The relentless volatility that has marked 2016 so far is doing something only a market sell-off can do. Many top blue chip companies that have performed well over the years, and have also paid in some cases outstanding dividends, are being sold off to the point where the current valuations put them more in a value arena. For investors with fresh capital, or those selling losers, this could be the best entry point in some time to buy shares.
In the weekly report from Jefferies that highlights its top value picks, we found four companies that all have taken hits during the recent bouts of selling and make good sense for investors to consider now. All are rated Buy at Jefferies.
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.
While shares are 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 has not only driven traffic, but increased device financing plans.
The company announced recently it is working with Salesforce.com to connect Internet of Things data from AT&T’s solutions into Salesforce’s Customer Success Platform. By connecting AT&T M2X into Salesforce’s Service Cloud, companies can automatically create and route service requests, cases or tickets through prebuilt workflows.
While fourth-quarter earnings were in line with forecasts, and slightly below the Jefferies estimates, a change in accounting for the entertainment group lowered revenue/EBITDA by $300 million for the quarter. The analysts note that this knocked $0.03 off the bottom-line numbers. So all in all, a solid quarter, and another reason for conservative accounts to own the stock, especially with solid DirecTV adds and mid-single-digit earnings growth estimated for 2016.
AT&T investors receive a huge 5.23% dividend. The Jefferies price target for the stock is $40, and the Thomson/First Call consensus price target is $37.24. Shares closed Wednesday at $36.72.
Shares of mega-cap software company Oracle Corp. (NYSE: ORCL) trades at 14.2 times estimated 2016 earnings, and it sports a solid free cash flow yield. Combined sales in Oracle’s cloud software, infrastructure and platform-as-a-service businesses were solid, and Jefferies feels that this business has room to grow.
Co-Chief Executive Officer Mark Hurd has made almost all of Oracle’s services available via the Internet, as the database-software company changes its business model to fit a new competitive landscape. Revenue generated from software license updates and support constituted 52% of Oracle’s total revenue of $9.0 billion in fiscal second quarter of 2016, which Jefferies viewed as in line with expectations.
The analysts also feel that as the company’s 12C database cycle starts to contribute during calendar 2016, the stock could very well be poised for what they term a breakout year. After recent investor meetings, the analysts raised fiscal year 2017 cloud margins to 66% from 63% and earnings per share to $2.80. They also believe that the software giant may be on the verge of a multiyear database product cycle.
Oracle investors receive a 1.7% dividend. Jefferies has a $50 price objective, and the consensus target is lower at $44. Shares closed Wednesday at $35.69.
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