Facebook Twitter

STATISTICS MAKE COMPELLING CASE FOR LOW-GROWTH STOCKS

SHARE STATISTICS MAKE COMPELLING CASE FOR LOW-GROWTH STOCKS

Stock market fundamentalists are divided into two vociferous camps. There are those who believe in buying for the future (growth investors), and those who believe that the future is now (value investors).

Freedom Capital Management, the Boston-based mutual fund company, recently compiled some statistics that make a very compelling case for the value/low growth/low price-earnings ratio theory while punching substantial holes in the belief that high expectation is everything in the stock market.Freedom divided 1,400 stocks into five groups based on their consensus earnings growth estimates. Then Freedom tracked the performance of each group for the 13-year period from 1975 through 1987. The surprising results: Stocks with the greatest expected earnings gains actually underperformed the other groups, gaining just 16.8 percent annually on average, while stocks in the lowest expectation sector were the clear winners, gaining 24 percent. The other three groups also checked in in reverse order to their expected earnings gains.

Thus enlightened, Richard Howe, portfolio manager of Freedom Equity Value fund, devised a portfolio of 10 low-growth, low-P.E. stocks for whose low expectations he has high hopes. The good news, from a con-trarian's point of view, is that earnings for these stocks are expected to grow only about 7 percent annually on average. Even better news is that the 10 issues are so little valued by the Wall Street establishment that they currently command just an 8.7-to-1 average P.E. ratio, 27 percent lower than the average Standard & Poor's 500 issue.

"Not only do their low valuations make these stocks attractive," says Howe, "but their average dividend yield of 4.6 percent is more than half again the S&P yield of 3 percent. And as a final kicker, if their profits do increase faster than expected, their share prices would probably do likewise."

Freedom's low growth 10: Allied Signal, Amoco, Ford, Goodyear, Home Savings Bank, Kansas Power & Light, Lockheed, Phelps Dodge, United Technologies, Westinghouse.

It's now time to either rethink or forget the fundamentals of gold, says Gold Stock News (P.O. Box 471, Barrington, IL 60011).

"If there ever was a time for gold to respond to rising inflation, it's now. We've seen inflation rise from 1 percent to 5 percent-6 percent. Cost pressures are increasing in the form of higher raw material prices, tight capacity and higher salaries. Our overseas trading partners are experiencing their own inflation dilemmas. It doesn't take an economist to see what's happening. However, what seems obvious to the experts is being ignored by gold."

Gold Stock News believes, in short, that gold no longer responds to inflation as it once did, and that the mining stocks now trade like garden-variety industrial stocks, on the basis of such prosaic fundamentals as earnings, assets and management.

"What is encouraging is that even with lower gold prices, the mining companies are still generating excess cash."

For true bottom fishers, G.S.N. rates seven mining shares under $5 as buys: Canamax Resources, Dolphin Exploration, Eastmaque, Flanagan-McAdams, Glamis, Granges Exploration, Sonora Gold.

Investor's Notebook reflects the opinions of professionals. It does not endorse specific investments, and no endorsement is implied or should be inferred. For more information, contact the individual firms cited. (C) 1989 Universal Press Syndicate 4900 Main St., Kansas City, MO 64112