Billionaire James Dinan’s High Upside Potential Picks Include Apple

Meena is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.

We primarily track 13F filings from hedge funds and other notable investors as part of our work researching investments strategies. However, we also like to see what successful fund managers’ favorite stocks are and treat this information similarly to a stock screen. We can also combined ownership by a top manager with other screens, including a low PEG ratio (which incorporates both the price-to-earnings multiple and analyst consensus earnings growth rates). Assuming the analysts are correct in their forecasts, the PEG is one way to measure a stock’s upside potential. Here are five stocks with low PEG ratios that billionaire James Dinan's York Capital Management owned at the end of December:

The fund’s top single-stock position was American International Group (NYSE: AIG), reporting a position of 8.8 million shares. Between a number of hedge funds buying AIG last quarter and those selling Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), AIG became the most popular stock among hedge funds. The insurer trades at a significant discount to the book value of its equity with a P/B ratio of 0.6. It also looks potentially cheap in earnings terms, with the current price representing a forward P/E of 9.

York cut its stake in Hertz (NYSE: HTZ) but still owned over 11 million shares of the car and industrial equipment rental company. Between the two sides of its business Hertz is quite dependent on macro activity, and as a result the stock has a beta of 2.7. 17% of the outstanding shares are held short as many market players are bearish on the company. Revenue increased 15% last quarter compared to the fourth quarter of 2011, and rosy Street expectations place Hertz at 9 times forward earnings estimates as well.

Citigroup (NYSE: C) was another of Dinan’s top picks (the 13F disclosed ownership of 2.7 million shares in the bank following a large increase in Q4) and with a five-year PEG ratio of 0.8 it qualifies as a stock with upside potential. Net income increased 25% in its most recent quarter compared to the same period in the previous year; however, we’d note that many other large banks look cheap, including some others which have been strong performers recently. Citi’s P/B ratio is 0.7, so it is being priced lower than the book value of its equity as well.

Dinan and his team were adding shares of Apple between October and December, closing 2012 with about 110,000 shares in their portfolio. Following the decline in its stock price Apple carries trailing and forward P/Es of 11 and 9, respectively. There is a significant gap between market expectations (which look to be pricing in a decline in earnings, particularly considering Apple’s large cash position) and those of the sell-side where forecasts call for significant growth. Even underperforming Street numbers, then, could be positive for the stock.

York had 2.7 million shares of Chemtura Corp (NYSE: CHMT) in its portfolio at the beginning of January. Chemtura is a $2.1 billion market cap specialty chemicals and materials company. It’s another company whose stock price is sensitive to changes in broader market indices, with a beta of 2.5. Wall Street analysts are expecting high growth over the next few years: Chemtura trades at 21 times trailing earnings, but the forward P/E is only 11.

Popular stocks Apple and AIG are at least worth checking out, in our view, as market expectations are low enough that the companies have quite a bit of upside. Citi also looks interesting, but we would want to compare it to other large banks including JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo. Chemtura and Hertz carry the risk of exposure to industrial activity, and with their “upside potential” coming from high growth expectations rather than current value levels we would be more careful when researching those companies.

This article is written by Jake Mann and edited by Meena Krishnamsetty. Meena has long positions in Apple and Citigroup. The Motley Fool recommends American International Group and Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of American International Group, Apple, Citigroup Inc , and Hertz Global Holdings and has the following options: Long Jan 2014 $25 Calls on American International Group. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. Is this post wrong? Click here. Think you can do better? Join us and write your own!

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