It's been a wild year for the stock market after what was an almost too-quiet 2017. Having made it through the previous year without so much as a decline beyond 4%, the markets' major indexes have undergone two full-blown corrections in 2018. And by correction, I mean a decline of at least 10% from a recent high.
Generally speaking, Wall Street and investors tend to be caught off guard when corrections rear their heads. Yet they're a lot more common than you might realize. Since the beginning of 1950, the broad-based S&P 500 has undergone 37 corrections of at least 10%, or about one every 1.8 years. Perhaps even more impressive, each and every one of these corrections, save for the ongoing one, has been completely erased by a bull market rally. If investors simply give high-quality companies time, they tend to be rewarded.
With this in mind, and with the understanding that this correction, too, shall pass, here are three value stocks investors can consider buying into right now.
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries
Generic- and branded-drug developer Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (NYSE:TEVA) is anything but a Wall Street favorite, but it's attracted the attention of value investor Warren Buffett and has become a long-term holding of yours truly. This latest correction has once again put this generic kingpin back on sale, even taking into account its recent issues.
As a refresher, Teva Pharmaceutical faced generic-drug pricing weakness, settled with U.S. regulators over bribery charges, slashed its full-year sales and profit outlook, faced generic competition for its lead branded drug (Copaxone) for the first time, and completely halted its dividend. That's why Teva's long-term chart looks like something nightmares are made of. But things are improving under new management in a big way.
According to the company, it's on track to recognize as much as $3 billion in annual cost savings in 2019 -- that's a reduction of nearly 20% in full-year expenses -- and we're beginning to see an end to generic-drug price weakness. As the largest provider of generic products, that's good news for Teva. And let's not forget that as brand-name drug prices soar, physicians and patients will opt for generic products, which is a volume game that Teva can win over the long run.
The company has also seen steady market share from multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone, which is a well-known treatment that Teva somewhat recently repackaged into a less-frequent dosing option to preserve sales and market share.
All told, Teva is valued at just over six times next year's profit estimates, which is exceptionally cheap, even with sales likely to decline in the neighborhood of 5% next year as asset sales and generic competition to Copaxone work against the company. It's a long-term value play worth serious consideration.
During stock market corrections, sometimes boring is beautiful -- and that's what telecom and content provider AT&T (NYSE:T) brings to the table.
AT&T has performed miserably since the beginning of 2017, losing about 30% of its value during that time. Investors have mostly been worried about the company's growth prospects, how it'll compete against its wireless peers, and whether it would close the Time Warner deal (which did indeed close in June).
As we look at the company now, it hasn't had a forward price-to-earnings ratio (currently 8.4) this low in at least a decade. It's also yielding close to 7% after raising its payout by 2% to $0.51 per quarter. From a value and income proposition, AT&T would be tough to top. But there's more to this company than just attractive core metrics.
AT&T has begun rolling out its 5G network in select cities this year, and will expand that rollout in 2019. Though it's not the only carrier to be testing 5G, this new network should create a data revolution wave for AT&T similar to what it experienced when LTE was pushed out by wireless carriers at the beginning of the decade. The data-hungry consumer will likely move to trade in old devices in order to stream and download content as quickly as possible at 5G speeds. That means high-margin data growth for a provider like AT&T.
And don't overlook the Time Warner deal, which added the TNT, CNN, and TBS networks. These are attractive assets that consumers are familiar with. This means they're a bargaining chip when setting advertising rates. Even more important, the content on these networks acts like a dangling carrot when AT&T makes its play to lure consumers to its video streaming services instead of its competitors. Double-digit growth for AT&T is long gone, but solid mid-single-digit growth is a real possibility for the new AT&T.
Bank of America
Another sector that's really taken it on the chin in recent weeks is financials. But as a result, there are values aplenty hiding within. Chief among them is Bank of America (NYSE:BAC).
Its share price recently traded down to levels not seen in 15 months, with concerns over domestic economic growth in 2019 weighing on the company. Also hurting has been the flattening of the yield curve. Typically, we'd like to see a nice upward-sloping curve, in which short-term Treasury bonds bear lower yields than Treasury bonds with longer maturities. This year, the gap between these short- and long-term maturities has shrunk. Since banks borrow at short-term rates and lend at long-term rates, thereby pocketing the difference as net interest margin, a flattening yield curve could discourage lending.
Then why consider Bank of America as a possible buy? Once again, we're looking at a company that hasn't been this fundamentally inexpensive in at least a decade. Though the stock has been cheaper on the basis of book value, Bank of America's forward P/E ratio of 8.5 is exceptionally low. Not to mention, with the Federal Reserve giving BofA the green light to return capital to shareholders via buybacks and dividend hikes, the company's quarterly dividend of $0.15 now works out to an annual yield of almost 2.5%.
Bank of America is also, arguably, the most interest-rate-sensitive bank of its peers when it comes to interest income. As the Fed has tightened monetary policy, no bank has seen greater gains in the form of higher net interest income than Bank of America has. Even if just a handful of rate increases are on tap next year, it could mean hundreds of millions of dollars (if not a billion) in added net interest income in 2019. And most of this added income goes straight to its bottom line.
Having put its legal troubles in the rearview mirror, boosted its on-hand equity to weather economic downturns, and somewhat minimized its domestic mortgage exposure, BofA looks to be a stock that you can bank on.