AT&T Highlights Jefferies Top Value Stocks to Buy This Week

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It seems pretty clear after the past two days of trading that many on Wall Street have an itchy trigger finger after the big run-up that started in mid-February, and with two 10% corrections in a period of six months, who can blame them? Factor in that most managers had a bad 2015, and a big first quarter may have helped them start to 2016, and the selling makes even more sense.

What this also means is that investors need to focus on value and stock selection probably more than ever. With earnings ready to roll for the first quarter starting next week, all eyes will be on results. A recent Jefferies report focuses on top values picks for this week, and three make good sense now.

AT&T

This company will continue to serve customers regardless of outside influences and still makes good sense despite a solid 2016 run so far. AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is the world’s largest provider of pay TV, with TV customers in the United States and 11 Latin American countries. In the United States, the AT&T wireless network has the nation’s self-described strongest 4G LTE signal and most reliable 4G LTE.

The company also helps businesses worldwide serve their customers better with mobility and highly secure cloud solutions. With shares trading at a very cheap 12.5 times estimated 2016 earnings, the company continues to expand its user base, and strong product introductions from smartphone vendors have not only driven traffic, but increased device financing plans.

AT&T has been focusing on the IP VPN and Ethernet services. This outstanding business model, along with the decline of Verizon’s market share in the arena, has helped the company to meaningfully grow its revenues from strategic business services. Apart from taking appropriate technical measures, the company has collaborated with big cloud service providers like Amazon Web Service and data center operators to provide Ethernet connections.


The Jefferies team met with management recently, and they report that the company is targeting 20 million to 25 million households that have no pay-TV service and are looking to offer a lower-priced product. They note that the subscriber additions are not factored into the positive video outlook for this year, which suggests that the current addition expectations are reasonable.

AT&T investors are paid a huge 4.88% dividend. The Jefferies price target for the stock is $40, and the Thomson/First Call consensus target price is $38.41. Shares closed Tuesday at $39.19.

Legg Mason

This somewhat forgotten player on Wall Street could be a great value addition to a growth portfolio. Legg Mason Inc. (NYSE: LM) provides investment management and related services to institutional and individual clients, company-sponsored mutual funds and other pooled investment vehicles through its wholly owned subsidiaries. The company reports $657 billion in assets under management as of February 29, 2016.

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 stock is one of the biggest holdings in activist investor Nelson Peltz’s Trian Partners. As of the end of 2015 the fund owned just over 11 million shares, a position it has held since the end of 2009.

The Jefferies team met with management and they expect fixed income flows to pick up, and they also see higher operating margins and a combination of lower leverage and buybacks.

Legg Mason investors receive a 2.47% dividend. Jefferies has a $42 price target, and the consensus target is $41.73. The stock closed Tuesday at $32.71 per share.

Mallinckrodt

This company has been on a mergers and acquisitions binge over the past two years, but it got rocked last year on concerns over the company’s business model and results. Mallinckrodt PLC (NYSE: MNK) is a global specialty biopharmaceutical and medical imaging business that develops, manufactures, markets and distributes specialty pharmaceutical products and medical imaging agents. Areas of focus include therapeutic drugs for autoimmune and rare disease specialty areas like neurology, rheumatology, nephrology and pulmonology, as well as neonatal critical care respiratory therapies and analgesics and central nervous system drugs.

The Jefferies team notes that sales of the company’s lead drug, Acthar, have become increasingly decoupled from IMS as the specialty network has expanded. They also point out that Ofirmev volumes continue to improve. The analysts also thinks that while a sale of nuclear would probably be slightly dilutive, it would enhance the company’s purchasing power for future deals. It also could allow for some diversification away from Acthar.

The $85 Jefferies price target is less than the consensus target of $94.71. The stock closed most recently at $62.50.

These are three big value plays that make very good sense in a market that seems overbought at current levels. Investors may want to watch for earnings results before buying shares.