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George Putnam, one of the country's leading turnaround and distressed investing professionals, answers your investing questions. This is your chance to find out everything you wanted to know--but were afraid to ask--about turnaround investing.

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How important are Price-to-Earnings (P/E) ratios in evaluating turnaround stocks?

June 28, 2012

Price-to-Earnings ratios are probably the most widely used tool for comparing the relative values of different stocks. However, they are often less significant for turnaround investors. One reason for this is the fact that many turnaround stocks don’t have any earnings to plug into the P/E ratio calculation because they have been losing money prior to the commencement of their turnaround. And even when a turnaround company has begun to show earnings, the level of those earnings may still be quite low, which leads to a misleadingly high P/E ratio. The one circumstance where I do find P/E ratios helpful is where a company has a very low P/E ratio compared to its peers. This may indicate that Wall Street may have given up on the company--depressing its stock price and increasing the gain potential.

(Question submitted by Wendy M.)

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George Putnam's Favorite Stocks for 2016

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Turnaround Investing Blog

Turnaround Investing Blog

Watch Headlines for Turnaround Stock Opportunities

Negative media headlines can be a great source of turnaround ideas. Stories about struggling companies, management turmoil, failed strategies, large financial losses, industrial accidents, lawsuits and the like can drive a stock to well-below reasonable levels and may provide a buying opportunity. Like all Wall Street axioms, however, “buy on bad news” must be accompanied by careful analysis to evaluate the potential for turnaround success. Read More.

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Retail Turnaround Trio

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MoneyShow.com interviewed George to learn more about his favorite value stock picks for today's market. In "Retail Turnaround Trio," Steve Halpern highlights three of The Turnaround Letter's recently-profiled retailers: JWN, TIF and SPLS.

 

Putnam notes, "Well the retailing sector is undergoing very fundamental change as people move away from the bricks and mortar mall doors to buying more and more online but that's not going to wipe out all of the old-fashioned retailers. Starting the middle of 2015, investors just moved away from retailers en masse and a number of them are trading at about half the level they were a year ago. We thought some of the higher quality names that definitely will be survivors looked interesting."

 

Learn more about these three retail stocks poised for a turnaround.