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Is It Safe to Buy Stocks Now?

By Prosper Junior Bakiny – Jun 23, 2020 at 6:30AM

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For investors playing the long game, yes.

On June 9, the Nasdaq Composite briefly crossed the 10,000 mark for the first time in its history, an achievement few would have predicted just a few weeks ago, when the market was imploding amid fears caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

But this victory was short-lived: On June 11, the stock market had one of its biggest one-day plunges since mid-March. It was a reminder that despite the market's strong run over the past few weeks, we may not be out of the woods just yet. Even with this caveat, though, I think it is safe to invest in stocks right now, particularly for investors playing the long game. Here's why:

Keeping your eyes on the prize

There's no doubt that several things could cause the market to crash again. For instance, there have been scores of protests across the country over the past few weeks, and these protests have attracted thousands of people. If these gatherings lead to a surge in COVID-19 cases (which some medical professionals have said could happen), renewed fears about the pandemic could lead to another sell-off. 

Yellow question mark on top of a stack of grey question marks.

Image source: Getty Images.

Also, although the May jobs report was strong, with the unemployment rate falling and the economy gaining 2.5 million jobs, this situation could quickly reverse in the coming months. And a negative jobs report could cause the market to dip. Third, earnings season is almost upon us, and depending on how that goes, the stock market may not emerge unscathed.

With that said, it's impossible to predict precisely what will happen in the near term. Maybe the market will crash again before the end of the year, or perhaps it won't. But investors with a long-term mindset know that whatever happens between now and December, the market will eventually permanently recover from its recent woes. And when it does, stocks of great companies with strong growth prospects and an economic moat will continue to climb. In short, if you are thinking of buying stocks now, what matters the most isn't whether the market will crash again, but whether you are picking the right stocks. 

In that spirit, here's one stock I think long-term investors would do well to consider buying today: Zoetis (ZTS -1.29%).

The leading animal health company

Zoetis markets a range of products for pets and farm animals, including vaccines, drugs, and pesticides. The company was originally a subsidiary of Pfizer (PFE -2.33%), but Zoetis split from its former parent company and made its debut on the stock market in early 2013. Since then, Zoetis has easily trounced average market returns, as you can see below: 


Image Source: YCharts.

Could Zoetis keep climbing? I believe so, and here are two reasons: First, the company generates the bulk of its revenue from its companion-animal business. In the U.S., Zoetis makes more than half its revenue from products for pets, particularly dogs and cats. Internationally, the company generates a bit more than 30% of its revenue from these products.

Zoetis has consistently developed new products to address this market, and thanks to the growth of the middle class (and people spending an increasing amount of money on their pets), its companion-animal business could continue to be a major tailwind. Earlier this year, the Food and Drug Administration approved Zoetis' Simparica, a chewable tablet for dogs that the company says offers protection from heartworm disease, ticks and fleas, roundworms, and hookworms. 

The approval of Simparica followed that of ProHeart 12 about six months earlier. The once-yearly injection helps prevent heartworm disease in dogs that are less than a year old. ProHeart 12 was the first once-yearly injection approved for the prevention of heartworm disease in dogs, once again showing Zoetis' commitment to continuous innovation in this field.

The second reason the stock could keep climbing is that the worldwide population growth, and the increased demand for animal protein, will also be a tailwind for the company's livestock business.

One way Zoetis could profit from this market is by looking for alternatives to antibiotics in animals that are a source of meat. According to the company, there aren't many options other than antibiotics to treat some life-threatening conditions in animals. Last year, Zoetis partnered with Colorado State University to better understand the livestock immune system, which could lead to better animal health products.

Zoetis hasn't been spared by the ongoing coronavirus crisis, having recently adjusted its guidance for the fiscal year 2020. The healthcare company had previously announced that its revenue for 2020 would be between $6.65 billion and $6.80 billion. Now, Zoetis expects it to be between $5.95 billion and $6.25 billion. Even with this near-term headwind, though, I believe the long-term prospects remain intact. 

The key takeaway

I believe Zoetis is a buy today, even if the stock market crashes again in the coming weeks. But before jumping in, make sure that you have enough savings for a rainy day, and that you have money on the side that you can afford to lose. If you do, investing that money in Zoetis would be wise. 

Prosper Junior Bakiny has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Zoetis. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Zoetis Stock Quote
$152.59 (-1.29%) $-2.00
Pfizer Inc. Stock Quote
Pfizer Inc.
$43.09 (-2.33%) $-1.03

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