Bargains or Busts? — The Motley Fool

Even blue-chip stocks can get the blues.

Three stocks of large companies that have been around a long time recently hit 52-week lows. Ford (NYSE:F), General Electric (NYSE:GE), and International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM) are struggling, but for different reasons. And they’re doing so at the same time the overall market indexes have set new record highs.

With their depressed share prices, are Ford, General Electric (GE), and International Business Machines (IBM) now bargains? Or are they busts?

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Ford

Ford’s stock decline began around three years ago. However, it hasn’t been as a result of sinking sales: Ford’s revenue increased solidly during the period. However, the company’s quarterly bottom-line performance has been all over the map.

Probably the biggest factor behind Ford’s woes, though, relates to worries about the company’s future. The auto industry is changing, with electric cars becoming more popular and huge expectations for self-driving vehicles. Some even think there will be a major shift to “transportation as a service,” where fewer people own cars and instead use self-driving taxis or pooled self-driving fleets of vehicles. There’s also anxiety that an economic downturn could be on the way.

All of these are valid concerns. However, Ford isn’t asleep at the wheel with two of the changes. The company is planning a major joint venture to build electric cars for the Chinese market. Ford also acquired a majority stake in Argo AI earlier this year to jump-start its efforts in developing self-driving cars. As for weathering economic downturns, Ford has demonstrated its ability to navigate tough times better than most auto companies.

If predictions of a shift to a “transportation as a service” model come true, most automakers, including Ford, could be hurt significantly. However, that’s a big if — and even if it does come to pass, the change would be likely to occur incrementally over several decades. For now, though, with its shares trading at seven times expected earnings and a dividend yield of 5.68%, Ford looks like a bargain to me. 

General Electric

After hitting bottom in the Great Recession, General Electric stock enjoyed a nice run through the end of 2016. What happened to change the situation for GE? Disappointment after disappointment for the huge industrial conglomerate.

In January, GE reported mediocre revenue growth for the…

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