3 Stocks Trading at 52-Week Lows: Is Now the Time to Buy?

MBAC Fertilizer, PWC Capital, and Tesla Exploration have hit 52-week lows. Could this be the perfect time to invest?

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1. MBAC Fertilizer

Just because the FIFA World Cup is going on doesn’t mean its all fun and games down in South America. Take for example MBAC Fertilizer (TSX: MBC), which hit a new 52-week low of $0.37 on July 2. The company is based in Canada but all of its phosphate fertilizer production and the bulk of its sales are located in Brazil.

A significant factor that makes Brazil appealing is the fact that over two-thirds of the fertilizer used in the country each year is imported. This gives MBAC Fertilizer the advantage of mining its phosphate locally, as only 50% of utilized phosphate is locally sourced.

The stock has seen brighter days, trading at a 52-week high of $2.48 back in August 2013. Since then, the company has faced cost overruns at its flagship production facility earlier this year. This, combined with its troubling debt of U.S.$270 million, has many analysts growing concerned over the short-term benefits of the company. Net income in the past quarter was only U.S.$6 million, or $0.04 per share, up from U.S.$2.5 million, or $0.02 per share, during the same period last year.

Normally at this point in my spiel I state the company’s revenue, but MBAC Fertilizer did not include its sales numbers in its last quarterly report. Analysts have placed an average price target of $1.26 with an outperform rating, but this is down from $3.00 back in April. Cash will be tight for the company as it has announced it will pay down U.S.$185 million of its debt over the next four years.

2. PWC Capital

Lightweight investment company PWC Capital (TSX: PWC) has reached a new 52-week low of $0.60 on July 4, down from its 52-week high of $1.70. The company is probably best known for its 90% controlling interest in Pacific & Western Bank of Canada (TSX: PWB), which makes up the bulk of its revenue.

The stock has been hurt by continued quarters of net losses; in Q2 2014 PWC Capital posted a net loss of $1.8 million, or $0.06 per share, a slight improvement over a net loss of $2.2 million, or $0.07 per share, in Q1 2014. When we look at Q1 and Q2 combined the company is sitting on a net loss of $4 million, worse than a net loss of $3.7 million during the first two quarters of 2013.

The bank division itself has managed to post revenue of $7.5 million, up from $6.5 million, and a net income of $1.2 million, up from a Q2 2013 net loss of $39,000. These are small numbers when you consider the competition the bank is facing. In total it only possesses $1.1 million worth of loans and $1.1 million in deposits.

3. Tesla Exploration

Last but not least is seismic contractor Tesla Exploration (TSX: TXL), which triggered the Richter scale when it hit a new 52-week low of $2.20. The company specializes in geophysical and related services in the onshore and offshore oil regions of Canada, the U.S., Trinidad, and Colombia.

The company posted its first-quarter results back in May and reported revenue of $61.4 million, down from $66.3 million during the same period last year. This was followed up by net earnings of $3.1 million, or $0.14 per share, down from $10.2 million, or $0.46 per share, in Q1 2013. An interesting tidbit from the report shows that the company’s U.S. operations have been making up for the bulk of its recent losses in Canada.

Another issue that has concerned insiders is the technical issues encountered by Tesla’s newest Autonomous Underwater Vehicle. These technical issues scuttled the AUV’s operations for four months, placing revenue on hold.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium service or advisor. We’re Motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer, so we sometimes publish articles that may not be in line with recommendations, rankings or other content.

Fool contributor Cameron Conway does not own any shares in the companies mentioned.

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