I was discussing with a friend how amazing the valuation of Symantec was at less than six times free cash flow. It led to a bigger question of why certain stocks are getting so cheap. I believe it is the result of an aboslute minefield in value stocks in recent years.
Many value investors were killed in financial stocks banking on book value or normalized earnings. Others were caught in newspapers, radio or brick and mortar retail operations that were victims of the internet. Than there were the victims of technological obsolescence like RIMM, Nokia and Kodak. Let's not forget the coal and natural gas names who were victims to record low natural gas prices due to fracking.
I cannot recall any period of time where there were so many value traps. This has beaten and bruised value investors. When there is an issue with a company many are no longer willing to look past anything. Many who have been caught in one of these traps sell first and ask questions later. I believe this is the reason so many companies trade at such cheap levels. I also believe it is an opportunity if one can pick out the survivors.