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BHP Billiton Limited, Coca-Cola Amatil Ltd and Flight Centre Travel Group Ltd are at 52-week lows: Is now the time to buy?

The three big-name stocks below have hit 52-week lows today as we get closer to the beginning of October. Regardless of the share price, look to see what headwinds or tailwinds each company has and whether the basic story of the stock is getting better or worse. Consider the business before the share price. If prices fall more, then they could be even better buys.

BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) slipped under $34.00 for the first time since July 2013. Low iron ore prices are shrinking earnings margins. However, the company is expanding iron ore production, so earnings overall could still rise over the next year. Its petroleum business is expanding in the US, so that offsets some of the pressure on the iron ore segment. I would wait at least until the next half-year earnings come out before doing anything with this stock. If you have it already, then holding is ok.

Coca-Cola Amatil Ltd (ASX: CCL) is starting its restructuring program. It will be reducing wages for new employees and looking for other ways to improve margins. To help Coca-Cola sales, it is introducing a smaller 250ml Coke can size to be sold at convenience stores and petrol stations for easier drinking on the go. It might make better profit margins than other sizes. The company expects second-half earnings to be better than the first. It could still have more share price weakness, but I believe it is nearing a strong bottom. Watch this one closely and get ready to buy.

Flight Centre Travel Group Ltd (ASX: FLT) touched a 52-week low of $42.59. It expects the first half of FY 2015 to be about the same as in FY 2014, but then it expects to see a pick-up in the second half. Analysts are tipping an average 8% earnings rise annually over the next two years, so that’s solid growth. Its overseas businesses in the UK and the US are raising earnings and the company is starting new ventures in Asia. I would look for this stock to firm up and rise from here, so I think it’s a buying opportunity now.

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Motley Fool contributor Darryl Daté-Shappard does not own shares in any company mentioned. 

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