investing

5 Bargain Stock Picks for Value Investors

Our timely choices are poised to prosper in today's market.

With even Fed chairman Janet Yellen talking about stock prices as "quite high," investors need to be choosy about where to invest now. These five companies offer good value and upside promise. (Data and stock prices as of May 1.)

Affiliated Managers Group (symbol AMG, $226).

AMG delivers consistent earnings growth by acquiring majority stakes in investment managers that advise mutual funds, institutions and wealthy individuals. Through its affiliates, including Yacktman Asset Management and Tweedy, Browne Co., AMG has nearly $640 billion under management. Analysts on average see profits surging 20% this year and 14% in 2016.

Google (GOOGL, $551). Shares of the dominant Internet search company have been sluggish the past year, partially because of antitrust hurdles in Europe and concerns about moderating growth. But a new chief financial officer is expected to plump profit margins and return the company to a 15%-per-year earnings-growth trajectory. Google may be “the most undervalued name in the stock market today,” says Matt Berler, of Osterweis Capital Management.

McDonald’s (MCD, $98). Hurt by strong competition, changing consumer tastes and, more recently, a strong dollar, McDonald’s earnings have been under pressure the past few years, and the stock is 4% below where it traded in early 2012. But hamburgers haven’t gone out of style, says Joseph Zock, of Tocqueville Asset Management, and McDonald’s remains a dominant player run by a new CEO with a comeback plan. Plus, the stock yields 3.5%.

TRI Pointe Homes (TPH, $14). TRI Pointe is the minnow that swallowed the whale. Backed by Starwood Capital, TRI Pointe went public in 2013 and merged last year with the homebuilding unit of forest products giant Weyerhaeuser. TRI Pointe, which operates in eight states, should benefit from a stronger housing market. Analysts see earnings doubling this year.

VF Corp. (VFC, $72). The apparel giant has grown by acquiring leading apparel and footwear brands, including The North Face and Timberland. VF’s functional lifestyle clothing appeals to trail hikers and urban walkers alike, says Mark Dawson, chief investment officer of Rainier Investment Management. International expansion and highly profitable Internet sales are growth areas. VF has raised its dividend at an annual rate of 17% over the past decade.

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