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Bull of the Day: Ocean Rig (ORIG)

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One of the best uses of the Zacks Rank is to find a stock that’s turning around before the rest of the market knows about it. You can see the tide turn in earnings estimates before everyone else does by paying close attention to a stock’s rank. During rough times for a stock or a sector, you’ll often times see a stock beaten down in price along with its Zacks Rank. But when it’s turning the corner, the Zacks Rank pops up before the stock troughs.

That was the case with today’s Bull of the Day Ocean Rig . Ocean Rig is engaged in providing offshore drilling services to oil and gas exploration. The company specializes in the ultra-deepwater and harsh environment segment of the offshore drilling industry. As you can probably imagine, this is an industry that’s really taken a hit along with oil prices. When the price of a barrel of oil drops precipitously, it’s simple not cost effective for a company to spend big bucks drilling offshore for oil. Stocks in this business then wind up getting big contract cancellations and are in trouble months out.

I stumbled upon ORIG while doing a screen for stocks that had a P/E ratio below 1. You read that right, price to earnings ratio less than one. That means I was looking for a stock whose EPS was greater than the current stock price. That was exactly the case with ORIG. If you look at estimates for the current year, our Zacks Consensus Estimate calls for $2.72 EPS for the current year. Well, the stock is only trading at $2.42 right now.

The real reason the stock is so low though is next year still looks to be a loss. Even after four analysts have increased their estimates for next year, our Zacks Consensus Estimate has only moved from a 64 cent loss to a 27 cent loss. If the company can’t figure out how to turn things around and make a profit again, they could be in trouble. But that’s the risk you take with a stock that’s this inexpensive. There’s a reason why P/E is less than one. You have to ask yourself, is this a risk I’m willing to take?

For me, I was looking for a turnaround story in the oil patch I could roll the dice with. I’ve added a small position in the stock, betting on a continued move in oil prices.

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