The 3 best deals on the ASX today

Australian shares are down substantially from earlier in the year. That's why experts say there are plenty of bargains right now.

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Despite a small revival this month, the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) remains 7.5% down from its February peak.

This means that there are plenty of ASX shares out there going for cheap, despite representing excellent businesses.

Here are three of the best deals for stock buyers at the moment:

Best deal 1: waiting catalysts 

The IDP Education Ltd (ASX: IEL) share price has now lost 27.4% since its February peak.

However, many experts reckon it's a bargain buy, with nine out of 14 analysts currently surveyed on CMC Markets rating IDP as a buy.

Fairmont Equities managing director Michael Gable is one of those professionals who is bullish on the international education services provider.

One upcoming catalyst, he believes, is a resurgence in international student placement numbers in a post-pandemic world.

Another is its market dominance — hence pricing power — in international English language testing (IELTS).

"This [provides] upside to group margin as IELTS volumes recover towards the company's target growth rate of high single-digit over the medium term."

Gable also believes the market is underestimating IDP's future earnings growth.

"This is due to the likelihood of IEL using its under-geared balance sheet position and/or re-investing free cash to pursue merger and acquisitions."

Best deal 2: 10% discount with 3.9% dividend yield

The second pick is financial services provider EQT Holdings Ltd (ASX: EQT).

Those shares have fallen sharply, to the tune of 10% since the start of October.

Despite this loss of support, the team at LSN reckons the company's latest update was positive.

"EQT Holdings delivered a first quarter update, which showed a strong start to FY24 with flows ahead of expectations and Australian Executor Trustee (AET) acquisition integration remaining on track."

EQT Holdings is also departing the Ireland and UK markets, which have proven to be unprofitable.

All five analysts that cover the stock reckon EQT is a buy right now, according to CMC Markets.

The folks at LSN are urging punters to look beyond the short term for this company.

"The company is well positioned to deliver strong earnings growth which should be rewarded by investors over time."

Best deal 3: lithium stock that's halved in 4 months

Even though lithium has been a hot investment theme in recent years, producers have seen their valuations shrink this year due to weak prices for the mineral.

Allkem Ltd (ASX: AKE) shares, especially, are having a rough time. They've lost 48.8% of their value since mid-July.

But both Novus Capital stock broker John Edwards and Morgans investment advisor Jabin Hallihan rated the stock as a buy this week.

Edwards is aware of what's making the market hesitant about Allkem.

"Long term growth plans remain uncertain due to its proposed friendly merger with US brine [lithium] producer Livent Corp (NYSE: LTHM), which, in our view, is restraining the share price."

Despite slumping lithium prices due to the gloomy global economy, he believes Allkem has enough going for it for the stocks to surge upward.

"Production growth is forecast to quadruple during the next five years. Allkem had a strong cash balance at its last quarterly update."

Motley Fool contributor Tony Yoo has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has positions in and has recommended IDP Education. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended IDP Education. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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