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It's not easy being Green: Michael Green's a stickler for value, even in an overheated market.



After this past fall's correction, you'd think things would be a lot easier for a bargain hunter Bargain hunter

In the context of general equities, purchaser who is extremely selective in the price sought on a transaction.
 like portfolio manager Michael L. Green. After all, Green, who supervises $150 million in assets for institutional investors, is a value manager--he likes his shares undervalued Undervalued

A stock or other security that is trading below its true value.

Notes:
The difficulty is knowing what the "true" value actually is. Analysts will usually recommend an undervalued stock with a strong buy rating.
 compared with the overall market.

Green wasn't so lucky, though. No sooner had October 29 knocked a full 7% off the market, when investors rushed in and pushed the Dow Jones Industrial Average Dow Jones Industrial Average

The best known U.S. index of stocks. A price-weighted average of 30 actively traded blue-chip stocks, primarily industrials including stocks that trade on the New York Stock Exchange.
 back up into the high 7000s. The zigzagging market made Green's job of finding little-known stocks that have eluded the investment community, or even those that have temporarily fallen out of favor, all the more difficult. "In past years, with any stock market correction Market correction

A relatively short-term drop in stock market prices, generally viewed as bringing overpriced stocks back to a level closer to companies' actual values.
, you had time to search through the rubble and find names," says Green, chief investment officer and owner of EverGreen Capital Management in Omaha, Nebraska “Omaha” redirects here. For other uses, see Omaha (disambiguation).
Omaha is the largest city in the State of Nebraska, United States. It is the county seat of Douglas County.GR6 As of the 2000 census, the city had a population of 390,007.
.

It's not easy to make Green's cut. He first narrows the field by concentrating on just large and mid-cap stocks because they tend to be less volatile and a bit more dependable than shares of smaller companies. Green then limits his sights to companies selling at a minimum discount of at least 20% of their industry's average price-to-earnings ratio Noun 1. price-to-earnings ratio - (stock market) the price of a stock divided by its earnings
P/E ratio

securities market, stock exchange, stock market - an exchange where security trading is conducted by professional stockbrokers
. So, if the average company in heavy industry sells at 15 times projected earnings, then he's on the prowl for stocks that fetch 12 times that same figure. On top of that, Green says he's also looking for Looking for

In the context of general equities, this describing a buy interest in which a dealer is asked to offer stock, often involving a capital commitment. Antithesis of in touch with.
 companies with a low price to book value, preferably 20%-25% below their industry's average.

The money manager then looks at earnings prospects. He favors companies that are projected to grow earnings at a 10% or greater clip during the next few years. Think that's tough? There are still another couple of hurdles to clear. He's partial to corporations that stick to core businesses while generating a lot of cash flow. And, finally, Green considers investing in a company if it pays dividends. "I'm most attracted to a company that not only pays a dividend but increases its payout over time," he says. "After all, a dividend is great for a stock's stability in volatile times."

We asked the ever-picky Green for attractive three- to five-year holdings. He led off with First Union Corp. (NYSE NYSE

See: New York Stock Exchange
: FTU FTU Foreign Trade University (Hanoi, Vietnam)
FTU Federation of Trade Unions (Hong Kong, China)
FTU Formal Training Unit
FTU Florida Times-Union (newspaper) 
), a super-regional bank that's recently made headlines with acquisitions of the brokerage firms Wheat First Butcher Singer and Corestates. Green likes the fact that First Union now derives a larger portion of its sales from fee-based activity such as investment banking and asset management. He says those two businesses provide great insulation for banks given the fact that interest rate fluctuations can often wreak havoc on financial institutions. He sees the company earning $3.93 a share in 1998.

Green also likes Tidewater Inc. (NYSE: TDW TDW Total Diamond Weight
TDW Telecommunications Data Warehouse
TDW Tower Display Workstation (FAA)
TDW Tonnage Dead Weight
TDW Training Development Workload
TDW Time/Data Word
TDW Turbo Debugger for Windows
), an oil services company that supplies boats to rig operators in the Gulf of Mexico Noun 1. Gulf of Mexico - an arm of the Atlantic to the south of the United States and to the east of Mexico
Golfo de Mexico

Atlantic, Atlantic Ocean - the 2nd largest ocean; separates North and South America on the west from Europe and Africa on the east
, the North Sea and off the coast of West Africa. Green says the outlook for Tidewater is bright because the oil drilling business remains robust. For Tidewater's fiscal 1999, ending in March of that year, he projects earnings of $4.95 a share.

Green Tree Financial Corp. (NYSE: GNT GNT Good News Translation (Bible)
GNT Generation Nouvelles Technologies (Paris, France)
GNT Greek New Testament
GNT Grand National Teams (ACBL Bridge competition) 
), a financer of manufactured housing, is now a bargain, Green says, after selling off in mid-November, following the company's decision to take a reserve to cover prepaid loans. Green feels the market overreacted to the news. He feels that despite the move Green Tree's "new business is healthy," and believes the company can earn $3.93 during the coming year.

Another favorite is Deere & Co. (NYSE: DE), the nation's biggest manufacturer of tractors and farm equipment. Green says the company is improving profit margins by keeping production costs down and closing unprofitable plants. Investors may have fled the stock late last year due to worries about economic problems in the Asian and Brazilian markets, but Green thinks that made the stock an even better bargain. "Deere's expanding overseas, but the lion's share of the company's business is in the U.S," he points out. He thinks the company can earn $4.25 a share in 1998.

Finally, Green likes railroad company Norfolk Southern Corp. (NYSE: NSC NSC
abbr.
National Security Council

Noun 1. NSC - a committee in the executive branch of government that advises the president on foreign and military and national security; supervises the Central Intelligence Agency
). "This is the premier railroad in the transportation industry," Green says, citing Norfolk's high profit margins and cost-cutting efforts. The company pays a dividend that yields 2.4% compared to an average 1.75% for the S&P 500 is the icing on the cake. Green expects earnings of $2.30 for 1998.

RELATED ARTICLE: A BARGAIN HUNTER'S PICKS

Company                Exchange: Symbol   Stock Price(*)

First Union Corp.      NYSE: FTU          $48.75
Tidewater Inc.         NYSE: TDW           56.06
Green Tree Financial   NYSE: GNT           30.63
Deere & Co.            NYSE: DE            54.81
Norfold Southern       NYSE: NSC           31.81

                       Est. Current     Est. 5-Year
Company                Fiscal Yr. EPS   EPS Growth

First Union Corp.      $3.87            11.6%
Tidewater Inc.          4.03            23.5
Green Tree Financial    3.66            19.5
Deere & Co.             4.21            10.2
Norfold Southern        2.24            10.9
COPYRIGHT 1998 Earl G. Graves Publishing Co., Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1998, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Private Screening; portfolio manager
Author:Khalfani, Lynnette
Publication:Black Enterprise
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Feb 1, 1998
Words:832
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