As markets inch closer to past highs, you may feel like you “missed the boat” with stocks to buy. As uncertainty continues, however, you could still enter high-quality stocks at more attractive entry points. How so? By “buying the dip.”
Sure, the phrase “buy the dip” may be overused to describe today’s market, yet there’s a difference between buying a strong stock on a pullback, and buying a stock as it trends downward. For example, even as the novel coronavirus enters the rear-view mirror, many hard-hit names remain risky. I’m talking about industries such as airlines, casinos, and other sectors.
With U.S. households tightening their belts in case of continued tough times, a V-shaped recovery looks less likely. In short, Main Street reality could soon bring Wall Street enthusiasm to a screeching halt.
On the other hand, there’s plenty more resistant names that could continue to perform well, no matter what tomorrow brings. I’m talking about defensive stocks, as well as large-cap tech names largely immune from today’s challenges.
Taking a look at major names, these five stand out as stocks to buy on the dip:
- Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG,NASDAQ:GOOGL)
- AT&T (NYSE:T)
- Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ)
- Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)
- Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX)
Granted, FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) remains, even as markets trend higher. But the relative strengths of these five names could make them buys on a pullback. Let’s dive in and find out why.
Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL)
The parent company of search giant Google, Alphabet has performed well like its FAANG peers. Yet, shares continue to trade just below their pre-pandemic highs. There’s plenty of reason why shares have yet to retrace the high water mark.
Firstly, the pandemic meant a short-term collapse in the digital ad market. Yet, the worst may already be over for Alphabet, as well as its chief rival Facebook (NASDAQ:FB). Also, as InvestorPlace’s Mark Hake wrote May 28, analysts remain bullish the company’s projected double-digit earnings growth can continue into the near future.
And that’s no surprise. As digital advertising continues to win at the expense of legacy advertising mediums, such as television, companies like this one have a long runway ahead of them.
But, that’s not all! The company’s investments in artificial intelligence offer investors another catalysts for shares to move higher long-term.
Coupled with the company’s strong cash flow and economic moat, GOOG stock offers you the best of both worlds: stability, along with the potential for above-average growth.
With this in mind, Alphabet is one of the best stocks to buy on the dip.
The telecom and media giant is one of many names that has yet to retrace past highs. And with good reason. There are some concerns over the company’s high leverage. Also, the mixed results from their HBO Max launch may mean T stock loses out as media pivots from TV over to streaming.
However, there’s plenty to be confident about with AT&T shares. Firstly, the 5G catalyst. Granted, it could be several years before wireless carriers like this company reap the benefits. It may help keep earnings stable, enabling the company to maintain its current sky-high 6.74% dividend yield.
Income investors fearful of a cut may have bid shares below past highs. However, if the economy makes a faster-than-predicted recovery, these same investors could rush back into T stock, as fears of a reduced dividend dissipate. In an era of rock-bottom interest rates, there’s much to be said about this blue chip company, and its relatively high dividend payout.
Don’t expect AT&T to perform like a “hot stock.” But, for a dividend play that could trend higher long-term, consider shares a buy on any pullback.
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ)
The pharma giant’s shares have held relatively steady in 2020’s volatile stock market, but don’t take that to mean the other shoe has yet to drop. Granted, speculation over coronavirus vaccines and treatments have helped prop up healthcare stocks like this one as of late.
There’s good reason this blue chip name is a buy on any dip. A “dividend aristocrat,” they’ve increased its dividend 57 years in a row. With said dividend growing an average of 6.32% per year over the last five years, the company’s current yield of 2.72% may be even higher in the years to come.
However, JNJ stock is not only a buy for income investors. Past legal issues may be less of an risk going forward. The company’s valuation premium to pharma rivals like Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) could now be justified. On the other hand, the rich valuation may mean shares could take a breather.
So, when it is prime time to buy Johnson & Johnson? If enthusiasm for a coronavirus vaccine fades, shares could see a slight pullback. Given the company’s underlying strengths, shares could be a screaming buy if they dip slightly below today’s prices.
As I’ve written in past analysis, this tech giant’s shares are a “high quality, low risk play,” as investors debate whether this is a “risk-on” or “risk-off” market.
Like its big tech peer Alphabet, MSFT stock offers the best of both worlds. On one hand, strong cash flows, and economic moat, provide much-needed stability. On the other hand, the company continues to double down on opportunities that bolster long-term growth.
In the case of Microsoft, that would be the cloud. Between the blockbuster growth of its Azure cloud business, along with the success of its cloud-based Office 365 and Teams platforms, the unofficial FAANG member is giving both Alphabet and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) a run for their money.
Sure, there’s a risk shares could fall, if investors cash out of tech stocks, and reenter stocks decimated by the pandemic. But with the cloud megatrend fueling continued growth, any sort of pullback may be a positive for those considering MSFT stock today.
Investors had good reason to bail out of the global coffee powerhouse’s shares. The company faced troubles ever since the pandemic first hit China, thanks to that country being the chain’s second-largest market.
As the virus spread to America, SBUX stock again was hit with short-term volatility. Investors feared “shelter-in-place” would decimate their business. Yet, the company has remained resilient during these tough times.
As our own Matt McCall wrote May 19, with China in recovery mode, and the United States slowing opening up post-lockdown, Starbucks could see its sales rebound faster than other restaurant names. In short, not only could the company recover by the end of the year. They could also stay on track with their 2021 growth targets.
Bottom line: SBUX stock remains one of the best stocks to buy on the dip. Consider any pullback to be prime time to buy, as the company’s long-term potential remains in motion.
Thomas Niel, contributor to InvestorPlace, has written single-stock analysis since 2016. As of this writing, Thomas Niel did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.