by Lawrence Meyers | January 31, 2014 2:16 pm
From the breathless reporting in the financial media, you’d think the world was coming to an end just because the market has actually been correcting this month.
In truth, I can’t find any consensus among the economists, hedge fund managers, wealth managers and CEOs that I regularly speak with regarding the market. You’d think that if the Fed starts to taper, that would mean rates would rise and folks would rush out of stocks and back into bonds to find yields.
Maybe. Or maybe not.
That’s why I advise having a long-term diversified portfolio, with portions set aside for options, swing trades and stocks to buy in case of a crash. I have my own shopping list for such stocks to buy, and I’ve written about them over the past two years, demurring on purchases because they are overvalued.
In a market crash, however, you might get a chance to buy in. Here’s what I’d want to grab if it went on sale.
Whole Foods Market (WFM) would be one of these stocks to buy.
The verdict is in, and organic wins. Organic foods have infiltrated even the smallest markets at this point. “Organic” is, to my mind, the greatest marketing scheme since De Beers’ “Diamonds Are Forever.” In my experience, organic foods do generally taste better, but no company has leveraged this single word better than Whole Foods.
Whole Foods also runs an outstanding business, has a fantastic company culture and knows how to ream consumers via outrageously expensive organic products better than any other business.
WFM stock trades around $52, with just under $3 per share in cash. At estimates of $1.68 in earnings per share for FY14 and projections for 17% in long-term growth, and perhaps a 20% premium for its cash flow, I would assign it a fair value around $34. If WFM stock is unfortunate enough to fall that low, I’d absolutely buy around there.
MSC Industrial Direct (MSM) is a very boring company, which in an of itself is a good reason it belongs in a list of stocks to buy.
MSM is a marketer and distributor of a broad range of metalworking and maintenance, repair, and operations products. You should always pay attention to distribution operations. It’s something I learned while in the movie business. The manufacturers might make money, but they are nothing without distribution. If you have a wide distribution platform, you can make tons of money, and that’s why the movie studios distribute their own films.
Plus, MSC distributes really important little objects that make a lot of machines run. Again, not a sexy business, but a good one to be in.
As far as MSM stock is concerned, 13% long-term growth for me translates into a 13 P/E on FY14 earnings of $4. Fair value is $52, and MSM trades at $84.
Exxon Mobil (XOM) is what I call a “forever hold” stock. As I’ve written before, the world will always need oil, and XOM is the world-class operation in this sector. (Of course, it doesn’t hurt that it’s also deeply entrenched in natural gas, now, too.)
Exxon’s earnings can vary for many reasons, so I’ve always valued XOM stock on an EV/EBITDA ratio. It presently sits at 6.89. My historical buy-in for XOM stock has always been an EV-EBITDA ratio of 5.5, give or take a bit. Enterprise value is roughly equivalent to market cap with XOM, so that means we want to see about a 20% decline in market cap, which means a 20% decline in price.
Grab XOM stock in the mid-$80s.
Amazon (AMZN) has emerged — despite my skepticism 10 years ago — as the single online shopping source for everything. Yes, everything. Yes, like bacon shaped band-aids. Canned unicorn meat, anyone?
Jokes aside, the zombie apocalypse can occur and I believe you’ll still be able to get anything you want from Amazon — and get it 15%-35% cheaper than anywhere else. Seriously, I never go to stores anymore. Ever. There’s no reason to.
Amazon’s earnings will always be erratic and expectations will always be all over the place (as we saw last night), but the company is a star, as is AMZN stock. Amazon stock actually suffered a pretty substantial blow today, so it’s certainly priced better now than it was yesterday. However, it’s still difficult to say what fair value is, so that’s when I look at the technicals.
The 200-day moving average is at about $320, and that’s where I would buy.
As of this writing, Lawrence Meyers was long AMZN. He is president of PDL Broker, Inc., which brokers financing, strategic investments and distressed asset purchases between private equity firms and businesses. He also has written two books and blogs about public policy, journalistic integrity, popular culture, and world affairs. Contact him at email@example.com and follow his tweets @ichabodscranium.
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