Some of my esteemed InvestorPlace colleagues might get upset if I used the phrase “market crash.” I know at least one that would say that this selloff is a temporary blip before we lift off for the moon. And with the S&P 500 index down nearly 9% year-to-date (YTD), contrarians have plenty of choices for undervalued stocks.
Of course, the tricky part is determining first and foremost whether we’re at the beginning of an extended correction or if this is a bear trap. Personally, I’m leaning on the former. With equities trading on margin near blisteringly high records, it’s a reasonable assumption that many of your favorite names are either undervalued stocks now or will soon own the label.
However, I could be wrong about this assessment — and it wouldn’t be the first nor last time I’ve been wrong about something. Assuming that this correction is merely temporary, it would behoove investors to consider acquiring prime undervalued stocks. But a bigger point is that whether you believe in the bull or bear thesis, you’re both agreeing that the opportunity exists; merely the timing is debatable.
Well, I’m going to save you some time by saying that no one can accurately and consistently predict the timing of the market: not your neighbor, nor a self-appointed, self-help YouTube guru and especially not an expert investment analyst. Look, if experts could predict the market accurately and consistently, they’d literally own the world in a few years. Thus, your realistic option is to wager on prime undervalued stocks to buy.
Indeed, I’m here because nobody knows the future. Instead, we can position ourselves based on well-reasoned probabilities. Therefore, take this opportunity to think about high-quality undervalued stocks to buy that are now on an attractive discount.
- Invesco (NYSE:IVZ)
- International Paper (NYSE:IP)
- Foot Locker (NYSE:FL)
- Rio Tinto (NYSE:RIO)
- Quest Diagnostics (NYSE:DGX)
- Smith & Wesson Brands (NASDAQ:SWBI)
- CarMax (NYSE:KMX)
While the idea of scooping undervalued stocks that you may have had your eyes on may be psychologically appealing, you should also note that there are risks involved with this concept. Namely, it’s possible that the global markets could sink in further. Therefore, practice due diligence and perhaps consider nibbling a little bit at a time to keep the powder keg dry.
Undervalued Stocks: Invesco (IVZ)
A global independent investment management firm, Invesco is one of the powerhouses in high finance with $1.61 trillion in assets under management. Furthermore, it has an impressive physical reach, with an on-the-ground presence in 20 countries. However, being that Invesco is so tied with the equities sector, it might not be the first idea to come to mind about undervalued stocks to buy.
To be fair, Invesco has been taking some heat. On the Jan. 21 session which saw the major U.S. indices meltdown to close the third week of the new year, IVZ stock dropped 3%. Against the January opener, shares are down almost 8%. Still, per data from Google Finance, at the time of writing, the volatility has contributed to a relatively low price-earnings (P/E) ratio of under 9 times.
Against forward earnings, the metric dips to a little under seven times, below its industry median forward PE ratio of just below 12 times. Narrative wise, I’m looking at Invesco because more than ever, the company’s clients are looking to the experts — that’s experts without quotation marks — to guide them through this troubling storm.
International Paper (IP)
Have you ever heard the phrase “get it on paper,” “have it in writing” or any similar derivative? While we’re hurtling through the information age and the digitalization of everything era, it’s important to note that analog still has an intrinsic place in our society. At the most extreme end of the spectrum, though paper can be destroyed, it also can never be hacked.
With so much of our lives (and our data) floating around on the world wide web, it’s always nice to have a paper backup. Additionally, it’s just good corporate practice to keep hard copies of everything and store vital analog data in secure facilities. That way, should a catastrophic incident occur, the affected business has a blueprint to recovery.
Therefore, while the mere mentioning of International Paper could be considered anachronistic by some, it’s one of the undervalued stocks because relatively few appreciate its significance. Plus, with the rise of e-commerce, demand for packaging materials will help sustain the industry.
Finally, for those who look at key financial metrics, IP stock features a forward PE ratio of more than 10 times, below the industry median of about 13.
Undervalued Stocks: Foot Locker (FL)
In my view, Foot Locker is one of the riskiest undervalued stocks to buy simply because the consumer retail environment could become volatile over the next several months, depending upon how equity valuations affect the broader economy. Still, for those tied to the numbers, FL stock presents a very interesting case.
Currently, the athletic footwear and apparel retailer has a PE ratio of right around 5 times. What’s more, its forward PE ratio is 6.8, well below the industry median of 16.1. Against other ratios such as price to book and price to sales, FL stock is attractively valued relative to its retail peers. In fact, as I write this, Gurufocus.com, using its proprietary algorithms, ranks FL stock’s valuation as a 10 out of 10.
Does that automatically make Foot Locker one of the best undervalued stocks to buy? Not necessarily. However, it’s important for me to bring this to your attention. Even if it’s not my cup of tea, it could be yours.
Overall, Foot Locker has an attractive, albeit somewhat cynical narrative. With people incurring weight gain due to the sedentary nature of working from home and looking to get more into fitness, FL stock could rise from the muck.
Rio Tinto (RIO)
Rio Tinto is another name among undervalued stocks to buy that are quite risky, in this case for political reasons. Per a Reuters report, Serbia recently revoked the company’s lithium exploration licenses. This action bowed to protestors “who opposed the development of the project by the Anglo-Australian mining giant on environmental grounds.”
Naturally, as CNN Business mentioned, the decision hurt Rio Tinto’s “ambition to become Europe’s largest supplier of the metal,” which of course represents the key commodity that go into electric vehicles (EVs). I hate to think that the matter could have come down to the sport of tennis, but CNN mentioned the vaccination drama over star athlete Novak Djokovic and Australia’s coronavirus-related entry rules.
Naturally, during the Jan. 21 session, RIO stock shares declined by 2.4%. Though a sizable hit, the equity unit is still up for the year by 10%. Part of that could come down to how relevant the underlying company has become in light of new technologies.
Better yet, RIO stock is technically considered undervalued, with a PE ratio of 6.3 times. In addition, its forward PE of 7.3 is under the industry median of 11.5.
Undervalued Stocks: Quest Diagnostics (DGX)
Although Quest Diagnostics is one of the more intriguing undervalued stocks to buy on paper, it’s also an example of why you don’t want to focus exclusively on any one analytical tool. For instance, Gurufocus.com ranks the valuation of DGX stock as an eight out of 10, suggesting that it’s a better-priced acquisition opportunity than most of its peers.
While that could be correct, there’s also a reason for it: Quest Diagnostics saw its shares rise during the new normal when demand for Covid-19 testing blew through the roof. Sure, the omicron variant and its highly transmissible nature is a problem. But generally speaking, “daily Covid-19 test numbers are falling nationwide.”
Unsurprisingly, DGX stock is down nearly 21% YTD, making it one of the hardest-hit prime undervalued stocks. Nevertheless, it might not be time to relax. According to Dr. Davey Smith, Head of Infectious Diseases and Global Public Health at U.C. San Diego, “Maybe the variant that comes afterward, Pi, might actually be as infectious or more infectious than omicron and yet deadly like delta.”
If so, DGX stock could be a surprise winner though this is a high-risk, high-reward angle.
Smith & Wesson Brands (SWBI)
When running away from a bear, you don’t need to be the fastest, just faster than the slowest person in your group. Conversely, when hoping to avoid a speeding ticket, you don’t need to be the slowest driver out there, just conspicuously slower than the fastest car.
A similar experience just happened to me. I was driving, you know, a couple of miles over the posted speed limit. But then, my exit was coming up so I slowed down to take it. Good thing too because just as I did so, a blisteringly fast car whipped by me, followed by lights and sirens.
None of us like receiving speeding tickets. But let’s be honest: at least 90% of the time, you know you’re in the wrong.
Unfortunately, we’re in a period where personal responsibility is flying out the window. Worse yet, some folks are taking out their frustrations on law enforcement, creating unnecessarily dangerous encounters. Not unexpectedly, low morale is affecting police officers. Likely, fewer young people will consider a career in law enforcement.
That’s too bad. But cynically, it bodes well for Smith & Wesson Brands as people consider taking self-protection into their own hands. SWBI stock is controversial, yet it’s also one of the most undervalued stocks, with a PE ratio just more than three times.
Undervalued Stocks: CarMax (KMX)
For me, CarMax is the riskiest name on this list of undervalued stocks because its business narrative is so counterintuitive. As everybody knows, a mass-produced car almost never becomes an appreciating asset. That doesn’t mean personal vehicles don’t have utility because they do. But they will lose value over time.
That’s when the novel coronavirus came along and said, “hold my beer.” Naturally, one of the beneficiaries is CarMax, the used-car retailer that’s been absolutely killing it. Due primarily to semiconductor shortages, new car inventory has been decimated relative to historical standards, thus boosting the value of used cars. Still, as we Americans like to say, this too shall pass.
However, will it pass in 2022? That to me is a big question mark, something I’ve been debating in my head throughout the new normal. You see, it’s not just about semiconductor count; rather, the chipmakers themselves don’t want to feed automotive demand because the industry utilizes low-margin chips that also require more physical materials.
It’s the worst of both worlds for chipmakers, which is why used-car prices might still be elevated throughout this year.
On the date of publication, Josh Enomoto 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.
A former senior business analyst for Sony Electronics, Josh Enomoto has helped broker major contracts with Fortune Global 500 companies. Over the past several years, he has delivered unique, critical insights for the investment markets, as well as various other industries including legal, construction management, and healthcare.