While the market continues to bump up against new all-time highs, not every stock has joined in on the rally. Three that caught our eye as potential values in today's heated market are NVR (NYSE: NVR), Seaspan Corporation (NYSE: SSW), and FireEye (NASDAQ: FEYE).
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That said, there are reasons why these stocks haven't joined the fun. Each one has some concern that has been weighing it down. Because of that, it takes a brave investor to see their potential and can hold through what could be a bumpy ride.
Building houses with a twist
Brian Stoffel (NVR): Let's get one thing out of the way from the get-go: I'm not a bold value investor. I put my money behind founder-led companies with wide moats, strong balance sheets, and evidence of optionality.
That being said, in the search for value stocks, one that has gotten on my radar is homebuilder NVR (NYSE: NVR). The company has subsidiaries that focus on both high- and low-end units, and nearly one-third of all its business is concentrated in the Capital Region of Washington, D.C. and Baltimore.
NVR is unique because it uses Lot Purchase Agreements (LPA) to reserve land. This often means putting a payment down equal to 10% or less of a lot's actual value.
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If NVR later decides to ditch the development -- for specific or macro-economic reasons -- it has no further liabilities. This gives the company a much healthier balance sheet than competitors, and allows management to buy back shares hand over fist. The share count is down an astounding 23% over the past five years.
What makes this a "daring" pick is the fact that, although demand for new houses is strong and the company has downside protection via LPAs, it's still incredibly sensitive to macro-economic winds. Additionally, new orders from the mid-Atlantic were flat in the second quarter.
I call it a "value" because it currently has a price-to-earnings-growth (PEG) ratio of 1.06. Normally, this would signal a "fairly valued" stock. But in today's market, it's tough to find a company anywhere near a PEG of 1.0, so I think NVR qualifies.
Drive right in
Matt DiLallo (Seaspan Corporation): The stock price of container-ship leasing company Seaspan Corporation has plunged about 50% over the past year due to challenges in the shipping market. Conditions got so bad last year that South Korean shipping giant Hanjin filed for bankruptcy. While that event sent shockwaves through the industry and hurt Seaspan's bottom line, it seems to be the low-water mark of the current downturn. That's because leasing activity has picked up, which is driving a rebound in charter rates for containerships.
That turning tide was evident in Seaspan Corporation's second-quarter results, which showed some notable improvements. For example, utilization was 98.2% during the quarter, which was well above the prior quarter because the company was able to find a new customer for the vessels it had previously leased to Hanjin. Meanwhile, the company recently announced that it had finally found a customer for its last two uncontracted newbuilds, which lifts the weight that it would have to pay for these vessels and then have them sit idle.
That said, even with all this good news, Seaspan Corporation's stock is dirt cheap. The company sells for less than 2.7 times free cash flow and less than 7.5 times its enterprise value-to-EBITDA. Because of that rock-bottom valuation, the company offers investors a jaw-dropping current yield of 7.4%.
While Seaspan Corporation carries a higher level of risk given the turbulence in the shipping sector and its large debt load, the company has the potential to deliver huge gains for investors who are bold enough to dive in right now.
On the road to riches
Tim Brugger (FireEye): The news just keeps getting better for fans of FireEye. CEO Kevin Mandia's cost-cutting initiatives continue to gather momentum. Combine this with the company's surprisingly strong top-line growth, and bold investors should take a closer look.
For naysayers who thought the outstanding 29% drop in operating expense to begin 2017 was an anomaly, FireEye delivered another impressive 24% year-over-year paring of overhead last quarter. One of Mandia's first acts as CEO was to cut sales and marketing jobs, and promise to continue making FireEye a more efficiently run provider of ongoing, cloud-based subscription solutions.
There's still work to do to get FireEye's sales and marketing costs under wraps. The $89.6 million spent last quarter -- nearly half its $185.5 million in revenue -- was a 26% decline from a year ago. While the 6% gain in total revenue handily beat both the Street's expectations and FireEye's own guidance, it was the growth of its subscription and services unit that really impressed.
The $154.3 million in ongoing subscription revenue was a 15% improvement year over year, and the all-important division now accounts for a jaw-dropping 83% of FireEye's total sales. Considering it generally costs less to service existing customers than rely solely on driving new sales, FireEye's subscription growth also plays directly into its expense-management efforts.
FireEye still has a ways to go to become profitable, which is why it's an ideal value stock for bold investors. But with the strides the company is making with each passing quarter, profitability is a matter of when, not if.
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Brian Stoffel has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Matthew DiLallo owns shares of NVR and Seaspan. Tim Brugger has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of NVR. The Motley Fool recommends FireEye and Seaspan. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.