It may be tough to find value stocks today given the turmoil in the market. Low price-to-earnings ratios may evaporate if earnings fall in 2020, and even seemingly solid balance sheets may be exposed this year.
Despite the changes that are coming, I think Verizon Communications (VZ -1.73%), Apple (AAPL -3.00%), and Las Vegas Sands (LVS -2.62%) will prove to be value stocks investors can buy and hold over the long term.
The wireless giant
Cell phone bills may now be more of a consumer staple than everything but food and housing. Smartphones have become ubiquitous to life as communication, work, and entertainment tools. That plays right into the hands of Verizon Communications.
You can see below that Verizon's revenue and earnings have been choppy, but stable, as more devices are connected to its network. And the number of devices is only going to grow as new technology like 5G launches in more markets this year.
The current trailing P/E ratio of 12.5 and the 4.3% dividend yield are great values. But two big reasons I like this company for the long term are the industry's consolidation and 5G network upgrades. When Sprint and T-Mobile completed their merger, it left just three major mobile network suppliers, which will likely push prices and margins higher for the entire industry. 5G is another growth opportunity for Verizon, enabling faster connections and new opportunities like home mobile internet hubs and more connected devices.
Add the foundation Verizon has today with those growth opportunities, and its stock is a great value today.
The tech giant
Apple may not sell as many devices in 2020 as it did a year ago, but it's hard to argue with the company's strategic position and cash flow over the long term. The company has $207.1 million in cash and marketable securities on the balance sheet, offset by $108.3 billion in debt. However, Apple generates around $60 billion per year in additional cash.
Strategically, Apple is in about as strong a position as any company. Its ecosystem starts with the iPhone but extends to Macs, iPads, the Apple Watch, and now AirPods. For the foreseeable future, it doesn't look like there's a competitor that will disrupt that ecosystem, and Apple will continue to add to the product lineup.
Investors have also come to realize that scale has become extremely important in the tech industry, and few companies can match the scale or profitability of Apple, which is why I think it's a value long term.
The gambling giant worth betting on
Extremely large companies have been a theme for this list so far, and the theme continues with Las Vegas Sands. The company is the largest casino operator in the world, and its presence in Asia should drive its return to positive earnings and cash flow before competitors.
You can see below that through the end of 2019, Las Vegas Sands was generating strong earnings and $5.5 billion in EBITDA, a proxy for cash flow in the casino industry.
Earnings in 2020 will undoubtedly be down, but management laid out its plan for surviving the current crisis. They said the company has the liquidity to last for 18 months of zero revenue, which is the absolute worst-case scenario of the COVID-19 pandemic. But eventually, the pandemic will pass, and Las Vegas Sands is set to succeed when it does.
Macao's casinos are already open again as Asian countries control the pandemic and Las Vegas Sands' management sees demand returning slowly over the course of the year. And eventually, markets like Singapore and the U.S. will follow, and Las Vegas Sands will be a huge cash generator again.
Value is back
2020 is going to be a crazy year for companies and investors, but if we take a long-term view of our investments, there are still values out there. Verizon, Apple, and Las Vegas Sands are all set to succeed long term, and that's why I think all of their stocks are values today.