It’s been hard filtering out the news from the noise in 2019. After the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite recently hit all-time highs and rallying about 20% on average since the end of 2018, suddenly more fears have crept into the financial markets and the economy now that the United States and China have traded retaliatory tariffs. And the global growth already was questionable before this trade war broke out. Now investors have to think long and hard about how they want their assets positioned ahead after a 10-year mega-bull market.
One area that investors frequently look to for safety is the so-called value stocks. These companies generally are valued at substantial discounts to the market as a whole, or maybe they are just valued cheaper than their sector peers. Some are cheap based on their share price multiple against earnings, cash flow, EBITDA or even their book value.
One thing that is hard to argue is that a true value stock might not offer real “value” if the underlying company does not or cannot pay a dividend. It’s also hard to use the term “value” if a company’s earnings or core business may be at risk of drying up in a very short time.
24/7 Wall St. has screened the entire S&P 500 for dividend-paying stocks that are trading at less than 10 times expected earnings per share. That implies that the shares are valued at more than a 40% discount to the 17.5 times estimated S&P 500 EPS figure as a whole, as well as about two-thirds the value of a historic 15 times expected earnings during normal times.
Before thinking that value stocks are always “cheap stocks,” note that investors may not want to pay a market multiple for a struggling company for many reasons. Maybe