Value Plays Among Asset Managers

06/20/2014 7:00 am EST

Focus: STOCKS

Roy Ward

Chief Analyst, Cabot Benjamin Graham Value Investor

My latest featured report looks at stocks that are undervalued despite the stock market's lofty heights. Included are two ideas in the investment management business, explains J. Royden Ward, editor of Cabot Benjamin Graham Value Investor.

Eaton Vance (EV) creates, markets, and manages mutual funds, and provides investment management services to wealthy individuals and institutions.

Eaton Vance has completed several strategic acquisitions that broaden its product line, client base, and distribution channels. Assets under management totaled $286 billion on April 30, which were up 10% versus a year earlier.

Earnings should strengthen during the next 12 months. My forecast includes a revenue increase of 6% and an EPS advance of 42% to $2.53. Earnings will receive a boost from improving fund performance, inflows, and recent acquisitions.

At 17 times latest 12-month EPS, and with an attractive dividend yield of 2.4%, EV shares are undervalued. I expect shares to reach my minimum sell price target of $48.84 within one year. Now is a great time to buy.

Fortress Investment Group (FIG) is a leading global alternative asset manager with $62.5 billion in assets under management.

Fortress invests in and manages private equity funds and hedge funds. Fortress intends to grow its existing businesses, especially its equity and fixed-income operations.

Revenues climbed 22% and EPS soared 51% during the 12 months ended March 31. Revenues will likely rise another 5% and EPS will advance 24% to $1.09 during the next 12 months. Fortress' stellar investment returns will attract additional capital during the next several quarters.

At just 7.3 times current EPS and with a low PEG ratio of 0.45, FIG shares are clearly undervalued. The dividend yield adds appeal at 4.1%. The company's PEG ratio is 0.45, which is very low.

I expect the stock to increase to my minimum sell price target of $14.78 within two years. Buy at the current price.

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