Market uncertainty heightened when scientists detected omicron, a Covid-19 variant, in Africa. Ahead of the discovery, markets speculated that Federal Reserve Chair would delay his plans of a taper. Tapering involves slowing and eliminating the government purchase of debt. In light of the emergence of omicron, Fed Chair Jerome Powell told a congressional committee that the new variant poses new risks to the U.S. economy. He also said that the Fed should consider speeding up its tapering more quickly.
Since the government delayed its tapering plans previously and is still considering it, investors should expect the Fed to delay its taper. Just as it considered inflation as temporary before shifting its stance, it will probably keep buying bonds. Investors should build stock positions in companies that will benefit from the delayed taper. Chances are good that interest rates will remain low.
The omicron variant will add market uncertainties for the next month. But the delta variant is still a risk to the world. Most people received their full vaccination around six months ago. Governments will need to roll out a booster shot campaign to prevent delta from spreading.
Amid the pandemic preventing the Fed from tapering, investors may consider these seven stocks to buy. The chosen companies represent different sectors, from real estate investment trusts like Realty Income to PayPal, a fintech whose online transactions keep growing. Those firms will fare well in a low-interest-rate environment and a loose monetary policy.
They are listed in alphabetical order:
- Aptiv (NYSE:APTV)
- Best Buy (NYSE:BBY)
- Consolidated Edison (NYSE:ED)
- IBM (NYSE:IBM)
- JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM)
- Realty Income (NYSE:O)
- PayPal Holdings (NASDAQ:PYPL)
Stocks to Buy: Aptiv (APTV)
A semiconductor chip shortage is lifting the value of automobiles. This will benefit auto parts companies like Aptiv. Aptiv pulled back slightly after announcing a $1.5 billion bond offering.
In the third quarter, Aptiv posted revenue of $3.7 billion, falling by 5% year on year. It earned 32 cents a share on net income of $86 million. The GAAP operating income margin of 5.9% could rise in the coming quarter. Aptiv is optimizing its cost structure while investing in high-margin technologies. This will give its customers greater value.
In its transformation, Aptiv exited low-margin product lines. It spun off its powertrain segment. From here, the company may build its business by offering unique capabilities. The company acquired companies to bolster its software and data management capabilities. Furthermore, it established Motional, an autonomous driving joint venture with Hyundai.
In 2023, Lyft (NASDAQ:LYFT) will run a fully driverless fleet of vehicles. Aptiv’s growth will improve as more vehicles use software-defined solutions.
On Wall Street, analysts have an average price target of $195 on APTV stock (according to Tipranks).
Best Buy (BBY)
Best Buy’s steep plunge after posting quarterly results gives value investors a good entry point. Although the stock erased the October to November run-up, electronics retail has multiple catalysts ahead.
Black Friday sales are a seasonally important period for Best Buy. The company may have pared promotional offerings, which will lift its operating margins. In the upcoming holiday, sales of Best Buy gift cards could give its quarterly results a boost.
In the third-quarter, Best Buy posted comparable sales increasing by 2%. It earned $2 a share. For the year, it expects sales to grow in the range of 10.5% to 11.5%. Consumers have stronger purchasing power, as wages rise. Next year, retailers like Best Buy will continue to benefit from consumer spending trending higher.
Shrinkage, or retail crime, is a risk for Best Buy. Management has a plan to protect its people and customers while clamping down on theft. It could hire security guards or police to handle the increased crime. This will help its future gross margins recover.
This quarter, it does not have government stimulus money or a new gaming console release like last year. Still, the Super Bowl will shift product demand into Q1 of next year.
Stocks to Buy: Consolidated Edison (ED)
Consolidated Edison posted revenue growing by 8.4% Y/Y to $3.61 billion. It reaffirmed its FY2021 EPS range of $4.15 to $4.35. The electric utility firm is a steady provider of dividends, regardless of the Fed’s tapering or rate hikes.
Con Ed grew its earnings by lowering healthcare costs and benefiting from a higher electric rate base. Ultimately, its transition to a clean energy future is a positive catalyst. For example, the firm has large energy storage projects. Chief Executive Officer Timothy P. Cawley said that lets its customers maximize the benefits of renewable energy.
Con Ed is one of the slower regulated utility dividend growers. Its cash flow growth slowed recently, while interest expenses increased. Investors could consider buying Southern (NYSE:SO) or Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK), instead. Still, shareholders are trading off its lower dividend growth rate for its investments in the clean energy space.
After a rally in the last few weeks, ED stock is not at a discount. Investors could wait for a pullback before starting a position in this dividend-paying utility.
In the technology sector, IBM’s slump after spinning off Kyndryl gives investors an entry point. IBM has a portfolio to grow even though it posted weak revenue in the last quarter.
In Q3, the company posted revenue of $17.6 billion and earnings of $2.52 a share. Both figures barely met analyst consensus estimates. The company could reverse the stock’s slump starting in 2022. It has a new product cycle in hardware that will drive first-half revenue next year. Furthermore, the company will step up acquisitions to fuel growth.
After technology stocks fell on valuation concerns in the last month, IBM could buy a software firm at a discount. It could strengthen its consulting business by widening software and services for customers. As IBM Consulting drives platform adoption, demand for Red Hat and other products may increase.
IBM still has to win back investor confidence. The weak revenue in Q3 will discourage technology investors from buying a slow-grower. Still, IBM acquired 17 companies since April 2020. Companies like Bluetab and Boxboat will strengthen their Hybrid Cloud consulting features. Clients will notice the innovation and will implement more IBM-powered solutions.
Stocks to Buy: JPMorgan Chase (JPM)
In the banking sector, JPMorgan will reward investors as the economy heats up. In the third quarter, the company posted revenue of $29.64 billion.
Despite low interest rate levels, JP Morgan reported a net interest income of $38.71 billion. It expects a net interest income of $52.5 billion. The Fed’s interest rate hike will lift the bank’s interest income in 2022 and beyond. And the tapering delay will keep the economy running hot. That creates a favorable environment for the bank.
Chief Financial Officer Jeremy Barnum said that as central banks normalize their policy stance, JP Morgan will have more opportunities. This includes front-end deployment, cash, and growth in its credit card business.
Smaller companies are also increasing lending activities with the bank. After removing any pandemic-related credit pullbacks, investors should expect JP Morgan’s net loan growth to grow. This will add to the company’s earnings growth in the next year.
After pulling back from the $172.96 high, investors should consider JPM stock at current levels.
Realty Income (O)
On Dec. 2, Realty Income issued a business update. The REIT acquired properties worth around $1.1 billion from Oct. 1, 2021, through Dec. 1, 2021. It will purchase another $1.1 billion in properties.
The update will clarify how the company is using the over $1.5 billion and capital raised. The company is not slowing down in building its portfolio, after acquiring Vereit. It is building its international pipeline and adding meaningful value to its portfolio. In Q3, international acquisitions accounted for around one-third of the total acquisition volume. By debuting its acquisitions in Continental Europe and Spain, investors get geographical diversity by holding O stock.
Realty generates healthy spreads. Yields could fluctuate more with its international exposure. Yet the mix of retail and industrial exposure will maximize the stock’s dividend payment target. Last month, it increased its dividend by 5.1%. Each share pays $2.952 a share, up from $2.832.
Shareholders will benefit from the Vereit acquisition. Realty will integrate its staff with its acquisitions team. As the team pursues transactions, the stock’s return will rise steadily.
Stocks to Buy: PayPal Holdings (PYPL)
Amid panic selling in payment tech firms in late November, PayPal fell to 52-week lows. In the third quarter, the company posted strong results and issued Q4 guidance.
In Q3, PayPal posted revenue of $6.18 billion. Payment transactions grew by 22% Y/Y to 4.9 billion. Venmo processed an impressive $60 billion in total payment volume, up by 36% from last year.
The firm forecasted revenue of between $6.85 billion and $6.95 billion in Q4. Importantly, its deal with Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) to offer to check out with Venmo is a game-changer. PayPal needs a big e-commerce firm like Amazon to increase the traction of Venmo. The higher the TPV, the more revenue PayPal will get some time in 2022.
Online payment activity is growing quickly. PayPal must entrench its online payment services or risk losing market share to Visa (NYSE:V) or Mastercard (NYSE:MA). The stock may still trade at unfavorable valuations compared to banks though. This could pressure the stock as tax-loss sellers close their position. As the holiday consumer buying season approaches, PayPal’s business will flourish. Investors who buy PYPL stock from here could bet that the stock surges ahead of next quarter’s results.
On the date of publication, Chris Lau did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.
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.