The stock market has posted a strong recovery in recent weeks. Investors seem less worried about the COVID-19 threat itself at the moment, focusing on the prospects of an early return to business as usual. But the rising tide is not lifting every boat. Many stocks are still trading much lower in the coronavirus era, including some of the best businesses on the planet.
Buying top-quality businesses at a temporary discount will set you up for market-crushing returns in the long run. Let's take a closer look at three of the most promising value stocks on the market at the moment.
Make mine a venti, please
Shares of coffeehouse giant Starbucks (SBUX -1.73%) are trading 47% above their yearly lows but also 26% below last summer's all-time highs. Sales fell 5% year over year in last week's second-quarter report, hamstrung by coronavirus mitigation efforts. Starbucks closed more than half of its company-operated stores in the U.S. and the ones that stayed open were limited to drive-through and delivery operations starting in mid-March.
The business is coming back to life in China, where same-store sales dropped as much as 90% in the middle of February. Starbucks will resume its expansion efforts in this important growth market, moving roughly 100 planned store openings over to 2021 but still adding at least 500 net new locations in this fiscal year.
So Starbucks has already charted a path to renewed growth when the COVID-19 crisis fades out, even if the financial picture looks bleak in the short term. You can pick up shares at a reasonable valuation of 18 times free cash flows and 16 times EBITDA profits. The stock's dividend yield stands at a generous 2.2%. Starbucks is a solid buy and a promising value investment at these low prices.
Market error in your favor
Toymaker Hasbro (HAS -1.70%) has taken a wild ride this year. The stock is trading 47% below last August's all-time highs but 64% above the five-year lows that set in March. Investors were worried about plunging toy sales amid the virus crisis, but people are actually buying a lot of Hasbro's board games to pass the time in quarantine and social isolation.
"The North Star of our company has not changed," CEO Brian Goldner said in last week's first-quarter earnings call. "Hasbro is creating play and entertainment experiences which are vital and desired by consumers and audiences this year and for years to come."
The company is equipped to do so thanks to a strong balance sheet and an unmatched portfolio of household names like Monopoly, Magic: The Gathering, Jenga, and Transformers. The stock is unlikely to take another coronavirus dip because Hasbro already showed us that the company thrives when consumers under lockdown are itching for entertainment. Meanwhile, Hasbro's 3.9% dividend yield and sensible valuation of 21 times trailing earnings make it easy to recommend the stock as a strong buy today.
Roger that, Roger
Rogers (ROG -0.45%) makes a variety of engineered materials. That might sound uninspiring until you realize that these materials are important components in 5G wireless infrastructure equipment, electric vehicle battery systems, self-driving car sensors, and Internet of Things devices. Rogers has a hand in all of these exciting growth markets, positioning the company to benefit no matter which electric car company or wireless network operator ends up winning this round of fierce competition.
Last week's first-quarter report showed slow orders from carmakers and consumer electronics customers, all due to the COVID-19 crisis. Sales fell 17% year over year and earnings were slashed in half. All that being said, Rogers' earnings stayed positive and so did its free cash flows. And even if the coronavirus headwinds grow strong enough to print the profit number in red ink, it would take a while to deplete this company's fortress-like balance sheet. Rogers carries no debt to speak of and its cash reserves add up to $308 million.
In other words, Rogers has all the financial stability it needs to bridge this troublesome period and come out swinging on the other side. When car companies and wireless network operators around the world are ready to invest in their own infrastructures again, Rogers will be there to supply the engineered materials they need.
In the meantime, you can pick up Rogers stock at a 45% discount to its year-ago prices. It's a spring-loaded value play on several high-octane growth opportunities.