Buying good stocks when they are on sale helps lower your average cost per share and increases the dividend yield you get on the initial investment.
As we have seen recently with a number of names in the energy sector, chasing a falling knife can be risky, but there are stocks out there that have rock-solid balance sheets, strong long-term stories, and are available at attractive prices.
Agrium supplies all the stuff that farmers need to get as much production as possible out of a limited amount of land. The stock is down 13% in the past two months but the sell-off has probably been overdone.
The company’s wholesale division supplies nitrogen, potash, and phosphate to global markets. Nitrogen profits are directly affected by the price of natural gas because the fossil fuel is the prime input for the crop nutrient’s production.
Natural gas prices are much lower now than they were last year and that should help drive margins higher. Agrium also just completed the tie-in of a large expansion at its Vanscoy potash facility, adding as much as one million tonnes of production.
Potash demand hit a record last year, but prices are not increasing very quickly due to a market-share battle that is brewing among international suppliers. Agrium is also under some pressure because North American farm incomes are expected to be low in 2015. This could impact the company’s retail sales.
These events are probably short term in nature and investors should look beyond them when evaluating the stock. Agrium should see free cash flow increase significantly in the coming years, and the company recently said it plans to increase the percentage of free cash flow it pays out to investors.
Agrium currently trades at just 11 times forward earnings and pays a dividend of US$0.78 per share that yields about 3%.
Shaw is in the middle of a restructuring program as it adjusts to changes in the Canadian media landscape.
The company recently missed analyst expectations in its latest quarterly earnings, delivering net income of 34 cents per share instead of the 39 cents anticipated by analysts. Charges related to severance payments had the largest impact.
Adjusted operating income for the quarter was actually up 5.5% once the restructuring costs are stripped out.
The stock has dropped nearly 12% since the beginning of the year and some of the weakness is tied to a CRTC announcement that will affect cable TV services in 2016.
Canadians have long complained that they are forced to pay for channels they never watch. Beginning next March TV fans will have the option to pick and pay for the content they want over and above a basic $25 per month package.
Shaw owns a large portfolio of specialty channels as well as the Global Television network, and investors are concerned the company might be in for some lean times.
I think the market is underestimating the company’s overall strength. Shaw is making a big push into business services. In the latest quarter the company’s business network segment delivered a 10% gain in year-over-year operating income, and the new business infrastructure division added $25 million in quarterly revenue, compared with nil from the previous year.
The cable TV business is far from dead and most subscribers will be willing to pay for the channels they regularly watch. Shaw owns some of the country’s most popular TV content, including HGTV Canada, Food Network Canada, Showcase, and the National Geographic Channel.
The company pays an annualized dividend of $1.19 per share that yields about 4.2%.
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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 Andrew Walker has no position in any stocks mentioned. Agrium Inc. is a recommendation of Stock Advisor Canada.