Editor’s note: “7 Undervalued Stocks to Buy Before They’re Blasting Off Again” was previously published in September 2020. It has since been updated to include the most relevant information available.
When stock markets fell off a cliff in late March 2020, the V-shaped recovery that followed quickly boosted any undervalued stocks that were buying opportunities at the bottom.
That said, the disconnect between the stock market and the lack of a wider economic recovery is compounding issues. Investors may blame the Federal Reserve for pumping trillions into the stock market and increasing valuations. And in the very long-term, inflation is a potential risk for markets.
But when the world figures out a way to contain the novel coronavirus — be it through a vaccine or enhanced contact tracing — the overheated economy will drive company profits higher.
The rally fueled by the stock-split of Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) ended at the beginning of September. Now that valuations matter again, the selling pressure on the market has created better prices in those stocks that remain undervalued.
Here are 7 undervalued stocks to buy:
- Carnival Corporation (NYSE:CCL)
- ViacomCBS (NASDAQ:VIAC)
- Enel Americas (NYSE:ENIA)
- Allstate (NYSE:ALL)
- Simon Property Group (NYSE:SPG)
- Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC)
- Flowserve (NYSE:FLS)
These stocks have favorable valuations from a price-earnings (P/E) ratio measure. They trade at reasonable levels today, but have prospects that look vastly better in the future.
Undervalued Stocks to Buy: Carnival Corporation (CCL)
Carnival bottomed out back in August around the $13.00 range and has since begun forming a positive uptrend. Investors are looking beyond the coronavirus lockdown that banned Carnival from sailing as of March and instead contemplating the future.
At the time of the travel advisory, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a No Sale Order that which suggested that the cruise line could resume sailing for eight of its ships from Texas and Florida. In Europe, Carnival resumed operations this month, with initial sailings from the Italian ports on September 6. A second Carnival brand, Germany-based AIDA Cruises, starts Canary Island voyages in November.
CCL stock still scores poorly on value, growth and quality. But that will quickly change as operations resume and revenue restarts. Investors are forward-looking and anticipate a sales recovery from 2021 onward.
The seasonality bar chart (right) suggests that the stock will rise between August and December. If ships do depart, positive performance compared to the index will widen.
Carnival is unlikely to face weakening bookings following re-opening. Customers will take a chance in sailing, especially if the cruise line offers a big discount. Initially, lack of capacity will create a shortage of supply. So Carnival stock may respond positively to an increase in bookings.
In a 5-year discounted cash flow growth exit model, Carnival stock has a fair value of around $25. This assumes a discount rate of 9% and a perpetuity growth rate of 4%. With all of this in mind, CCL stock is one of the great undervalued stocks to buy.
Undervalued Stocks to Buy: ViacomCBS (VIAC)
In the entertainment sector, ViacomCBS trades too low to ignore.
The company holds billions in debt, but it also has no problem refinancing it. For example, on June 10, VIAC sold $1.74 billion in securities. By lowering its interest costs on debt and monetizing its intellectual property, VIAC is an undervalued stock that investors should consider.
In the second quarter, ViacomCBS posted revenue falling by 12% to $6.28 billion. Adjusted OIBDA (operating income before depreciation and amortization) rose 8% year-over-year to $1.69 billion. The pandemic also hurt advertising revenue, which fell by 27% year-over-year. Global advertising demand weakened but investors are looking to an improving future.
Offsetting VIAC’s traditional pre-Covid business is domestic streaming and digital video revenue. Streaming subscriptions and digital video advertising revenue rose 25% Y/Y. Pluto TV advertising improved in the quarter while streaming subscription revenue jumped 52% Y/Y.
If a movie like Disney‘s (NYSE:DIS) Mulan succeeds as a streaming-only release, ViacomCBS could follow suit. Conversely, as the economy re-opens, investors may expect ad revenue and theatrical revenue to recover.
On Wall Street, analysts are neutral on the upside prospects of ViacomCBS stock, with the price target at $29.53. Similarly, based on its Enterprise Value to EBITDA, Stock Rover has a fair value of $26.27.
Data courtesy of Stock Rover
In the table above, VIAC trails the industry in gross margin. However, the net margin is above that of the S&P 500 average. So for these reasons, VIAC stock is another under-the-radar buy.
In the table above, VIAC trails the industry in gross margin. However, the net margin is not too far off from the S&P 500 average. So for these reasons, VIAC stock is another under-the-radar buy. Using an “EBITDA Multiples” model to compare ViacomCBS with its peers, the fair value is $36.81.
Enel Americas (ENIA)
Currently, Enel Americas trades at a single-digit P/E ratio with a dividend in the 7% range.
Additionally, the utility company reported second-quarter revenue decline of 21.1% YOY to $5.7 billion. Enel also reported EBITDA falling by 28.9% mainly due to extraordinary effects incurred. For example, an agreement signed between Edesur and the Argentine State for outstanding claims cost the company $279 million last year. The coronavirus also contributed to the company’s decline, albeit to a lesser extent.
Moreover, if Enel excluded the exchange rate impact on Brazil and Peru, EBITDA would have fallen by 13.3% instead of 29.1%. Government support will also accelerate economic recovery. Chief Executive Officer Maurizio Bezzeccheri said, “we know that for example in Brazil will be put in place a specific amount of money, almost €4 billion for the economic recovery.”
On the balance sheet, Enel’s net debt-to-EBITDA ratio stands at 1.4. This gives the firm plenty of room to increase debt if it needs to. With record-low interest rates, refinancing should lower the cost to manage debt — another reason ENIA stock is a large-value, low-cost buy.
At the moment, Allstate is stuck in a trading range in the $90 to $95 levels. The insurance giant is also valued at a P/E ratio in the high single digits with a market cap below $30 billion. And that’s only the beginning of what makes this one of the best undervalued stocks to buy.
Last month, Allstate recorded a $334 million pre-tax income from the PG&E settlement. Thankfully, Hurricane Laura didn’t inflict as much damage as expected, minimizing additional costs Allstate may have faced.
In the second quarter, Allstate posted an adjusted net income of $2.46 a share. Revenues of $11.2 billion are due to higher realized capital gains and property-liability premium growth. Strong underwriting results lifted the insurer’s net income to $1.2 billion in the period.
Its growth plan is on track to increase its personal property-liability market share. For example, Allstate is expanding customer access by combining direct sales operations. This will strengthen the Allstate brand. Plus, better online and call center sales flow from the Allstate direct channel will improve customer service.
The Q2 launch of the new Allstate One app signals the company’s willingness to embrace technological change.
Additionally, on Stock Rover, Allstate stock has a value score of 98/100:
|Price / Earnings||7.1||20.4||35.2|
|Price / Sales||0.7||1||2.5|
|Price / Free Cash Flow||5.5||7.4||21.6|
|Price / Book||1.2||1.3||4|
Data courtesy of Stock Rover
As shown in the table above, ALL stock has a price-to-earnings that is less than half that of the industry. It is five times below that of the S&P 500 index.
Analysts are also bullish on the company, with the average price target around $119. For these reasons, ALL stock is another undervalued stock to buy for investors.
Simon Property Group (SPG)
The real estate investment trust (REIT) market is still risky despite stocks rallying in this space. However, Simon Property Group is insistent on its commercial tenants paying rent. And although it won’t get all the rental income it’s owed, partial recoupment will help lift company revenue.
Moreover, on August 14, the REIT giant, along with apparel licensing firm Authentic Brands, bought Lucky Brands for $140.1 million. The deal will keep Lucky’s core stores open, and ultimately lead to continued rental income for Simon.
Still, the company needs customers willing to return to malls in high volume. And the U.S. can’t afford another spike in coronavirus cases. If a second spike should come to pass, shoppers will once more avoid crowded malls.
Overall, Simon stock trades at a low P/E multiple, and its dividend was recently resumed, as announced on June 29. If it pays at least $6.00 a share in dividends in 2020, the yield will be over 8%.
So as businesses reopen, Simon’s rental income will recover. And if the economy rebounds back to pre-Covid-19 levels, the stock will rebound back to the $100 levels in a hurry.
Wells Fargo (WFC)
Financials and energy stocks are first to falter when investors are nervous about the economy’s health. Wells Fargo fell to a low of $22 in May, and has since moved nowhere, stuck in a narrow range around $23 to $25.
That said, things could have been worse. Moody’s affirmed the company’s A2 long-term senior unsecured debt rating. The bad news here is that it changed its outlook from stable to negative.
Over the past seven years, Wells Fargo stock has a value score close to perfect (as shown in the chart to the right). Growth and quality are down after provisions rose.
Collectively though, Wells Fargo is a diversified bank whose shares are trading at too big a discount to ignore.
Sure, the company slashed its dividend, paying less than its peers, including Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) and Citigroup (NYSE:C). Yet the dividend and share buyback reduction will let the company preserve its capital. In times of potentially growing credit losses, WFC simply needs more capital on its balance sheet.
Going nowhere fast, Wells Fargo stock suits the patient investor. The business is fine and the investments in digital banking will ultimately lead to better customer service and experience. As time passes, the bad publicity over the credit card scandal will be forgotten. As management navigates through stock underperformance by reigniting the business, investors will be handsomely rewarded.
Flowserve is building an uptrend that began in March. Since May, the stock has traded in the $29.50 range, unable to recapture the previous peak over $50. That could soon change.
The specialty industry machinery firm pays a decent dividend that yields almost 3%. In the second quarter, the company posted revenue falling just 6.6% from last year, to $924.97 million.
However, adjusted earnings per share rose 152% sequentially to 53 cents (7 cents unadjusted). Although bookings fell 26.9% to $808.3 million and sales fell 6.6% Y/Y to $925 million, markets did not react negatively to the stock.
Furthermore, Flowserve reported an operating margin of 4.6% and gross margins of 28.9%. The company also reported a strong liquidity position of $1.3 billion. This includes $562 million of cash and cash equivalents and $722 million from its revolving credit facility.
Considering the high volatility in oil prices throughout Q2, Flowserve offset weak conditions with capital expenditure cuts from integrated and national oil companies. It forecast $100 million in cost reductions for 2020 and EPS of 73 cents for the first half of the year.
Disclosure: On the date of publication, Chris Lau did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article.
Chris Lau is a contributing author for InvestorPlace.com and numerous other financial sites. Chris has over 20 years of investing experience in the stock market and runs the Do-It-Yourself Value Investing Marketplace on Seeking Alpha. He shares his stock picks so readers get original insight that helps improve investment returns. As of this writing, Chris did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.