Why are these big dividend companies trading at bargain basement prices?
Everyone loves a bargain, especially when it comes to investing in great companies that the market has perhaps wrongly sold-off. So, if you're like me and you see a company with five straight years of double-digit earnings per share growth trading at a 9.6 forward P/E and offering a 5.3% yielding dividend you do a double take.
Now, when I tell you that company in question is easyJet (LSE: EZJ) the market's current reticence makes more sense. But does that mean the shares aren't a bargain?
The bad news is that the market sell-off isn't without cause. The UK's favourite budget airline did slip into a £23m operating loss in the first six months of the year. Add in the psychological effects of Brexit and a weaker pound on British tourists, terrorism fears on the Continent and an industry-wide increase in supply and the shares' -40% performance in 2016 makes considerable sense.
However, there are a few things that still earn easyJet a place on my medium-term watchlist. First, the airline does have market-leading share in the critically important UK market.
Second, the company's balance sheet is in rude health with £296m net cash at the end of March and net debt of only £474m when including aircraft leases. Compared to 2015 operating profits of £688m, this level of leverage is perfectly acceptable.
Third, shareholder returns should be quite safe as analyst consensus forecasts call for earnings to cover dividends a full 2 times over this year.
All of this points to a healthy company in what we shouldn't forget is a very cyclical industry. I wouldn't pull the trigger yet as oversupply is a real problem and fares are likely to fall across the board in the coming quarters. But easyJet remains a quality company that could be worth a closer look if the sector continues to take a beating.
Wait and see?
Headline numbers are equally intriguing for London homebuilder Telford Homes (LSE: TEF). Shares are currently offering a 4.7% yield while trading at a mere 8.3 times forward earnings, figures that are sure to attract any value investor.
The answer to why shares of Telford are down 22% year-to-date lies with fears that Brexit will lead to a cooldown in London's red hot property market. Short term figures suggest this is the case in ritzy areas of Central London for high-end flats and homes. The good news for Telford shareholders is that management has long concentrated on London's outer postcodes where prices are less eye-popping and demand more sustainable.
Demand for Telford's developments is apparent in its success in pre-booking sales representing roughly 50% of revenue over each of the next three years, which offers the company significant downside protection.
The company's balance sheet is also a positive as the company has only drawn down £40m of its £180m credit line and has £20m in cash on hand, leaving plenty of room for acquiring further properties.
Telford shares may look like a bargain as the company continues to increase revenue and profits at a double-digit clip. But investors need to remember that housing, even in London, is cyclical and any shock from a hard Brexit could be catastrophic. Telford is a quality company but I would be waiting until we have a clearer picture of what Brexit will look like before contemplating beginning a position.
Telford's earnings covering dividends 2.75 times over is impressive, but it's still less cover than can be found at the Motley Fool's Top Income Share.
This company might be conservative with its dividend cover, but skyrocketing earnings haven't stopped it from increasing dividends over 400% in the past four years alone.
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Ian Pierce has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.