With inflation easing, and the chances of the Federal Reserve pivoting on interest rate hikes, a stock market comeback could be starting to take shape. There are many ways to play this, but you may want to focus on bargain stocks instead of diving into meme stocks or even more established growth stocks.
Why? According to some analysts, these stocks, also known as value stocks, could outperform growth names between now and when interest rates potentially start to come down. In addition, while rates could drop this year, chances are they will not fall back to the near-zero levels experienced during the pandemic.
Growth stocks, which went on a tear in 2021 thanks to near-zero rates, may have more limited recovery potential. Alongside the potential for a more significant upside in a stock market rebound, limited downside risk with bargain names in this current macro climate may be wrong, with the bear market continuing from here.
These seven bargain stocks are more favorable from a risk/reward standpoint. Thus, I think long-term investors should consider these companies above other high-growth names right now.
|LEVI||Levi Strauss & Co.||$16.67|
Boyd Gaming (BYD)
Boyd Gaming (NYSE:BYD) operates casinos and other gaming properties. Boyd’s flagship properties are in downtown Las Vegas and off the Las Vegas strip, but the company’s portfolio also includes regional properties throughout the United States.
Compared to other casino stocks, BYD stock is attractively priced. The company’s shares today trade for only 11.7-times earnings. By comparison, another prominent name in regional casino gaming, Penn Entertainment (NASDAQ:PENN), sells for 24-times earnings.
Despite trading at a deep value multiple (implying limited growth potential), one analyst (Credit Suisse’s Benjamin Chaiken) has recently argued that Boyd does, in fact, have growth catalysts in play, in large part due to Boyd’s recent acquisition of iGaming company Pala Interactive. If a gaming market downturn is milder-than-expected, and stocks are on track to re-enter a bull market, undervalued BYD may be in for a significant re-rating higher.
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In 2022, Ford (NYSE:F) shares fell out of the fast lane, with investors hitting the brakes on the legacy automaker. However, while this stock may be making a pit stop for now, a rebound could happen much sooner than the market’s current view on the state of the automotive market may suggest.
Although tailwinds like tight supply and booming demand have begun to reverse course, this headwind may have become overly factored into the valuation of F stock. Shares today trade for just 7.5-times sell-side analyst forecasts for earnings in 2023.
The current view of an auto market meltdown proves to be an overreaction. Ford could raise prices merely on reporting better-than-expected results over the next few quarters. As I argued earlier this month, Ford’s electric vehicle (or EV) catalyst isn’t going anywhere. This factor could also spark a big rebound for F stock.
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Up more than 36% in the past month, renewed bullishness has had an outsized impact on the performance of Hanesbrands (NYSE:HBI) shares. Last year, concerns about a recession, along with this apparel maker’s heavy debt load, led to a massive drop in its stock price.
Investors may be starting to realize that they overreacted, especially after management’s release of a promising guidance update earlier this month. HBI stock has zoomed back to the high single-digits, but don’t assume it’s topping out. Shares may have ample room to continue making a recovery.
Still sporting a deep value multiple (8-times earnings) and a high dividend yield (7.5%), if Hanesbrands continues to pleasantly surprise with its operating performance, HBI stock could keep climbing to a valuation more befitting of stock in the apparel industry. Similar names in the spice trade for between 10- and 15-times earnings.
Levi Strauss & Co. (LEVI)
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Among the bargain stocks on this list, Levi Strauss & Co. (NYSE:LEVI) may be a diamond in the rough. Although the current global economic downturn is a significant concern for the near-term performance of this famed denim apparel maker, a price-to-earnings (or P/E) multiple of only 12-times is far too low.
Why? Consider the value of Levi Strauss’s globally recognized brand. This company’s impressive brand equity gives Levi a deep economic moat. As financial challenges dissipate and focus shifts to post-downturn results, LEVI stock is likely to return to a much higher valuation.
Before the stock market downturn, shares were trading for between 15 and 20 times earnings. If Levi Strauss can deliver profits in line with forecasts for 2024 ($1.56 per share), it may not be difficult for LEVI to nearly double in price, from $17 back to the low-$30s per share.
Occidental Petroleum (OXY)
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Occidental Petroleum (NYSE:OXY) performed very well in 2022. This was due to the big jump in crude oil prices and Warren Buffett’s continued purchase of shares for the Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-A) portfolio.
However, more recently, as oil has pulled back and the “Buffett buzz” surrounding this company has faded, OXY stock has fallen into a slump. Still, if you’re bullish on economic conditions normalizing this year, now may be a great time to buy this bargain stock. Currently, OXY trades for only 5.2-times earnings.
If the global economy improves and China begins its post-pandemic “reopening,” oil demand (and therefore prices) could keep rising. Boosting profitability could help OXY make a comeback in 2023. Looking beyond the near-term, success with the company’s carbon capture endeavor could be another significant catalyst for the undervalued oil stock over the next few years.
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Like comparable names in its industry, Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) has been hammered by the chip market slowdown. Yet, in contrast to many of its peers, this mobile chip maker shares have entered bargain stocks territory. How so?
Other chip stocks have become cheaper, but still sport premium valuations. QCOM stock, on the other hand, trades at a low 12.8-times forward estimated earnings. That makes it even more affordable than Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), a longstanding “value play” (or “value trap,” depending on who you ask) among chip stocks. INTC currently trades for 16-times forward earnings.
In a recent interview on CNBC, Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon made promising statements regarding the semiconductor industry’s long-term demand prospects, and Qualcomm’s move into faster-growing areas such as advanced chips for the automotive industry. These factors could help re-accelerate growth for the company and help send QCOM back to substantially higher prices.
United Airlines (UAL)
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The airline industry has made a stunning post-pandemic comeback. United Airlines (NASDAQ:UAL) is no exception. The legacy airline is now not only generating revenues that exceed levels reported right before the pandemic.
According to management, UAL’s earnings this year could be as high as $12 per share, exceeding the $11.58 per share in earnings reported in 2019. Investors are starting to take a “wait and see” approach with UAL stock. With a recession looming, it makes sense that many investors are skeptical that United will keep taking off.
That said, even if this airline only delivers results in line with sell-side forecasts ($7.63 per share), one can argue UAL is already in the bargain stocks category, with a forward price-earnings ratio of around 6.5-times. As Louis Navellier recently argued, there may be a strong chance United exceeds expectations based on current airline demand trends.
On the date of publication, Thomas Niel did not hold (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.
Thomas Niel, contributor for InvestorPlace.com, has been writing single-stock analysis for web-based publications since 2016.