Investors are still searching for a bottom in the stock market. We don’t know if it’s already in or if more pain is coming. What we do know is that there are stocks to buy in the meantime. Specifically, there are stocks to buy now before the market bottoms.
There are plenty of high-quality, blue-chip stocks that are being battered right now. That’s particularly true in tech, as this group has come under strong selling pressure.
While many sectors and industries continue to do well — or at least hold — there’s a clear recession in tech. Many companies are undergoing job layoffs and hiring pauses. The concern is palpable within this group, particularly as mega-cap tech finally comes under pressure.
Let’s look for bargains as the market pain seems set to reverse.
|GOOGL, GOOG||Alphabet||$93.54, $93.70|
Alphabet (GOOGL, GOOG)
I have been writing about Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL, NASDAQ:GOOG) a lot lately, but it’s hard not to. Admittedly, the business is under pressure as digital-ad spending continues to drop. That’s as companies bear down ahead of a potential recession and look to preserve their finances.
That said, Alphabet stock is still forecast to grow revenue by 10% this year and 9% in 2023.
Further, the company owns the two most popular websites in the world, Google.com, and YouTube.com, respectively. I like to refer to these as the internet’s Boardwalk and Park Place.
Despite the reduction in growth, Alphabet should be just fine. It boasts more than $116 billion in cash and equivalents on its balance sheet. Further, the stock trades at 18.5 times this year’s earnings and 16 times next year’s estimates. That’s as the stock has suffered a 45% decline, its worst fall since the Great Recession.
We could see lower prices for Alphabet — potentially into the $75 to $80 area — but generally speaking, it looks attractive below $90.
Like Alphabet, I’ve written much about Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) lately, but allow me to humor you for a moment.
If you don’t believe me, look at the long-term numbers. The market moves in big cycles. It enjoys long secular bull markets, then painful but generally shorter bear markets. When the bull market re-emerges — and it will — it will likely have new leaders that drive it to the upside. New stocks become large-cap holdings, then mega-cap holdings like Microsoft today.
That doesn’t mean Microsoft, Alphabet, and the others have to die off or become International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM). It just means they will not likely be the next 1,000% gainers over the next decade.
However, that also doesn’t mean they are not stocks to buy now.
Microsoft stock was down about 39% at its low, marking its worst decline since the Great Recession. I’m sorry, but I’m a buyer when a high-quality, blue-chip company falls ~40% from the highs.
This company has better operating margins than all of FAANG, and outside of this year — where it still has positive earnings and revenue growth — it’s forecast to generate double-digit top-and-bottom-line growth for three straight years through FY 2026.
Salesforce (NYSE:CRM) comes with a caveat here because I would love to get my hands on this stock in the $115 to $120 area. Currently trading in the mid-$140s (as of writing), I’m not sure if we will get that opportunity. I hope that we will because Salesforce is quickly becoming a value stock.
I will admit, listening to the conference calls of other cloud-based companies and some of the pressures we’re seeing in B2B spending among tech — and based on commentary from Salesforce last quarter — I do expect some pressure in its business.
That said, analysts forecast flat earnings growth this year on 17% revenue growth. Beyond that, analysts’ estimates for both earnings and revenue are incredibly attractive over the next few years.
While this company seems to have become the face of “overvalued stocks” in years past, that’s not so much the case anymore. Shares trade just under 30 times this year’s earnings and 26.5 times next year’s estimates.
Lastly, if we see the stock trade at $120 and estimates stay the same, those valuations drop to 25 times and 21 times, respectively. That’s cheap.
On the date of publication, Bret Kenwell held a long position in MSFT. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.