Noble and Atwood Oceanics are worth a serious look

In my last commentary, I noted that the market seems to be nearing valuations that in my opinion are excessive. While it is hard to complain about rising stock prices, it also makes finding value buys considerably more difficult.

One area where there seems to be some reasonable prices in the market is within the oil and gas drilling industry. While the overall energy sector doesn’t appear attractive based on current valuations, the oil and drilling stocks have lagged the broader market since 2011 and continue to do so this year.

Within this industry, the two stocks that fit my purchasing profile best are Noble Corp (NE) and Atwood Oceanics (ATW). True, both happen to be trading near 52 week lows as of mid-August, which alone isn’t an indication of a good buy. However, the fundamentals suggest these low prices may provide a strong buying opportunity in my opinion.

Both companies have solid balance sheets and are trading well below their historical average valuations. There is certainly the potential that earnings will be put under pressure in the future (which seems to be the general consensus of the market), but these low prices seem to already reflect the worst case scenario.

If the earnings and book values of Noble and Atwood Oceanics are maintained or continue to grow as they have in the past, this will prove to be a great buying opportunity in my view. Relative to historical averages, both of these stocks appear to be 30-40% undervalued in my opinion.

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DISCLAIMER: The investments discussed are held in client accounts as of July 31, 2013. These investments may or may not be currently held in client accounts. The reader should not assume that any investments identified were or will be profitable or that any investment recommendations or investment decisions we make in the future will be profitable. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.