For the past two months, investors have been taken on a wild ride due to the proliferation of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the U.S. and around the world.
After hitting an all-time closing high on Feb. 19, it took the benchmark S&P 500 just 17 trading sessions to fall into bear market territory, and 30 calendar days to lose 30% of its value. For context, the previous fastest bear market decline in history took 35 trading sessions (the Great Crash of the Depression Era), and the average length of time needed for a bear market to decline 30% is 336 days. In other words, the steepness of these recent declines is unlike anything Wall Street has ever witnessed.
We've also never seen volatility like this before. The CBOE Volatility Index, or VIX, hit an all-time high reading in March, with all of the major indexes logging some of their biggest single-day point and percentage swings in history. The broad-based S&P 500 has seen its eight-largest single-session point gains, as well as 10 of its 13 biggest single-day point declines, just since Feb. 24.
But if we've learned anything as investors, it's that buying any stock market correction -- especially bear market declines -- has historically been a smart move for investors. Eventually, every single bear market or correction is wiped away by a bull market rally. Thus, buying any significant dip favors investors with a long-term mindset.
At some point in the future, there will be treatment options available for the coronavirus, and there will likely be some sort of COVID-19 antiviral to help people build up the necessary antibodies to fight off a severe form of the disease. That means even with some truly ugly economic data expected over the very near-term, any coronavirus weakness is a potential buying opportunity.
If you have $5,000 in disposable cash that you can put to work on any coronavirus-related market declines, then consider buying these top stocks.
One thing the coronavirus has certainly showed us is just how important Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) is to the U.S. economy and consumers. According to a June 2019 eMarketer report, Amazon is responsible for 38% of all U.S. e-commerce activity. Considering that most Americans are abiding by stay-at-home orders, Amazon has become a go-to source for online ordering and even entertainment (via Prime streaming).
But it's not retail that could push Amazon to a $2 trillion valuation. Although e-commerce and selling more than 150 million Prime memberships have been effective at keeping consumers within its product and service ecosystem, the real value lies with Amazon Web Services (AWS). AWS, Amazon's cloud-service segment, is growing at more than twice the rate of its retail operations, and its margins are many times juicier than what it receives from e-commerce and advertising. This means that as AWS grows into a larger percentage of total sales, Amazon's cash flow is going to balloon higher.
If Amazon simply sticks to its historic valuation range of 23 to 37 times cash flow over the last decade, we're talking about a company that could easily be worth $5,000 a share by 2023.
Wheaton Precious Metals
Top stocks aren't always household names, as is the case with precious-metal streaming company Wheaton Precious Metals (NYSE: WPM).
Unlike mining companies, Wheaton isn't involved in the day-to-day operation of mines. Its role is to supply upfront capital to mining companies in exchange for a percentage of output at a well-below-market cost. Wheaton then sells what it receives from its streaming partners at market rates, thereby locking in the difference as its profit. You could rightly say that no precious-metal company is more exposed to the fluctuations of gold and silver prices than Wheaton Precious Metals.
What makes this company so attractive is the laundry list of catalysts right now for gold. Plunging global yields and central banks throwing capital at their respective economies are the perfect storm that'll likely send gold prices soaring. It also doesn't hurt that, historically, gold and silver tend to perform their best at the tail-end of a recession and the first year of a recovery. In sum, Wheaton is primed for margin expansion.
Another top stock to buy on any coronavirus weakness is semiconductor giant Broadcom (NASDAQ:AVGO). Though Broadcom, like most companies, has already warned that it won't match previously issued guidance, a keen eye looking to 2021 and beyond will see plenty of value.
Easily the biggest growth driver for Broadcom is going to be the ongoing rollout of 5G networks. This is a multiyear upgrade cycle for wireless companies, and it's going to result in a considerable tech upgrade cycle for consumers. Broadcom stands to benefit as a provider of wireless chips for smartphones, as well as a manufacturer of connectivity and access chips, which are critical for data centers. As 5G becomes the norm, expect data consumption to rise, increasing demand for data centers and storage.
Broadcom is also among the most generous tech stocks when it comes to its capital return policy. In less than 10 years, it's grown its quarterly payout from $0.07 per share to $3.25, with its projected $13 annual dividend working out to a healthy 5% yield.
Though investors have plenty of brand-name drug companies they could purchase on any COVID-19 weakness, cancer-drug developer Exelixis (NASDAQ:EXEL) might be the smarter buy with $5,000 in spare cash.
Exelixis' primary growth driver is Cabometyx, a therapy approved to treat first-and-second-line renal cell carcinoma (RCC), as well as advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Cabometyx is the only second-line RCC treatment to hit the "trifecta" of a statistically significant improvement in objective response rate, progression-free survival, and median overall survival in clinical trials. It also ran circles around Pfizer's Sutent in first-line RCC -- Sutent had been the standard-of-care treatment until recently. Cabometyx is well on its way to blockbuster sales status.
Not only does Cabometyx have a steady growth potential in the low double-digits for the foreseeable future, but this is a company that's generating a boatload of cash from its operations. Exelixis already has $801 million in net cash, and it looks to be well on its way to generating more than $500 million in annual operating cash flow from here on out. Buying on any coronavirus-related weakness would be a prudent move.