It’s one thing to buy a value stock, or a company with a very low multiple that is trading below historical multiple levels. It’s quite another thing to buy a compelling value stock, because that is one in which value can be unlocked by earnings gains, a change in the macro environment or a headline event like a takeover or merger proposal. Those are companies that savvy experienced investors look for in frothy and potentially volatile markets.
A new Jefferies research report circles in on stocks the firm feels are compelling values for investors now. We like these four companies, and shares of all are rated Buy at Jefferies.
Check Point Software
This stock has taken off recently but still offers solid upside. Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (NASDAQ: CHKP) provides network security solutions, selling software, hardware and subscription services for IT security, with a focus of reducing complexity of security management. Its hardware is based on a software blade architecture that allows for multiple security functions to be run concurrently.
Check Point sells its solutions to service providers, small and medium-sized businesses, consumers and enterprises, including all the Fortune 100 companies. This long-time industry leader used to be a must-own stock for tech portfolios. The analysts noted this in the research report:
We were out with our second quarter software preview and note that this quarter may be an attractive entry point for Check Point given low expectations, easier future comps and an eventual product refresh. The bar is fairly low for the quarter and we see potential for results to show improvement in the second half of the year.
The Jefferies price target for the shares is $127, but the Wall Street consensus target is just $108. The shares closed on Monday at $109.92 apiece.
Jefferies recently added this top media and entertainment company to its well-respected Franchise Picks list. Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ: CMCSA) is the largest U.S. provider of cable services, with over 22 million basic subscribers. It owns NBCU, which includes the NBC TV Networks, Telemundo, MSNBC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, E!, CNBC and several other cable networks, as well as Universal Films and Universal Theme Parks.
Comcast has invested in technology to build an advanced network that delivers among the fastest broadband speeds and brings customers personalized video, communications and home management offerings.
With the midterm election cycle starting up soon, this company stands to benefit big time, and a stunning 69.6% of the fund managers own the shares. Plus, the company has declined to pursue the Fox assets any further and is now focusing on a full commitment to acquiring Sky.
Investors receive a 2.18% dividend. Jefferies has a $41 price target, while the consensus target is $46.95. The shares closed Monday at $34.17.
This very diversified company has large government contract exposure. United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX) is an industrial conglomerate with four operating units:
- Otis: the world’s largest elevator company
- Climate, Controls & Security: includes Carrier, which has commercial and residential HVAC and commercial transport refrigeration equipment and fire and security
- Pratt & Whitney: military and civil aircraft engines and service operations
- Aerospace Systems: aviation controls and systems
The analysts love UTC’s prospects going forward and noted this:
We attended the Farnborough Airshow last week and what we heard at the show reinforces the stock as a top supplier pick. We believe the GTF engine should begin to reach an inflection point in 2019, a view confirmed by an OEM. We recently did a deep dive discussing the various things that could go right on the margin front that would help shares.
Tuesday morning, UTC posted big second-quarter earnings and offered very positive forward guidance.
Investors receive a 2.15% dividend. The $157 Jefferies price target compares with the $150.18 consensus target. The stock closed Monday at $129.57 and traded higher in Tuesday’s premarket.
This also was added recently to the Jefferies Franchise Pick list of top stocks. Williams Companies Inc. (NYSE: WMB) is now largely a pure-play domestic natural gas infrastructure company that has a 74% ownership interest in its underlying master limited partnership, Williams Partners. Shareholders will vote on a complete merger on August 9, and most believe that soon after that the Williams Partners deal will close.
The company has a lower risk, fee-based business model with some volume sensitivity. Natural gas demand continues to be driven by liquefied natural gas exports, power generation and industrials. In addition to steady demand growth, Marcellus production and associated gas in the Permian are expected to continue to be primary supply drivers.
Shareholders receive a 4.72% dividend. Jefferies has set its price target at $34. The consensus target is $33.71, and shares closed Monday at $28.80.
Four top stocks to buy with growth stock qualities and value stock metrics. All offer growth investors good potential for the rest of 2018 and a degree of downside protection in a pricey stock market.