If you didn't get in on Beyond Meat, Advanced Micro Devices, or Tesla before 2020, you may be too late for their life-changing gains. Fortunately, there may be some leftover winners that are still flying under the radar.
Cisco: Hidden tech
Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) is the slow and steady turtle in an industry full of rabbits. It also has plenty of upside left, off of its 52-week high of $58.26, and it sweetens the pot with a 3% dividend. The company's dominance in networking and the Internet of Things, and collaboration in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region should make it increasingly profitable in a 5G future.
Also, being blocked from doing deals in China has not hurt the bottom line too much. Worldwide sales hit $13.4 billion; Chinese sales accounted for only $33 million. Add to that the fact that Cisco loves to buy back its own stock, and you have a stable bet with potential to pop.
ExxonMobil: Cooking with gas
ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) is an attractive bet from many perspectives. The recent Iran conflict has given petro-positive people the chance to buy on short-term weakness. Specifically, Exxon is retesting its 52-week low of $66.31 with a 52-week range that goes up to $83.49. That's plenty of room for a positive correction based on nothing more than the market returning to normal. At a recent price of $67.19, the 5.15% dividend gives investors a bit of protection to the downside.
Dow: Don't be wary of this dog
Arguably, the No. 1 Dog of the Dow investment is Dow Chemical (NYSE:DOW). The dividend sits at a hefty 5.25% with 18.97% upside before it hits its 52-week high of $60.52 from its recent price of $50.87. The company is valued at only 13 times its projected 2020 earnings, which may be a result of Wall Street's uncertainty on how to navigate the DuPont merger and subsequent breakup of its bioscience and nutrition units. It remains to be seen if the company can keep its productivity levels up, but if it does, investors might expect speculator dollars to prop up the stock until it gets its wings back.
Alibaba: Kiss and make up
Outside of the semiconductor industry, the greatest beneficiary from the easing of U.S.-Chinese trade tensions may just be Alibaba (NYSE:BABA). It ended 2019 and began 2020 with a bang, rising 24% from November 2019 to a 52-week high of $231.14. Its recent price of $222.37 doesn't leave much upside, but smart money is on the company barreling past $250 in the very near future. Why? China's central bank is finally matching its monetary policy to its political policy of expansion. The nation's GDP has stabilized at 6% over Q3 and Q4 2019. Alibaba is also expanding its base of operations into Europe and is looking to grow its share in the Chinese cloud market as well.
Baidu: Now at a 2013 price
Analysts predict 51.3% earnings growth for Chinese search engine giant Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) over the next year. Its recent price of $134.80 put it at a substantial discount to its 52-week high of $186.22. Baidu is still recovering from its once-in-a-decade loss in Q1 2019, and this is not a company to repeat those kinds of mistakes. Nor is its market dominance anywhere close to being challenged. Basically, buying now gives investors 2013 prices for a company with boundless upside and few roadblocks.
In general, genuinely strong companies facing short-term minor setbacks are great plays in an uptrend market. There is no need to take outsize risk on unproven entities in this bull market if you find the inevitable laggards and exercise a bit of patience.