Ah, it’s March, when an investor’s heart turns to… value. The first two months of the year have been unimpressive with markets facing multiple headwinds. There have already been bouts of panic selling. Some high-beta stocks have seen meaningful correction. At the same time several undervalued stocks now trade at more juicy levels.
A time-tested strategy to make money in the markets is to buy during panic and sell at times of euphoria. The current market condition looks like a good opportunity to gobble-up some undervalued stocks. It’s an additional bonus if the stocks are undervalued and have a relatively low-beta.
With the prospects of multiple rate hikes in 2022, the markets will likely continue to face headwinds. The escalation in geo-political tensions and its impact on the global economy remains to be seen. Of course, I am not painting a gloomy picture through 2022.
The correction has likely discounted several concerns. It makes sense to go shopping with a gradual accumulation strategy. Any further corrections can be used to average down. However, I believe that the undervalued stocks in discussion below have bottomed out.
In a relief rally scenario, these stocks are likely to deliver healthy returns in the short-term. Let’s discuss these value buys.
- AT&T (NYSE:T)
- British American Tobacco (NYSE:BTI)
- Pfizer (NYSE:PFE)
- Rio Tinto (NYSE:RIO)
- 3M Company (NYSE:MMM)
- Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT)
- Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX)
Undervalued Stocks to Buy in March 2022: AT&T (T)
With an impending spin-off, AT&T stock looks grossly undervalued at current levels of $23.20. The stock trades at a forward price-to-earnings-ratio of 7.5 and the downside is capped from current levels. However, once the spin-off is completed, I believe that T stock is positioned for upside.
An important point to note is that even as the stock trends lower, business developments have been encouraging. For 2021, the company reported net post-paid phone additions of 3.2 million. The company also added more than one million fiber subscribers during the period. With the acceleration in 5G adoption, AT&T is positioned to benefit in the coming years.
In the digital media segment, the company reported a growth of 13 million subscribers globally for HBO Max and HBO Global. At the end of 2021, the total subscribers swelled to 73.8 million.
It’s also worth noting that for 2021, AT&T reported $26.8 billion in free cash flow. With healthy cash flows, the company expects to reduce net-debt to 2.5x by the end of 2023.
AT&T has also indicated that the company will cut dividends after the spin-off. However, this factor is already discounted in the stock. If the core mobility business continues to grow, the company will be positioned to increase dividends in the coming years.
Overall, selling seems to be overdone for T stock. I would not be surprised if there is a sharp reversal rally in March.
British American Tobacco (BTI)
British American Tobacco is another name that’s worth considering among undervalued stocks. At a forward P/E of 9.7, the stock seems poised for upside. It’s also worth noting that BTI stock offers an attractive dividend yield of 6.35%.
In the beginning of December 2021, the stock was trading at $33.60. The stock is already 30% higher at $43.60. The recent volatility in the market had induced some correction in the price. This seems like a good accumulation opportunity.
One reason for the positive momentum in the stock is business growth across segments. British American has been in a transformation phase with increasing focus on non-combustible products.
In the non-combustible segment, the company has already achieved revenue of GBP 2 billion ($2.68 billion). The company claims to have more than 18 million consumers of non-combustible products.
At the same time, combustible segment revenue has grown at a CAGR of 3% in the last three-years. Therefore, the core business segment continues to grow at a steady pace. This has helped in providing cash flow support for investing in the non-combustible business. Further, dividends are safe with operating cash flow of GBP 9.7 billion 2021.
BTI stock is therefore worth considering at current levels. As the business momentum remains positive, the stock is likely to trend higher.
Undervalued Stocks to Buy in March 2022: Pfizer (PFE)
Pfizer stock has trended higher by 38% in the last 12 months. However, the stock still trades at a forward P/E of 6.7. Further, with a dividend yield of 3.37%, PFE stock is among the top undervalued stocks to consider.
The reason for strong growth in revenue and earnings has been the covid-19 vaccine. For 2021, Pfizer reported revenue of $81.3 billion. On a year-on-year basis, revenue growth was 92%.
Even for the current year, the company has guided for revenue of $100 billion (mid-range). This would imply over 20% top-line growth on a YoY basis. At the same time, cash flows are likely to swell.
It’s likely that revenue from the vaccine will decelerate from a relative basis from 2023. However, Pfizer has a deep pipeline of clinical trials. This is likely to ensure that long-term growth remains healthy.
Pfizer has also been in an acquisition mode in the last few quarters. This will also help in boosting the development pipeline. Last year, Pfizer invested $10.5 billion in research and development. Considering the financial flexibility, investments will continue to increase and further boost the product pipeline visibility.
These factors make PFE stock attractive. Also, considering the market volatility, the low-beta stock is worth holding in the portfolio.
Rio Tinto (RIO)
Rio Tinto stock is another name that trades at a forward P/E of well below 10. The 9.7% dividend yield stock seems like an attractive buy at current levels of $75.
With commodity price inflation, Rio Tinto has the benefit as free cash flow swells. For 2021, Rio reported $38 billion in EBITDA and $18 billion in free cash flow. However, that’s not the only reason to be bullish on the business.
The company is diversified with focus on commodities that include iron ore, aluminum and copper. The U.S. infrastructure bill, investments in green energy and rising adoption of electric vehicles are all factors that will trigger demand for these commodities.
Therefore, the medium to long-term price trend for these commodities is likely to be favorable. This positions Rio Tinto for sustained cash flow growth. It’s also worth noting that as of 2021, the company reported net-cash position of $1.6 billion.
The balance sheet will allow the company to make aggressive investments. For the current year, Rio Tinto expects to incur a capital expenditure of $8 billion. In the next two years, the investments are guided to increase further to an annual range of $9 to $10 billion.
Rio stock is therefore attractive with growth and cash flow upside visibility.
Undervalued Stocks to Buy in March 2022: 3M Company (MMM)
MMM stock has declined by almost 23% in the last six-months. Litigation risk seems high for 3M and that’s the reason for the deep correction.
However, it’s worth noting that Morgan Stanley believes that in the worst-case scenario, the litigation could cost the company $53 billion. In the best-case, the cost is likely to be $2 billion. The markets seem to have discounted this in the recent correction.
Since litigation cost is a headwind, it’s important to look at the financial profile. For Q4 2021, 3M reported adjusted free cash flow of $1.5 billion. This implies an annualized FCF of $6.0 billion.
It’s also worth noting that 3M reported organic revenue growth of 8.8% for 2021. If growth sustains, FCF is likely to accelerate.
Therefore, even after capital investments, the company has the financial headroom for dividends and for boosting the cash buffer. The litigation cost is unlikely to significantly stress the company’s balance sheet.
From a long-term perspective, 3M has strong presence in emerging markets. This can serve as a revenue and earnings growth catalyst.
With innovation being a key differentiator, the company is positioned to create value. Presence in sectors like home improvement, automotive, healthcare and manufacturing ensure a big addressable market.
Lockheed Martin (LMT)
The recent escalation in geo-political tensions have boosted the outlook for defense stocks, with investors locked-on to Lockheed Martin . For year-to-date 2022, LMT stock has trended higher by 15%. Even after the recent rally, the stock still trades at an attractive forward P/E of 15.5.
It’s also worth noting that LMT stock offers investors a dividend of $11.2. This implies an annualized dividend yield of 2.74%.
From a business growth perspective, Germany recently announced that it will boost its defense spending. It’s targeted at above 2% of the GDP. In the coming quarters, it’s very likely that U.S. allies will boost defense spending.
Lockheed Martin has already been focusing on orders from outside the United States. The stock action is reflective of the potential change in the company’s growth trajectory.
Another point to note is that Lockheed reported an order backlog of $135 billion as of Q4 2021. For the current year and next year, the company expects consolidated free cash flow of $12.1 billion. This provides ample headroom for dividends and aggressive share repurchase.
Overall, LMT stock has positive industry tailwinds and the current break-out is likely to translate into a bigger rally.
Undervalued Stocks to Buy in March 2022: Chevron Corporation (CVX)
Given the current geo-political scenario, crude oil has been in an uptrend. It’s a good time to remain invested in quality oil and gas stocks. CVX stock has trended higher by 37% in the last 12 months. However, Chevron stock still looks undervalued at a forward P/E of 12.8.
Additionally, CVX stock also offers investors a dividend yield of 4.05%. Considering the company’s balance sheet and cash flow potential, dividends are sustainable.
It’s worth noting that for 2021, Chevron reported operating cash flow of $29.2 billion. For the current year, OCF is likely to be higher as realized oil price increases. Chevron will therefore be positioned for aggressive investments with the company having a significant resource base.
The oil giant has reported a reserve replacement ratio of 103% in the last five years. The reserves and resources give the company long-term cash flow visibility. With low break-even assets, the company is positioned to deliver robust free cash flows even if oil corrects from current levels.
The strong cash flows have also allowed Chevron to invest in renewable assets. In particular, Chevron is building a hydrogen hub with a potential capacity of 150 kilo-tonnes per annum by 2030. Recently, Chevron also announced the acquisition of Renewable Energy Group (NASDAQ:REGI) for a consideration of $3.1 billion.
Financial flexibility will allow the company to purse opportunistic acquisition driven growth and diversification. Overall, CVX stock is attractive for the foreseeable future and is also worth holding in the long-term portfolio.
On the date of publication, Faisal Humayun did not hold (either directly or indirectly) any positions in any of the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.
Faisal Humayun is a senior research analyst with 12 years of industry experience in the field of credit research, equity research and financial modelling. Faisal has authored over 1,500 stock specific articles with focus on the technology, energy and commodities sector.