Sometimes the value is right there in front of you and you don't even know it. Case in point: Check the change in your pocket sometime. The quest used to be for silver coins or rare coins, but now even ordinary pennies are a store of value.
Pennies minted prior to 1983 were comprised of 95% copper and 5% zinc, and based on Thursday's price for those metals are worth 2.644 cents each. That's an instant 164% return, which would be compelling if you could source enough of them. I still find them routinely in my change, but the quest likely won't make you rich. Plus, melting them is illegal, but there is a fairly active collector market for them if you can find enough.
Finding value in the markets these days is harder than finding copper pennies, but I continue to turn over rocks, looking for something interesting. Courtesy of my double-net screen, which identifies stocks trading at between 1 and 2 times net current asset value (NCAV), I've identified a couple new candidates for review.
TrueCar (TRUE) , which operates the new and used car website of the same name, currently trades at 1.78x NCAV. TrueCar ended its latest quarter with $273 million, or $2.65 a share, in cash and no debt. That's a relatively considerable amount of cash given Thursday's $4.71 close. TrueCar is expected to be just modestly profitable next year, with consensus estimates calling for earnings per share of three cents, which implies a forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 147. Nine analysts currently cover TRUE, which is quite remarkable given the size of the company.
Intervac (IVAC) , which provides vacuum deposition equipment and digital night vision products, currently trades at 1.9x net current asset value. Intervac ended its latest quarter with $50 million, or $2.10 per share, in cash and investments and no debt. IVAC trades at about 17.5x next year's consensus earnings estimates, with just two analysts covering it.
It's time to do a deeper dive on each to see if they are investment-worthy. That's one thing I'll be doing this weekend.
If you want to have some fun this weekend, go to your local bank, ask them for $10 in pennies, and if they don't give you any trouble for such a request (the way my bank has in the past), you've got a good bank. Unwrap those pennies and see how many you get that are of the pre-1983 variety.