In these uncertain economic times, investors should consider stocks that trade at modest valuations relative to their long-term growth potential. Here are three companies that fit the bill.
The first pick is Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS), a diversified entertainment company trading at an attractive discount because of the coronavirus pandemic. The second pick is Altria (NYSE:MO), a tobacco giant that has raised its dividend for five decades in a row. And the third pick is Walmart (NYSE:WMT), a mature retailer poised to benefit from surging growth in its e-commerce business.
All three stocks are trading at relatively cheap multiples compared with their long-term potential and would be great buys in June.
1. Disney: ready to bounce back
Walt Disney rides a fine line between value and growth. But due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the stock has fallen enough to flirt with value territory with a 22% decline year to date. Disney also boasts a stable blue chip brand that monetizes its vast portfolio of intellectual properties with amusement parks, streaming, and studio entertainment.
Disney's theme parks segment is the hardest hit from the coronavirus pandemic with revenue dropping 10% from $6.17 billion to $5.54 billion in the third quarter. And while some Disney parks in Asia and Europe have already reopened, many of the U.S. parks remain closed, so investors should expect continued weakness in Disney's fourth-quarter report -- which is expected to go live on Aug. 4.
The good news is that Disney's Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom are set to reopen on July 11, while Disney's Hollywood Studios plans to reopen on July 15. The company's flagship Disneyland Park will remain closed indefinitely.
Disney stock looks undervalued because its media networks and direct-to-consumer (streaming) businesses can make up for declines in amusement park traffic as well as benefit from a potential boost to stay-at-home demand if the coronavirus pandemic gets worse. Altogether, the company managed to grow total group revenue by 21% from $14.92 to $18 billion in the third quarter.
2. Altria: down but not out
Altria is popular with value investors because of its large dividend yield and stable, consumer defensive business model. The tobacco company has fallen deeper into value territory after a series of poor strategic investments into vaping start-up JUUL Labs and CBD start-up Cronos Group. Both investments led to large goodwill impairment charges, causing the stock to fall by around 21% year to date.
In fiscal 2019, Altria reported an $8.6 billion impairment of JUUL equity securities and a $1.44 billion loss on Cronos-related financial instruments. The company reported a further $137 million Cronos loss in the first quarter of 2020. But while JUUL and Cronos may remain challenges going forward, Altria may have front-loaded most of its downside by aggressively impairing the majority of these investments. Meanwhile, the company's core tobacco business remains stable.
Altria reported first-quarter earnings on April 30, and the results show resilience in this tough economic environment. Net revenue was up 13% to $6.36 billion as smokers stocked up on tobacco products during the pandemic. Altria also grew its adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) by 18.5% to $1.09 per share. The stock boasts a dividend yield of 8.5% at the time of writing, and Altria has increased its payout for 50 years in a row.
3. Walmart: slow and steady winning the race
Walmart is a quintessential value stock because of its blue chip brand and slow-but-steady growth profile. The company uses its massive economy of scale to pass cost savings on to customers -- a business model that can work in both good and bad economic times. Walmart's large physical footprint will also help it compete in the fast-growing market for online retail, and the company's rapidly growing e-commerce business looks poised to power its next leg of long-term growth.
Walmart reported quarterly results on June 3, and the results showed strong, pandemic-resistant performance. Total net sales jumped 8.7% from $122.95 billion to $133.67 billion, while e-commerce-related sales soared 77% at Walmart and 43% at its subsidiary Sam's Club.
The company is poised for continued expansion in its online business after the rollout of next-day delivery to over 75% of the American population -- a feat made possible by Walmart's massive physical footprint of over 5,542 stores and distribution facilities across the country. Walmart rewards investors with a dividend yield of 1.81% at the time of writing. While this doesn't look like much, the company has managed to grow this payout for 47 years in a row, which means it is well on its way to Dividend King status.