Kratisto investing april 2012

With more than a few U.S. bank stocks still looking undervalued, it may seem crazy to think about buying a bank with large exposure to the disaster zone that is the Spanish banking sector. Yet, risk-tolerant investors with long-term horizons may well like what they see at BBVA (NYSE: BBVA). While this large global bank is not yet in the clear with respect to Spain, this company’s growth-oriented global footprint is attractive, with the stock trading below tangible book.

Like Santander (NYSE: STD), BBVA is one of the largest banks operating in Spain, and has suffered as the economy and banking sector of Spain has flirted with collapse. Counter-intuitive as it may seem, BBVA just got even bigger in Spain.


BBVA agreed to buy Unnim in a deal somewhat similar to those we saw in the U.S. during the worst of the credit crisis – a seriously distressed bank is getting taken over by a healthier player for a nominal fee and getting government support to do it. This deal will double the company’s exposure to the Catalonia area of Spain.

The Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) saga continues to twist and turn, with the latest development being the surprising resignation of CEO Brian Dunn. While this sort of major shake-up may be seen as yet another distraction and setback for a company struggling to find a new foothold in the electronics retailing world, the downside seems pretty limited. At this point, the market continues to price Best Buy for failure and shareholders may have reason to hope that the company can use this opportunity to make a clean break with a failed approach.

While now-former CEO Brian Dunn had a reputation as an operations-minded executive, it’s hard to see how that did the company any good. Under his leadership, the company continued to over-expand and ignore the fact that online retailers like Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) and Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) had already sapped their walls. Just as bad, Best Buy seems to have plunged headlong into China without really understanding the market or how to compete with other rivals like Gome.

Although the economy is slowly getting better, commitments to major engineering and construction projects are still scarce and erratic. Making matters worse for Shaw Group (NYSE: SHAW), there’s still a great deal of uncertainty in the U.S. power space as it pertains to licensing new nuclear facilities, retrofitting old plants and building new fossil-fuel power stations. While Shaw Group does look like a potential value today, investors have to be willing to exercise patience to see that value come to light.

While Japan’s Fukushima disaster chilled the nuclear power market, Shaw is seeing respectable progress in this large business. SCANA (NYSE: SCG) and Southern Co. (NYSE: SO) have both gotten the go-ahead to move forward with nuclear plant projects, which de-risks a substantial part of Shaw’s backlog. On the other hand, while there’s still hope that Progress Energy (NYSE: PGN) (in the process of being acquired by Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK)) will get the go-ahead of a new facility in Florida, the company has been beset by a variety of problems with its nuclear plants.