Buy or Sell? Tuesday's Losers: PWRD, PPO

By David Sterman,

Shutterstock photo

Among the biggest losers in Tuesday's early trading are Perfect World (Nasdaq: PWRD) and Polypore International ( PPO ) .

In the United States, video-game stocks have been trading at multi-year lows, in part due to a dearth of hot new gaming consoles that typically spur demand for new gaming titles. Over in China, it's another problem: Consumer interest in online multi-player gaming is cooling. Not only are Chinese consumers spending less time playing, but they are increasingly staying away from the higher-priced games.

You can see the trend in just-released results for Perfect World, one of the leading gaming developers in China. Second-quarter sales fell 5% from a year ago to $106 million, which was slightly below consensus forecasts. Investors must have seen the shortfall coming asshares had dropped for five straight sessions before falling another 6% this morning.

Still, this is shaping up to be a heckuva value play: Even after issuing a one-time $98 milliondividend payment to shareholders in April 2012, Perfect World still has around $320 million in net cash, not far from the company's entiremarket value of $460 million. Analysts at Oppenheimer seeearnings per share ( EPS ) stagnating at around $2 a share in 2012 and 2013, which implies a quite-lowforward earnings multiple of around 4.5. Shares may be dead money in the near-term, but this is a good time to brush up on the company's long-term growth plans to see whether such low valuations represent the deep bargain they seem to be.

The end of the Volt?
It's hard not to feel sorry for GM ( GM ) . After re-emerging from bankruptcy, it has repeatedly stumbled in its bid to take back industry leadership. Even the company's hallmark efforts to be a leading-edge player in the electric car industry appear to be a bust, as GM just announced that it is halting production of the Chevy Volt for a month to give dealers more time to clear outinventory . Considering where this car is in its product life cycle, sales woes are a likely harbinger of long-termmarket failure for the Volt.

The Volt's possible premature demise is bad news for Polypore Int'l, whose shares are sliding almost 10% this morning after establishing a new52-week low . Polypore provides the membranes that allow electrons to flow across the Volt's battery leads. 

Polypore is also involved in other industries such as health care and water filtration. Analysts regard the company's membrane technology as leading-edge, and over the long-haul, Polypore is well-positioned in several growth verticals. Still, 2012 is shaping up to be a lost year. Few near-term catalysts exist and you're best off waiting to see shares really capitulate in any broadermarket pullback.

Action to Take --> While both of these stocks lack catalysts, Perfect World offers some stunning valuation metrics. That's not a signal to buy, but now is a good time to study the company's long-term growth plans -- while the entire business, net of cash, is accorded little value. When it comes to the gaming industry, just one or two hot new titles can give a stock a fresh sheen.

-- David Sterman

David Sterman does not personally hold positions in any securities mentioned in this article. StreetAuthority LLC does not hold positions in any securities mentioned in this article.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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This article appears in: Investing Stocks
Referenced Stocks: EPS , GM , PPO , PWRD

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