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In a stock market where momentum reigns, what&a;rsquo;s a bargain hunter to do?
One answer is to look for stocks that possess both value and momentum. Today I offer four such stocks for your consideration.
Let&a;rsquo;s start with &l;strong&g;Applied Materials&l;/strong&g; (AMAT), up 20% this year through February 1. The Santa Clara, California, company is a leading supplier of all sorts of equipment to the semiconductor industry.
From late 2015 to early 2018, Applied Materials&s; stock quadrupled, rising from about $15 to more than $60. Then it slid downward along with its whole industry, dropping to about $31. Today, after its January spurt, it goes for $39 or so.
No doubt, earnings in the semiconductor industry are erratic. And Applied Materials isn&a;rsquo;t immune. But it has had only one loss year (2009) in the past 15. Its return on equity last fiscal year was more than 40%, and analysts think it hit 50% in the fiscal year that ended in October.
That&a;rsquo;s spectacular profitability. And you don&a;rsquo;t pay through the nose for it, as the stock currently sells for 12 times earnings.
&l;strong&g;Bank OZK&l;/strong&g; (OZK), formerly Bank of the Ozarks, is up 18% this year. Like Applied Materials, it is recovering from a tumble last year. In 2018 it fell from above $50 to under $25. Now it&a;rsquo;s quoted at about $31.
Bank OZK is one of the leaders in construction lending, behind only its much larger peers, Wells Fargo and U.S. Bancorp. It also has specialties in marine and aviation lending.
I&a;rsquo;m drawn to it mainly by admiration for CEO George Gleason, who has achieved a return on assets above 1.5% at this bank in eight of the past ten years.
Investors panicked last year when the bank announced it would write off a couple of loans made about a decade ago. But results for the fourth quarter look healthy, which is causing many traders in this stock to switch from fear to greed.
Mining is a tough business. As the years pass, notable discoveries of precious metals, diamonds and minerals get harder to reach–buried deeper in the ground, or located in more remote areas. Yet in this harsh environment, &l;strong&g;Anglo American Plc &l;/strong&g;(NGLOY)&l;strong&g;&a;nbsp;&l;/strong&g;shares have done well.
Anglo American is a London-based company that mines coal, iron ore, diamonds (through its 85%-owned DeBeers subsidiary), gold and other minerals. After a four-year string of losses that ended in 2015, it has been increasingly profitable.
Shares in Anglo American have marched from about $2 a share in early 2016 to above $12 now. That includes a 17% gain this year through February 1.
As an extreme speculation, I like &l;strong&g;Kroton Educacional SA&l;/strong&g; (KROTY), a Brazilian education company that operates schools and offers online courses. The Brazilian economy has been plagued by poor performance and political turmoil brought on by bribery scandals.
All these things dragged down Brazilian stocks, including Kroton, in 2018. Now Brazil has a new president, Jair Bolsonaro. Critics worry that he&a;rsquo;s a demagogue; supporters like his pro-business stance compared to his predecessors.
Kroton has shot up 42% this year, to $3.11 as of February 1. Its revenue has grown at a 30% annual clip for the past five years, and book value (corporate net worth) has grown even faster.
I wouldn&a;rsquo;t put much of your capital here, but it&a;rsquo;s an interesting flyer.
This is the 34&l;sup&g;th&l;/sup&g; column I&a;rsquo;ve written about stocks that possess both value and momentum. One-year returns can be calculated for 32 of them. The average one-year return has been 13.4%, which compares favorably to 9.1% for the Standard &a;amp; Poor&a;rsquo;s 500 Index over the same 31 periods.
My picks in this series have been profitable 23 times out of 32, and have beaten the S&a;amp;P 17 times. In the past year they did neither. Every stock I picked on February 5, 2018 declined, with the biggest loss a 79% plunge in &l;strong&g;Jupai Holdings Ltd &l;/strong&g;(JP), a Chinese investment company. Overall my selections dropped 31.2% through February 1, 2019, while the S&a;amp;P 500 managed a 4.2% advance.
My other recommendations–&l;strong&g;Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV&l;/strong&g; (FCAU), &l;strong&g;Lincoln National&l;/strong&g; (LNC), &l;strong&g;Lyondell Basell Industries NV&l;/strong&g; (LYB) and &l;strong&g;Piper Jaffray Companies&l;/strong&g; (PJC)–fell 15% to 23%.
Bear in mind that my column recommendations are theoretical and don&a;rsquo;t reflect actual trades, trading costs or taxes. Their results shouldn&a;rsquo;t be confused with the performance of portfolios I manage for clients. And past performance doesn&a;rsquo;t predict future results.
&l;em&g;Disclosure: I own Bank OZK shares personally and for most of my clients.&l;/em&g;
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&l;em&g;John Dorfman is chairman of Dorfman Value Investments LLC and a syndicated columnist. His firm or clients may own or trade securities discussed in this column. He can be reached at &l;a href=&q;mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org&q; target=&q;_blank&q;&g;email@example.com&l;/a&g;. &l;/em&g;&l;/p&g;