Statistically speaking, the month of February isn’t the greatest time for stocks to buy. Based on historical records extending back several decades, the average gain in the S&P 500 for the second month of the year is a loss of 0.02%. That’s hardly inspiring, which is perhaps why some folks avoid equities in February. However, adventurous investors may want to reconsider this narrative.
For one thing, history isn’t always an accurate predictor of future events. And that statement cuts both ways. While you shouldn’t base your choice of stocks to buy exclusively on prior strong returns, you also shouldn’t ignore downtrodden names on the assumption that they’ll continue stinking. Some of the most profitable turnarounds occur when no one is expecting it.
Another factor to consider is the changing nature of our economy. Back in the middle of last century, the U.S. economy was getting its peak usage of “analog” technologies. But as we approached the 1990s and through the contemporary era, the economy has steadily shifted toward digitalization. Since this dynamic is still occurring, some of the best stocks to buy are levered toward the many tech subsegments.
It also doesn’t always make sense to draw comparisons to past market eras, which did not feature the transformation we’re seeing now.
Finally, many events in both business and the geopolitical sector offer ample upside potential for certain stocks to buy. In this case, focusing excessively on past volatility might impose an opportunity cost.
So, if you’re ready to go against the grain, here are seven stocks to buy in February.
One of the breaking news developments, which wasn’t all that surprising, to be frank, was Pier 1 Imports’ (NYSE:PIR) meltdown. Following years of struggling to keep pace with rising competition, Pier 1 announced that it was closing 450 stores. That’s roughly half its physical footprint.
Although it’s terrible news for those speculating on Pier 1’s longshot recovery, it’s great news for Target (NYSE:TGT). And I specifically mention Target and not rival Walmart (NYSE:WMT) for the reason that Pier 1’s vibe represents classy discounts. In contrast, Walmart has the desperate vibe of a Las Vegas pawn shop. That’s one big plus for TGT stock.
The other factor benefiting the bullseye-logo organization is consumer preferences. Back when Pier 1 was relevant, the home furnishings retailer featured uniquely designed or artsy products. But the current retail landscape doesn’t favor Pier 1’s traditional business. For instance, an NPD Group survey discovered that for dinnerware products, most consumers favored solid/single colored products, followed by modern/contemporary designs.
Again, this penchant for sameness doesn’t benefit Pier 1. However, it almost certainly benefits big-box retailer Target. Therefore, TGT stock appears a solid bet among the stocks to buy in February.
Back a few months during the holidays, the overwhelming emphasis was on spending money. After all, some of the most culturally significant events occur during the winter. Simply put, the atmosphere brings out a spirit of generosity.
In February, though, it’s a month of sobering up from those celebrations. With that sentiment in mind, investors should consider adding NortonLifeLock (NASDAQ:NLOK) and NLOK stock to their watch list.
As I mentioned up top, the economy is undergoing massive changes. One of the most remarkable shifts is in commerce; specifically, more of our transactions are occurring in the digital and mobile space. According to a Reuters’ report, 2019 holiday sales, excluding autos, increased 3.4%. A major catalyst for this jump was online sales, which hit record levels.
With ecommerce taking an increasing share of all retail transactions in the U.S., the convenience factor is obvious. But so is the need to protect the data that we transmit daily. NortonLifeLock is among the most trusted names in personal cybersecurity solutions. Therefore, I see necessarily increasing relevance for NLOK stock.
Speaking of digital transactions, I think it’s fair to consider the other side of the deal. The advancement of technology didn’t just sprout completely new business sectors. Instead, it also evened the playing field, allowing smaller businesses to compete with their larger rivals. Because of this powerful dynamic, I have consistently suggested adding Square (NYSE:SQ) to your list of stocks to buy.
Understandably, SQ stock has incurred a wild ride over the last year and a half. At one point, Square’s equity appeared poised to take out the triple-digit barrier for good. Instead, that key psychological level has acted as resistance. Further, you have CEO Jack Dorsey, who doubles as the chief executive of social media firm Twitter (NYSE:TWTR).
Ideally, you’d like to see the man focus on one company. That’s especially the case because Square is turning out to be a very significant player in fintech. However, Dorsey is such a genius that many shareholders would rather have half of him than none at all.
For me, what really separates SQ stock from the competition is its underlying comprehensive ecosystem. With today’s Square, we’re not just talking about merchants being able to accept credit card payments through their phone. Rather, Square has evolved into a complete business and accounting network.
Exxon Mobil (XOM)
Oil giant Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) has taken a hit alongside the rest of the crude oil market. Given the headlines, I’m not entirely surprised by this volatility. Early this year, XOM stock showed signs of life as a brewing crisis in the Middle East threatened to escalate. However, cooler heads prevailed. As a result, investors quickly dumped out of the oil sector.
Nevertheless, I’m long-term bullish on XOM stock. Furthermore, the bloodshed in January may represent a tremendous discount. Primarily, I don’t buy into this regional calm. Call me cynical, but I view it as the calm before the storm.
In this case, I genuinely believe you can look at history for an accurate forecast. The Middle East has been rife with conflict and this will probably never end.
Want a convincing example? In an attempt to isolate hated rival Iran, Israel has been making overtures to Saudi Arabia. Recently, the Jewish state allowed its citizens to travel to Saudi Arabia under certain conditions. The problem? Saudi Arabia doesn’t allow holders of Israeli passports to enter its borders.
That’s just plain anachronistic and harkens back to centuries-old rivalries. At some point, the Middle East will again explode in conflict, and that’s when XOM stock will fly.
In my opinion, IBM (NYSE:IBM) is a classic example of contrarian blue-chip stocks to buy. Like other industry stalwarts, investors have a tendency of taking IBM for granted. Generally speaking, it has stable fundamentals but lacks a sexy growth narrative. Moreover, “Big Blue” underwent massive changes as the tech industry shifted from hardware-centric platforms to the cloud.
Still, IBM stock has the appearance of a sleeping giant ready to wake. Yes, the iconic organization unfortunately lost some ground in the early phase of the cloud ramp up. However, this phase is what I would peg as “exploratory.” Put another way, it features low-hanging fruit.
Moving forward, cloud clients will no longer be impressed with the rudimentary functions of the cloud, such as data storage. Instead, they’ll likely look for comprehensive solutions, such as big data analytics and artificial intelligence. They’ll also see companies that have robust network security protocols.
The beauty of IBM stock is that the underlying organization has these core elements under one roof. Therefore, it can offer efficiencies and cost savings for the enterprise-level clients that IBM is targeting. Given this dynamic, it’s well worth considering it among the stocks to buy in February.
Under Armour (UA, UAA)
For quite some time, I’ve had my reservations about embattled sports apparel firm Under Armour (NYSE:UA, NYSE:UAA). With such a crowded sector and the dominance of Nike (NYSE:NKE) and Adidas (OTCMKTS:ADDYY), there just wasn’t much room for a third wheel. Plus, sports endorsements went bonkers in terms of cost. Investors couldn’t handle it anymore and UA stock took a beating over the years.
Another headwind that clouded UA stock is the company’s “Wolf of Wall Street”-like culture. Additionally, investigations into accounting practices don’t bode well for Under Armour’s image. Still, some changes in the leadership ranks may help get the company out of the doldrums. Also, Under Armour may have saved itself by securing star basketball player Stephen Curry’s endorsement deal.
As a New York Times article revealed, Curry was about to walk due to his frustrations with the company. But current indications suggest that the athlete is now happy with Under Armour. Combine that with relative stability during its dark days and UA stock might have a chance at a recovery.
F5 Networks (FFIV)
F5 Networks (NASDAQ:FFIV) is a name I picked out using Stockrover.com’s comprehensive investment analytics platform. As a web applications and networking solutions provider, F5 Networks’ business is incredibly relevant. But the reason I picked out FFIV stock is that it could be an underappreciated contrarian pick.
Based on traditional valuation metrics such as price-to-earnings ratio and earnings-per-share predictability, FFIV stock ranks as a highly undervalued equity. Yet sentiment surrounding the company is very poor. That’s despite F5 Networks beating EPS consensus estimates in its most recent quarter. However, disappointing guidance ultimately sank shares.
In the bigger picture, though, its earnings performance has been mostly positive. Given the applicable nature of F5 Networks’ business and the excessive bearishness, FFIV stock could surprise investors in February.
As of this writing, Josh Enomoto did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.