With the market on the verge of crossing into the 11th year of a bull run and major indexes near record levels, it feels like finding true "bargain stocks" has become more difficult. That's not to say there aren't high-quality companies that will go on to deliver strong performance over the long term, but stocks that appear to offer big discounts are in shorter supply compared with just a few years ago.
Finding cheap stocks is even harder if you're looking for growth plays that have what it takes to deliver explosive returns. Allocating more space in your portfolio for defensive investments may be a sensible move at this stage, but investors seeking big gains still have some promising options on the table. Read on to get the scoop on two discounted tech companies with the ability to beat expectations and be winners for your portfolio.
This Chinese e-commerce stock is looking cheap
Baozun (NASDAQ:BZUN) helps brand partners create customized online stores tailored for the Chinese market. And it provides a range of other e-commerce support services including marketing, customer service, and order fulfillment. The company has primarily been focused on helping major Western brands like Microsoft, Nike, and Starbucks expand their presence in China's fast-growing online retail market, and the trust that large companies have put in its services have helped the stock deliver impressive growth since its market debut in 2015.
Baozun's share price has climbed roughly 150% over the last three years alone, but uncertainty stemming from the fraught trade situation between the U.S. and China, the exiting of a large electronics brand from the company's platform, and slower-than-expected growth in services revenue have tamped down on the stock recently. It is down about 10% over the last 18 months, is roughly flat over the last year, and trades down 46.5% from its lifetime high.
The departure of a major electronics brand from the platform is disappointing any way you slice it, as the stickiness of Baozun's online retail and services ecosystem has been part of the stock's appeal. Based on some analysis and reports, it appears that the brand partner that left the platform may be Chinese hardware giant Huawei. That loss would be a significant setback, but signs still point to major Western brands putting their faith in Baozun. And the value that the e-commerce services company provides to companies outside China has always been at the center of its growth story.
The business added 11 net brand partners last quarter to bring its total to 223, up 69% from the end of Q3 2018. Despite the departure of that electronics brand partner from the platform, Baozun continues to bring new partners on board, so the pillars of a bullish position on Baozun appear to be intact.
China's projected GDP growth of 6.25% this year still looks relatively brisk compared with U.S. numbers, and nearly 18% growth for online retail sales in the country across the first half of 2019 reinforces a healthy outlook for e-commerce despite the trade squeeze. The country's per-capita GDP has risen from $156 in 1978 to roughly $10,000 today, and it looks like the country's middle class is on track to continue seeing increased per-capita discretionary spending in the coming decades.
If you're looking for stocks with big growth potential that trade at a discount, Baozun is a standout candidate.
A semiconductor leader powering the future
Xilinx (NASDAQ:XLNX) is another stock that has felt pressure from the U.S.-China trade war, with shares climbing just 6% on the year despite the chipmaker's compelling product line and a roughly 25% rise for the S&P 500 index level across the stretch. Xilinx's relatively weak performance this year looks even more notable in light of a rally for the broader semiconductor space, with the iShares PHLXSemiconductor ETF climbing 47% in 2019 so far.
The programmable-chip specialist's shares trade at a 36% discount from the lifetime high of $141.60 they hit in April. Xilinx's role in 5G network expansion and artificial intelligence mean that it's under more pressure than most other players in the semiconductor industry because these are areas of competition for the U.S. and China. But the stock could turn into a big winner for patient investors.
Xilinx's leading position in field-programmable gate array (FPGA) chips, its recently debuted adaptive compute acceleration platform (ACAP) for AI, and an expanding lineup of autonomous-vehicle-focused chips position it to play a key role in some of the most important technology shifts of the next decade. The near-term downside from the significance of its products is that the chipmaker is less likely to get exemptions from the Commerce Department ban on dealing with Huawei -- and potentially other large Chinese tech companies if the trade situation worsens.
The heightened trade barriers and halt to business with Huawei have put a significant damper on the company's near-term sales and earnings outlook. The stock's weak performance this year isn't surprising within that context, but Xilinx remains a category leader, and shares look cheap despite the added uncertainty.
The company's growth is going to be lumpy, and recent sell-offs reflect the unwillingness of some investors to wait out potentially turbulent times. But Xilinx has a clear lead in programmable chips, and there's a good chance that will pay off in the long run. Its solutions should see increased demand in order to support applications in data centers, connected cars, aerospace, and telecommunications.
Xilinx also pays a dividend. Its 1.6% yield might not look like much, but the company has hiked its payout annually for nine years running, and an annualized dividend that comes in at roughly 38% of free cash flow suggests the chipmaker can continue boosting its returned-income component while developing new products to power its next growth stages.