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5 Speculative and Overvalued Companies to Avoid – February 2015

5The market is filled with companies with a lot of hype which are touted as great investments, but Benjamin Graham taught that intelligent investors must look past the hype and avoid speculating about a company’s future.  By using the ModernGraham Valuation Model, I’ve selected five of the most overvalued companies reviewed by ModernGraham. Each company has been determined to not be suitable for either the Defensive Investor or the Enterprising Investor according to the ModernGraham approach. This is a sample of one screen that is included in ModernGraham Stocks & Screens, which is available for premium subscribers and is a great resource for selecting better opportunities.  Defensive Investors are defined as investors who are not able or willing to do substantial research into individual investments, and therefore need to select only the companies that present the least amount of risk. Enterprising Investors, on the other hand, are able to do substantial research and can select companies that present a moderate (though still low) amount of risk. Each company suitable for the Defensive Investor is also suitable for Enterprising Investors.

AT&T Inc. (T)

ATTAT&T Inc. is not suitable for the Enterprising Investor or for the Defensive Investor.  The Defensive Investor is concerned by the low current ratio and the insufficient earnings stability over the last ten years.  The Enterprising Investor is concerned by the level of debt relative to the current assets and the lack of earnings growth over the last five years.  As a result, value investors following the ModernGraham approach based on Benjamin Graham’s methods should explore other opportunities at this time.  From a valuation side of things, the company appears to be overvalued after seeing its EPSmg (normalized earnings) drop from $2.48 in 2010 to $1.86 for 2014.  This level of demonstrated growth does not support the market’s implied estimate of 5.04% earnings growth and leads the ModernGraham valuation model, based on Benjamin Graham’s formula, to return an estimate of intrinsic value below the price.  (See the full valuation)

Dominion Resources Inc. (D)

500px-Dominion_logo.svgDominion Resources Inc. is not suitable for the Enterprising Investor or for the Defensive Investor.  The Defensive Investor is concerned by the low current ratio, insufficient earnings growth over the last ten years, as well as the high PEmg and PB ratios.  The Enterprising Investor is concerned by the level of debt relative to the current assets along with the lack of earnings growth over the last five years.  As a result, value investors following the ModernGraham approach based on Benjamin Graham’s methods should explore other opportunities at this time.  From a valuation side of things, the company appears to be overvalued after seeing its EPSmg (normalized earnings) drop from $3.45 in 2010 to only an estimated $2.74 for 2014.  This level of demonstrated growth does not support the market’s implied estimate of 9.47% earnings growth and leads the ModernGraham valuation model, based on Benjamin Graham’s formula, to return an estimate of intrinsic value below the price.  (See the full valuation)

Morgan Stanley (MS)

220px-Morgan_Stanley_Logo_1.svgMorgan Stanley is not suitable for either the Defensive Investor or the Enterprising Investor.  The Defensive Investor is concerned by the lack of earnings stability or growth over the last ten years along with the high PEmg ratio.  The Enterprising Investor is concerned by the lack of earnings growth over the last five years  As a result, all value investors following the ModernGraham approach based on Benjamin Graham’s methods should explore other opportunities at this time.  As for a valuation, the company appears overvalued after seeing its EPSmg (normalized earnings) drop from $1.83 in 2010 to $1.69 for 2014.  This level of demonstrated growth does not support the market’s implied estimate of 5.92% earnings growth and leads the ModernGraham valuation model, which is based on Benjamin Graham’s formula, to return an estimate of intrinsic value above the market price.  (See the full valuation)

Campbell Soup Company (CPB)

220px-Campbell_Soup_Company_logo.svgCampbell Soup Company is not suitable for either the Defensive Investor or the Enterprising Investor.  The Defensive Investor is concerned with the low current ratio, insufficient earnings growth over the last ten years, and the high PEmg and PB ratios.  The Enterprising Investor is concerned with the level of debt relative to the current assets along with the lack of earnings growth over the last five years.  As a result, value investors following the ModernGraham approach based on Benjamin Graham’s methods should explore other opportunities.  As for a valuation, the company appears to be overvalued after seeing its EPSmg (normalized earnings) drop from $2.41 in 2011 to an estimated $2.27 for 2015.  This level of growth does not support the market’s implied estimate of 6.06% growth, leading the ModernGraham valuation model, based on Benjamin Graham’s formula, to return an estimate of intrinsic value well below the price.  (See the full valuation)

Kellogg Company (K)

500px-Kellogg's.svgKellogg Company is not suitable for the Enterprising Investor or for the Defensive Investor.  The Defensive Investor is concerned by the low current ratio, insufficient earnings growth over the last ten years, as well as the high PEmg and PB ratios.  The Enterprising Investor is concerned by the level of debt relative to the current assets along with the lack of earnings growth over the last five years.  As a result, value investors following the ModernGraham approach based on Benjamin Graham’s methods should explore other opportunities at this time.  From a valuation side of things, the company appears to be overvalued after seeing its EPSmg (normalized earnings) drop from $3.11 in 2010 to only $2.98 for 2014.  This level of demonstrated growth does not support the market’s implied estimate of 6.36% earnings growth and leads the ModernGraham valuation model, based on Benjamin Graham’s formula, to return an estimate of intrinsic value below the price.  (See the full valuation)

What do you think?  Are these companies a bad opportunity for Intelligent Investors?  Is there a company you like better?  Leave a comment on our Facebook page or mention @ModernGraham on Twitter to discuss.

Disclaimer:  The author did not hold a position in any company mentioned in this article at the time of publication and had no intention of changing those holdings within the next 72 hours.  Logos are taken from either the company page or Wikipedia for purposes of identifying the company only; ModernGraham has no affiliation with the companies.

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