2 ASX blue-chip shares with turnaround potential

Credit: Geoff Findley

Although the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX:XJO) has rallied by around 12% since mid-February, a number of companies have missed out on these gains as a result of either missing market expectations or providing an underwhelming trading update.

These unloved shares will now probably be in the sights of contrarian investors – those investors who go against the crowd by buying assets that are performing poorly and then selling when they perform well.

It sounds easy enough but I think it is one of the most difficult investment strategies to get right because it requires a great deal of conviction and precise timing.

Two shares that might be in the sights of contrarian investors right now include:

Flight Centre Travel Group Ltd (ASX: FLT)

Flight Centre is probably the most talked about company with turnaround potential at the moment. Many investors and analysts are unsure as to whether or not the travel agent’s bricks-and-mortar business model will be relevant to consumers in the future and perhaps questioning whether the company’s best days are behind it.

I wouldn’t be so quick to write off the company just yet as the company’s management has faced challenges in the past and been successful in turning the ship around. Furthermore, Flight Centre has a treasure chest of cash sitting on the balance sheet which it can use to pursue growth opportunities.

My biggest concern is the fact that one of its biggest competitors in Australia, Webjet Limited (ASX: WEB), recently upgraded its earnings guidance at the same time Flight Centre downgraded its own guidance. Considering they both compete in the same space, this is a worrying sign and is the reason I have been reluctant to buy shares after the sell-off.

With that said, if the shares trade below $30 per share, I believe that would present an attractive risk-reward proposition for contrarian investors.

Crown Resorts Ltd (ASX: CWN)

Crown is one of the most interesting shares on the ASX and has presented a myriad of issues for investors simultaneously.

Some of these issues include:

  • Is James Packer going to take the company private?
  • Have conditions in Macau started to improve?
  • Are the company’s new casinos in Asia performing to expectations?
  • Is the Baranagroo project on budget and on schedule?
  • What is the next step for its partnership with Melco Crown?
  • A tax assessment dispute with the ATO

This uncertainty, especially regarding Macau, has seen the shares fall from a high of nearly $18 in 2014, down below $12 today.

While there is such a level of uncertainty, it is hard to see the share price increasing significantly from here in the short term.

Despite this, I think the longer-term potential for Crown is still quite attractive considering it has a number of world-class projects in its pipeline. The company is also likely to be a key beneficiary from the ever increasing number of tourists from Asia who will happily stay and spend their money in its properties throughout Asia and Australia.

Contrarian investing isn't for everyone. If it's not something you might be comfortable with, then you should consider these three blue chip shares that are already moving in the right direction.

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Motley Fool contributor Christopher Georges has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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