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3 Stocks to Buy Ahead of the Next Market Crash

By Adria Cimino – Updated May 15, 2020 at 8:34AM

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These stocks -- a pharmaceutical company, a retailer, and a consumer staples name -- may keep your portfolio well-balanced during the next market crash.

After navigating the stock market crash in March and the rally in April, it's easy to slip into the short-term mindset of panicking over losses and celebrating gains. Instead, we should look ahead and scoop up strong players whose shares have suffered only temporarily and stocks that may protect our portfolios during the next market crash.

It is also wise to diversify, investing in a variety of sectors to better insulate your investments.

With those parameters in mind, here are three stocks to consider investing in.

An investor holds his head as he looks at a board showing a market crash.

Image source: Getty Images.

1. Bristol Myers Squibb

Pharmaceutical giant Bristol Myers Squibb (BMY -0.42%) has the opportunity for major growth ahead thanks to the acquisition of Celgene late last year. The company now has nine prescription-based products that generate more than $1 billion in annual sales each. Through the deal, Bristol Myers Squibb gained access to valuable assets such as blockbuster cancer drug Revlimid.

Revlimid sales climbed 13% in the first quarter compared to the same quarter last year under Celgene, to $2.9 billion, to become Bristol Myers Squibb's top-selling drug. The acquisition also offered Bristol Myers Squibb a valuable boost to its drug pipeline, with the possibility of six product launches in the near term. That represents more than $15 billion in potential sales. In the first quarter, Bristol Myers Squibb also saw strength in drugs that were already part of its portfolio prior to the Celgene deal. Anticoagulant Eliquis posted a 37% gain in sales as the company's second-best-selling drug.

Bristol Myers Squibb has surpassed analysts' earnings per share estimates for the past four quarters, and annual revenue has been climbing since 2015. The stock is down 4.9% for the year and is trading near its lowest in relation to book value since 2011. This offers a great entry point for a pharmaceutical company that is set to deliver increased revenue in the years to come.

2. Target

Revenue at Target (TGT -0.35%) has been on the rise since 2017, and the retail giant has aggressively expanded and adapted to the market to ensure future gains. These efforts include an increased digital presence, more pickup and delivery offers, and added investment in a strong portfolio of owned brands. Target has warned investors that profit may be lower in the next earnings report due to the coronavirus outbreak. While its stores have managed to remain open as essential businesses, shoppers have been buying fewer higher-margin items like clothing as they opt for essentials. But this is a temporary situation.

Target increased digital sales by more than 25% for the sixth straight year in 2019, when it posted a 29% gain. And order pick-up, drive-up, and Target's shipping service grew more than 90% last year. As for owned brands, Target has grown its children's clothing line Cat & Jack into a multi-billion-dollar brand. Earlier this year, it launched activewear brand All in Motion, focused on inclusivity in sizing and style and, of course, affordability. Once the coronavirus downturn has passed, this brand may be an interesting growth driver.

Target's shares have slipped 9.7% this year, and they are trading at about 18 times trailing 12-month earnings, lower than peer Walmart, which trades at 23 times earnings. At this level, Target is a good buy for the long-term investor.

3. Clorox

Clorox (CLX 0.05%), a well-known maker of cleaning products, is unsurprisingly one of the stock market winners during the current health crisis. The stock has gained 33% this year. As consumers focus on keeping their environment clean as the coronavirus circulates, sales have surged for Clorox's products. Clorox posted a 32% increase in sales of cleaning products and a 71% increase in pre-tax earnings in its fiscal 2020 third quarter. The company reported overall sales growth of 15% for the period. This sort of quarter is exceptional for Clorox. Annual sales have been growing since 2015 but in the low single digits. For example, sales rose by 1% in fiscal 2019.

But there are two reasons to add Clorox to a long-term portfolio. The coronavirus has made consumers more keenly aware of the power of cleaning when faced with a health crisis, and we may see more extensive use of wipes and other products well into the future. And Clorox is a Dividend Aristocrat, having raised its dividend for at least 25 consecutive years. The company recently declared a quarterly dividend of $1.06 per share.

Once the effects of the coronavirus outbreak have passed, Clorox still is likely to deliver steady -- albeit slower -- revenue gains. The stock is at an all-time high, so you may want to wait for share weakness before investing. But whether you buy now or later, Clorox makes a good addition to your portfolio ahead of the next market crash.

Adria Cimino has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Bristol Myers Squibb. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Bristol Myers Squibb Stock Quote
Bristol Myers Squibb
BMY
$70.91 (-0.42%) $0.30
Target Stock Quote
Target
TGT
$156.41 (-0.35%) $0.55
Clorox Stock Quote
Clorox
CLX
$131.69 (0.05%) $0.07

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