Metals, Miners and Tech Stocks Are Best Values in Today’s Markets

Tuesday, 11 Sep 2012 07:58 AM

By Andrew Packer

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In investing, go where the bargains are. With markets at their highest levels since before the 2008 crash, with gas prices perking back up to $4 a gallon and with gold surging back over $1,700 an ounce, the bargains are certainly tough to find.

In my mind, three areas stand out as bargains right now: base metals, gold miners and tech stocks.

Let’s start with base metals. They’ve been slammed. And rightly so. Fears of a global economic slowdown hit the cyclical industry hard. Many shares of the biggest gold miners are substantially off their 52-week highs, and in many places trade closer to their 52-week lows.

Editor's Note: You Owe It to Yourself to Know What Obama and Bernanke Are Hiding From Americans

But thanks to the selloff, shares have gotten cheap. How cheap? Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX), which is probably the best-of-breed metals company, trades at 12 times earnings. It sports a dividend yield of 3.2 percent. This copper powerhouse has the strength to survive and thrive, even if a global slowdown cools metal prices further.

Outside the best-of-breed, Cliffs Natural Resources (CLF), an iron producer, trades at a mouthwatering four times earnings and has a dividend yield of over 6 percent! Of course, that’s justified by the notion that China, which accounts for 25 percent of the company’s output, faces a huge slowdown in growth.

Gold-mining stocks also offer a bargain here. Not only are they cheap, but gold seems to have already started rallying on the idea that central bankers will continue to pursue easy-money policies that are good for bullion.

Among the gold miners, Goldcorp (GG) pays a monthly dividend and is well off its 52-week highs. Barrick Gold (ABX) is another top player in the industry that pays a dividend (albeit quarterly), and is priced at under 10 times earnings — a big discount to the stock market at large.

On Friday, Intel (INTC) committed one of Wall Street’s few cardinal sins: It lowered its growth outlook, which sent shares sharply down. Personally, I think they make a great buy here. The stock trades at 10 times earnings, sports a yield of 3.7 percent and, more importantly, owns the must-have chip industry. I wouldn’t value the firm as a fast-growing tech stock, but more as a utility. Even with that outlook, there’s a lot to like here.

On the tech front, I’m also a fan of cash-rich dividend grower Cisco (CSCO). Much like Intel dominates the chip market, Cisco makes the routers that run networks and the Internet. Also like Intel, Cisco trades at a big discount to the overall stock market and should be picked up on weakness here.

Editor's Note: You Owe It to Yourself to Know What Obama and Bernanke Are Hiding From Americans

Bottom line: There are a few bargains out there, with some big concentrations in mining, metals and technology. The top companies of these industries also have the delightful habit of paying shareholders to wait for better prices.

Get out of overpriced stocks and rotate into better values that offer some income on the side.

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