Stocks quoted in this article:
In 1935, during the depths of the Great Depression, Gerald Loeb penned his now famous book The Battle for Investment Survival. This book sold over 200,000 copies during the Depression.
In contrast to the well-known "buy-and-hold" investment style, Loeb promoted an active management style, and was weary of holding stocks for the long term. Loeb's experiences during the Depression led him to a contrarian investment philosophy, and at one time Forbes magazine labeled Loeb "the most quoted man on Wall Street."
Based upon this premise, I explore a concept Loeb introduced, which is oftentimes large capitalization, low-priced shares can represent a "value trap" to investors. One in which the investing public view these companies as cheap due to their low-share price, regardless of the massive market capitalizations they carry with them.
In finance, the law of large numbers works against these companies. For instance, once a plateau is reached, the probability of sustaining adequate growth in sales and earnings diminishes. To maintain a constant or increasing percentage of growth, new markets must be either discovered or created, which unfortunately is not that easy in today's fear-based global economy.
In the table below, I highlight 20 U.S. companies whose market capitalization is greater than $20 billion, and their share price is below $20.
Interestingly enough, 19 of the 20 tickers below, or 95%, are down year-to-date. For reference, the S&P 500 Index (SPX) was up 8% entering today.
I included the dividend yield of each ticker as a "valuation" measure. I know for me at least, if I am a shareholder of these companies and can't achieve any growth via capital appreciation, I would like to get paid in the form of dividend yield.