10 best stocks for 2011 (3)
作者: Jon Birger    时间: 2010年12月28日    来源: 财富中文网
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East West Bancorp

Market cap: $2.6 billion

2009 Revenue: $880 million

P/E ratio: 12.9

Dividend yield: 0.2%

Ticker: EWBC

    Like every other regional bank, East West Bancorp was hammered by the financial crisis. But unlike many competitors, East West owned up early to its problem loans. The Pasadena-based commercial bank raised $200 million and set aside $140 million in loan-loss provisions during the first half of 2008 -- before the bottom fell out of the credit markets.

    That paid off, allowing East West to acquire the assets of two failed rivals from the FDIC at fire-sale prices. The FDIC even agreed to cover more than 80% of losses on the acquired loans and real estate. "I don't think the FDIC would have looked as favorably on the transactions if East West didn't already have its own portfolio in order," says George Henning, manager of the Pacific Advisors Small Cap Fund, which counts East West as a top-five holding.

    The bank's results are heading in the right direction. East West recorded third-quarter profits of 27¢ a share vs. a 91¢ loss in the third quarter of '09. Analysts expect next year's earnings to climb 51%, above the 11% growth projected for East West's peer group. The bank is better capitalized than its competitors, according to a Sterne Agee report, and its percentage of nonperforming loans is lower -- 3.1% vs. 5.1%. Despite all this, East West's stock trades at 12.9 times projected 2011 earnings, a significant discount to the 19 P/E of its peers.

    It's not just the numbers that look good. East West's demographics are attractive too. With the two FDIC transactions, East West is now believed to be the largest Chinese-American-focused bank in the country. (In addition to its 131 branches in the U.S., the bank also has three branches in China.) According to a recent Ariel/Hewitt study, Asian Americans boast a savings rate 19% higher than the national average. The median household income among Asian Americans is $65,469, vs. $49,777 for the entire U.S., and the number of Asian-owned businesses in the U.S. is growing at twice the national rate.

    That helps explain why East West boasts a return on equity four times higher than the median regional bank, and why its shares seem likely to appreciate.

Royal Caribbean

Market cap: $8.7 billion

2009 Revenue: $5.9 billion

P/E ratio: 12.6

Dividend yield: N.A.

Ticker: RCL

    After a stormy period, the sailing has lately been -- dare we say it? -- smooth for Royal Caribbean. The cruise company was pounded by the Great Recession, with earnings dipping from $2.68 to 75¢ per share between 2008 and 2009. Now leisure spending is recovering, and Royal Caribbean is benefiting from the fact that cruises have always cost less than comparable land vacations. The company's earnings are on pace to rise 168% in 2010. By comparison, operating earnings at Disney's theme parks and resorts fell 7% during Walt Disney Co.'s fiscal year that ended Oct. 2.

    The recovery in vacation spending has been stronger in Europe than in the U.S., but that hasn't been a hindrance for Royal. "A hotel builder makes a big capital commitment and hopes that the geography works. If it doesn't, they're in big trouble," says Ken Kuhrt, an analyst and fund manager at Ariel Investments, which owns 2.5 million RCL shares. "Royal Caribbean simply comes up with new itineraries and moves its assets to wherever they're going to get the greatest return." By 2012, 50% of the cruise line's passengers will be international, according to William Blair analyst Sharon Zackfia, up from 25% five years ago.

    Based on current bookings and the early success of its new Oasis of the Seas cruise ship (and her just-launched sister, Allure of the Seas), Royal Caribbean has said it expects 2011 earnings to surpass its previous record of $3.26 a share, which would mean profit growth next year of at least 62%. The two new ships boast 5,400 rooms -- vs. 3,600 for rival Carnival's biggest vessel -- as well as zip lines, water parks, and 3-D movie theaters. "People are willing to pay a premium to be on these new ships," says Kuhrt. "They're assets nobody else has -- it would take three years if somebody wanted to build a comparable ship."

    The stock, now $40 a share, is trading at a modest 13 times 2011 earnings, but Kuhrt thinks it deserves a P/E closer to 17, which was Royal Caribbean's average valuation from 1997 to 2007. That translates to a stock price of $54 -- just the sort of gain that could fund a pleasant holiday.


Market cap: $750 million

2009 Revenue: $116 million

P/E ratio: 11.7

Dividend yield: N.A.

Ticker: ENTR

    Every stock portfolio needs one swing-for-the-fences bet on the latest gotta-have-it gadget or technology. San Diego-based Entropic is our pick. The company makes semiconductor chipsets that operate a home-networking system known as MoCa. That's the technology behind the multiroom DVR players -- marketed ad nauseam by DirecTV and Verizon FiOS -- that allow you to record a TV show in one room and then watch it in another.

    DirecTV and FiOS already install MoCa in their new HD set-top boxes, and the three leading cable companies -- Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Cox Communications -- have announced plans to add Entropic chipsets to theirs in 2011. If multiroom DVR capability does become standard on new HD set-top boxes -- and that's where the market seems headed -- the payoff for Entropic would be enormous. It currently controls 85% of the MoCa market. It can even afford to cede some share to Broadcom, as analysts anticipate it will, since the overall market for MoCa chipsets is expected to grow at a 35% to 40% annual rate over the next three years.

    Chris Retzler, manager of the Needham Small Cap Growth Fund, sees another opportunity. He envisions a day in which Entropic chipsets are built into TVs, home stereos, game consoles, and Blu-ray players too, allowing for easy sharing of audio and video content across home networks. (In other words, if the kids are playing Wii downstairs on the TV that is connected to your Blu-ray player, you could still pop in a movie and watch it on the upstairs TV.) That could make Entropic a takeover target. "The opportunity for Entropic is enormous," says Retzler, whose fund owns 100,000 shares of Entropic.

    Analysts expect 43% earnings growth from Entropic next year. Normally you'd have to pay a hefty premium for a tech stock with this kind of growth potential, but Entropic is priced more like a value stock: At $9 a share, it trades at 11.7 times projected 2011 earnings. Investors seem unduly alarmed by the competitive threat posed by Broadcom and perhaps by the jump in its stock price -- more than 200% this year. But we think it still has plenty of room to run.


Market cap: $284 billion

2009 Revenue: $43 billion

P/E ratio: 15.7

Dividend yield: N.A.

Ticker: AAPL

    At $315 a share and up 47% for the year, Apple looks expensive. We thought so when we wrote about it in September. But after poring over Apple's recent financials, we're now convinced it's cheaper than it appears and that sales of the already hot iPhone and the iPad are set to go stratospheric. A concern we raised was Apple's vulnerability to a key misstep -- such as the iPhone 4 antenna problem that grabbed headlines this past summer. Yet during the July-to-September quarter, iPhone sales thrashed expectations, skyrocketing 91% vs. the same period last year.

    What's astounding is that Apple did it with one hand tied behind its back. The iPhone isn't yet sold via the dominant wireless carriers in the U.S., China, Japan, and South Korea. Once Apple sheds exclusivity deals such as AT&T's in the U.S., iPhone sales should get a huge boost. Industrywide, smartphone sales increased 96% last quarter, according to Gartner Research. Apple's market share doubled in Canada and France once the top carriers started selling the iPhone.

    Then there's the iPad. Apple sold 3.3 million of the tablet computers in its first three months, surpassing the debuts of both its own iPhone and the netbook category. Don't bet on a sophomore slump: Sales of iPhones and netbooks rose 246% and 155%, respectively, in their second year, says Bernstein Research.

    Analysts predict Apple will earn $19.85 a share in the 2011 calendar year (up from $16.73 in 2010), which translates to a price/earnings ratio of 15.7. Sure, this is higher than the S&P 500's 13 P/E, but Apple's earnings have increased an average of 45% over the past three years, while the S&P's earnings have declined 4% per year.

    Moreover, Apple's P/E is arguably inflated. Its free cash flow -- money actually flowing into company coffers -- is 14% higher than its reported net income, notes Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi. Apple has over-reserved for U.S. taxes on foreign profits, but, according to Sacconaghi, the company is moving to reduce that, which will have the effect of boosting Apple's reported earnings and reducing its P/E. "The stock is definitely not overpriced," says Sacconaghi, "especially not for a company so well positioned in such fast-growing markets."

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