NEW YORK – Customers in the stores are always shopping the sales. So are investors on the street.
That’s particularly been the case since so many Wall Street high fliers have flunked out, and are now trading at all-time lows.
Thirty-six stocks in the S&P 500 are currently trading at below $10, making them an attractive deal for investment bargain hunters.
Many investors are looking to tech stocks for some of the best deals. Despite Monday’s setbacks, the Nasdaq was coming off its best week in more than a year, leaving some money managers cautiously optimistic that the latest gains may have some staying power.
Among the stocks on investors’ shopping lists are Nortel (NT), Qwest (Q), Lucent (LU), Corning Inc. (GLW), AT&T Wireless (AWE), Ericsson (ERICY) and Worldcom (WCOM). Some investors are also looking at Cisco (CSCO), which is not quite trading in single digits, but has recently beat earnings and revenue estimates.
But experts have a warning to anyone who might want to take the plunge into stock bargains.
"Certainly the thing you’ve got to be worried about when buying lower-priced stocks is that you might get what you pay for," said Brian Belski of US Bancorp Piper Jaffray.
Analysts believe the way to get the most value out of your buck is to look at a few important considerations. Too often, they note, stock prices don’t tell the whole story.
"The price says nothing about the stock," said Rod Smyth, of Wachovia Securities. "The way you know if something is cheap is what would you pay if you bought the whole company, how much earnings and sales would you get in the first year."
JDS Uniphase (JDSU), once trading at around $150 a share, has sunk to just $4. And while that may sound like a great deal, you would still be paying about six times what’s coming in. It would be tough to own it, too, if you had the cash: Up at about $6 billion.
Contrast with the example of a Ciena (CIEN), which like Uniphase was once in the lofty $150 range but is now around $4. In this case, however, the company’s price/earnings ratios are much lower, giving potential investors a much better bang for the buck.
"We're looking at a number of tech stocks that we see going up," said Mitch Meisler, of CE Unterberg Tobin.