3 Underappreciated Stocks with Nowhere to Go But Up

Stocks going up

Stocks like V.F. Corporation (NYSE: VFC), Verizon (NYSE: VZ), and PENN Entertainment (NYSE: PENN) get beaten up for a reason, but often, the market will take things to the extreme. Stock prices and fundamentals often dislocate, resulting in significant opportunities for investors. While these companies face headwinds and hurdles, they continue to perform in a manner that garners support from the sell side.

And they are trading at rock-bottom prices. In all cases, the analysts indicate a floor in the price action and shifts within the community point to higher prices by the end of the year. 

High-Yield Verizon is on the Cusp of a Major Reversal 

Shares of Verizon have been hammered over the last few years, putting them in deep-value territory. Trading at 7.25X its earnings estimate, the stock yields more than 7.5%, and the payment is reliable. Among the headwinds that have pushed the market to its lows are fears of slowing, margin concerns, competition, and the widespread use of lead in telephone cables. The headwinds are not expected to go away, but the take from the analyst community is that this stock is incredibly oversold. 

Fourteen analysts rate this stock with a Consensus of Hold, so the sentiment is reasonably strong. The consensus target is 34% above the current price action and has steadied after a long downtrend, but the more significant figure is the low price target. The low price target is $36, 5% above the recent action. A move within the analysis range would bring the market back above a critical support level and open the door to a rebound.

The most recent analyst activity is an upgrade to Buy from Hold from Citigroup. They cite industry stabilization and improving free cash flow as a driver of debt reduction and improving dividend health. The firm described the dividend yield as “elevated.” If more analysts make the shift, the rebound in Verizon shares could easily reach double-digits before the year's end and continue higher well into 2024. 

Verizon Stock chart

V.F. Corporation is all About the Vans Turnaround 

V.F. Corporation shares are down on sluggish sales in its primary segment and the distribution cut earlier this year. The distribution cut was primarily expected but resulted in downward pressure on the stock price compounded by weaker-than-expected results. The most recent report provided guidance aligned with the Marketbeat.com consensus expectation and put a bottom in the price action. That bottom is echoed by the analysts who see the stock trading at or near rock bottom

VFC’s low price target is about 7.5% below the current action but consistent with the recent low. The $18 target is the only target significantly below the present action, and most fresh targets see the stock moving up at least 10% to 15%. That 10% to 15% is on top of the still-high 6% dividend yield, which is more than covered by current cash flow and earnings.  

The catalyst that will get this stock moving higher is normalization within the Vans segment. Oversupply and inventory control efforts resulting from the supply chain issues in 2021 and 2022 led to double-digit revenue declines this year. More news on that issue is expected when Q3 results are released in late October. 

VFC stock chart

PENN Entertainment is a Short-Squeeze Candidate 

PENN Entertainment doesn’t pay dividends but is a short-squeeze candidate. The stock was more than 12% short at the start of September, and there are catalysts. The company recently announced a deal with ESPN and Disney to rebrand its digital sportsbook. The ESPN-branded gambling site will compete better against DraftKings, which should drive revenue and earnings growth. 

The consensus price target is trending lower than last year, but the downtrend is slowing. Regardless, the low price target is still 20% above the current action, suggesting a significant rebound is at hand. The analysts have been lowering their targets for Q3 despite the Q2 strength, which has the bar low; the company will report in early November and may spark a rally if 1 hasn’t developed before then. 

Penn stock chart

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