With the rise of artificial intelligence and other digital innovations offering myriad efficiencies and conveniences, the idea of deliberately seeking undervalued non-tech stocks might appear anachronistic. Sure, undervalued securities have their appeal because of the discount effect. However, in the case of “analog” businesses, there appears to be a reason why they’re bargain ideas.
Still, buying non-tech stocks may offer hidden value because of a harsh reality: technology fails. I’m not just talking about catastrophic failures. Rather, incidents like cybercrime – an escalating crisis that may end up costing the world trillions of dollars to mitigate – imply that analog backups are always useful. Further, non-nefarious events such as inclement weather could easily damage or outright destroy tech.
Another reason to consider non-tech stocks with high value is their underlying permanent relevance. While digital innovations can make for better planning or operational management, at the end of the day, humans have to conduct much of the work. And certain industries simply require a human touch or intuition. Finally, while AI might take over several jobs, others require human intervention or oversight. This framework provides a potential opportunity for the best non-tech stocks to buy.
Heritage-Crystal Clean (HCCI)
Based in Illinois, Heritage-Crystal Clean (NASDAQ:HCCI) provides parts cleaning, used oil re-refining, and hazardous and non-hazardous waste services primarily to small and mid-sized customers in the vehicle maintenance sector. In addition, it offers the same services to manufacturers and other industrial businesses. What makes Heritage-Crystal one of the undervalued non-tech stocks to buy is its practically permanent relevance.
Let’s look at it this way. The reason why investors love banking on technology firms is that their products and services often enable accelerated growth. However, in many industries, burgeoning demand profiles leave behind waste products that must be addressed for obvious reasons. Since society at scale probably won’t stop growing anytime soon, HCCI should enjoy an upward trajectory.
Even better, HCCI classifies as one of the non-tech stocks with high value. Despite gaining nearly 47% over the past 365 days, Heritage-Crystal may have more room to run. Specifically, the market prices shares at a forward multiple of 14.17. As a discount to projected earnings, the company ranks better than 63.64% of its peers.
Iron Mountain (IRM)
Founded in 1951, Iron Mountain (NYSE:IRM) bills itself as the global leader in storage and information management services. Per its corporate profile, more than 225,000 organizations around the world trust Iron Mountain with its sensitive and irreplaceable documents and resources. Notably, the company features a physical storage footprint of nearly 93 million square feet. This stat encompasses 1,450 facilities in 56 countries.
Fundamentally, Iron Mountain represents a compelling idea for undervalued non-tech stocks because tech often fails. As stated near the top, while digitalization has been wonderful, you’re only a natural disaster or a terrible blackout away from losing critical resources. Therefore, Iron Mountain provides a sort of hard insurance, something that allows corporate managers to sleep easier at night.
From a financial point of view, the company offers a decent expansion of the top line. On a per-share basis, its three-year revenue growth rate clocks in at 5.6%, above 72.2% of its peers. Nevertheless, the market prices shares at only 3.21 times trailing sales, ranking better than 80.73% of the competition. So, if you’re looking to buy non-tech stocks, IRM is awfully enticing.
International Paper (IP)
Headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee, International Paper (NYSE:IP) is a leading global producer of renewable fiber-based packaging, pulp, and paper products. Per its public profile, the company features manufacturing operations in North America, Latin America, and North Africa. For the geopolitically conscious, International Paper previously conducted business in Russia. However, it divested from this business, according to a Wall Street Journal article earlier this year.
From a fundamental angle, IP ranks among the undervalued basic industry stocks because it serves myriad needs. Believe it or not, plain old paper still represents a valuable commodity for both business and personal reasons. Also, its packaging business should blossom thanks to the burgeoning e-commerce industry.
Following an artificial spike, e-commerce sales as a percentage of total retail sales have been steadily rising since the second quarter of 2022. That should be good news for IP. Finally, the stock trades at a trailing multiple of 8.86. As a discount to earnings, International Paper ranks better than 78% of its peers. Thus, it’s one of the undervalued non-tech stocks to buy.
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.