composites. Global in scope and human in scale, the company’s market-leading businesses use their deep expertise in materials, manufacturing and building science to develop products and systems that save energy and improve comfort in commercial and residential buildings. Through its glass reinforcements business, the company makes thousands of products lighter, stronger and more durable.
The Jefferies team note that the company posted solid second quarter results beating on the bottom line and coming in just under expectations on revenues. They also think Owens Corning is seeing good momentum across its three businesses, with the potential risk around the Chinese devaluation seemingly well contained. They are watching to see if the recent roofing price increases hold, but energy pricing has dropped and that’s a potential tailwind.
Owens Corning investors are paid a 1.44% dividend. The Jefferies price target for the stock is set at $56, and the consensus is at $47.97. The shares closed on Monday at $47.23.
Not only are these top value plays for investors, they are reasonably safe value plays as well. The market is caught in a trading range tug-of-war, and either we break out to new highs, or we go through the support for the long awaited 10% correction. These stocks should hold up good either way.