There’s no getting round the fact that stock markets are volatile at the moment. However, volatility does not always imply a lack of opportunity. At times of market correction such as this, stocks that once looked overbought can become available as a discount entry into some strong fundamentals. So, with this said, here are five discounted stocks that could make a nice addition to your portfolio right now.
Conatus Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:CNAT)
First up we’ve got Conatus. Conatus has been a strange stock over the past four or five years. While the vast majority of the biotech sector gained strength in a raging bull market, Conatus has remained relatively flat (if not a little down). The company is a development stage biotech, and its financials follow a pretty standard pattern – no revenues, research funded through grants and collaboration, and regular quarterly net losses. However, there have been a number of biotech’s in a similar financial position that have recorded triple digits over the last half decade. What makes this one worth keeping an eye on is an upcoming topline data release for a trial of its lead candidate, emricasan, targeted at chronic liver disease sufferers. Data from the trial – a phase 2 with a primary endpoint of reduction in what’s called hepatic venous pressure gradient (HVPG) – should hit markets this month. If the company can meet its primary endpoint, expect some quick gains and an upside revaluation.
WESCO International Inc. (NYSE:WCC)
At the beginning of 2014, Wesco trade for a little over $90 a share. Fast forward to September 2015, and the company closed out its last session at $54 – a 40% discount in 18 months. The company has struggled on the back of weak global industrial production, and with what is happening in China, there is the potential for continued struggle over the coming quarters. However, this one is purely a value play. Markets currently value Wesco at a little over $2.35 billion. During Q2, 2015, the company generated $1.9 billion revenues. Last year, it reported more than $7 billion revenues, with $276 million net earnings. Essentially, Wesco is trading at a valuation of one quarter of its annual revenues. In addition, current assets outstrip its market valuation by about $100 million. We’d like to see some earnings strength during the final quarter of this year translate to a longer-term turnaround and a reversal in fortunes for the company. Even if it takes a little longer, however, there is definitely an opportunity to pick up stock at a discount at this price.
NetEase, Inc. (NASDAQ:NTES)
Next up we’ve got NetEase. The company is a billion dollar entertainment and communications company based in China that generates the majority of its revenues from online and mobile gaming. The company gained more than 300% over the last five years, but the recent situation in Asia has translated to a sharp correction in its valuation – approximately 30% off annual highs. Net earnings have increased year over year for the past five years, and came in at $766 million during 2014 on $1.8 billion revenues. The company has very little debt, and three quarters of $1 billion in cash and cash equivalents – rising to 4.4 billion when taking full current assets into consideration. Why is this important? Well, it suggests that the recent decline has come about purely as a result of a broader market sell-off – not through any fundamental weakness in NetEase. With a spate of new US releases scheduled for the final quarter of this year, the company could (and should) quickly reverse as we head into holiday season. Definitely one to watch, and definitely an unjustified discount.
Noble Corporation plc (NYSE:NE)
Noble is down more than 70% over the past five years, primarily as a result of the decline in oil and gas prices. However, the company generates more than $150 million each quarter in net earnings (the final quarter of 2014 excepted as a result of asset acquisition spend) and brings in an average of $800 million revenues every three months. In other words, despite weak sale prices, Noble has managed to control its operating costs to maintain a positive bottom-line – something with which the vast majority of other commodities industry entities have struggled. With the recent turnaround in the price of oil, the company looks set to finish the year strong, and could be due an upside revaluation as a result.
QuinStreet, Inc. (NASDAQ:QNST)
Finally, QuinStreet. This company provides customer acquisition services through a range of online funnels, in the form of qualified leads, clicks etc. Basically, it runs a number of websites through which people express interest in things like taking a college course, and provides the leads generated through these websites to third-party organizations. The company has had a tough few years – down nearly 80% on 2011 highs – but a look at its financials suggests we could be at the beginning of a turnaround. Gradually increasing revenues (single digit percentages each quarter) and an expansion of its margins suggests we could be in for some medium-term strength. Additionally, QuinStreet generated about $30 million more revenues during 2015 than its current market valuation, and has about one quarter of its market capitalization recorded as net assets on its balance sheet – suggesting this one could be another medium to long-term value play.