If you're looking for a stock to buy, you know there aren't many bargains out there right now. Many stocks are trading at or near record highs as the markets continue to look strong -- the S&P 500 itself also hit record highs earlier this month. All this doesn't mean that there aren't bargains available, but they're becoming rarer.
But there are a few stocks that look to be cheap buys right now, including Village Farms (NASDAQ:VFF), AT&T (NYSE:T), and Tyson Foods (NYSE:TSN). They all trade at attractive valuation multiples and have underperformed the markets this year, so now may be an optimal time to buy their shares while their prices are still low.
1. Village Farms
Village Farms is a Canadian cannabis producer that's based in British Columbia and that owns a majority stake (58.7%) in Pure Sunfarms, an efficient, large-scale marijuana greenhouse. The company operates the facility through a joint venture with Emerald Therapeutics, which owns the remaining 41.3% stake. The joint venture gives Village Farms an advantage over its peers, with its low-cost operation helping the company stay in the black.
On Aug. 12, Village Farms reported its second-quarter results for the period ending June 30, and it was the sixth straight quarter in which Pure Sunfarms turned a profit. Pure Sunfarms generated a profit attributable to Village Farms totaling $463 million.
In total, on revenue of $47.6 million, Village Farms recorded adjusted earnings before income, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) figure of $2.3 million, down from $4.6 million the year before. For the past two quarters, Village Farms' adjusted EBITDA is a positive $3.4 million. Revenue of $47.6 million rose by 15% year over year.
The company's strong financials and large stake in Pure Sunfarms make it an appealing cannabis investment to own because it's in a strong position to stay profitable. But what makes the stock cheap is how well it compares to other Canadian pot stocks when looking at its market capitalization in relation to its sales, or its price-to-sales (P/S) ratio:
Against some of the top names in the industry in Canada, Village Farms's P/S ratio consistently comes in at the bottom, making the stock a steal of a deal relative to its peers.
AT&T offers telecom and media services and is a household name across the country and beyond. From delivering quality content to helping people stay connected, it plays an important role in the day-to-day lives of many of its customers. It's one of the reasons the stock is an appealing investment to hang on to for many years. Another reason is that it pays an attractive dividend, which today yields an impressive 7% -- far and away better than the 2% that investors can typically expect from the average S&P 500 stock. AT&T's also a Dividend Aristocrat, and last December the company hiked its payouts for a 36th year in a row.
On July 23, the Texas-based business released its second-quarter results for the period up until the end of June. Despite the negative effects from COVID-19 on its financial results, sales of $41 million were down by a relatively modest 8.9% year over year. Asset impairment charges of $2.3 billion also weighed down its bottom line, but AT&T was still able to report a net income of $1.6 billion for the period, compared with a profit of $4 billion in the same period last year.
AT&T is an attractive buy when looking at multiple valuation ratios. Its P/S ratio is just 1.2, as is its price-to-book (P/B) multiple. And while its price-to-earnings (P/E) looks inflated at 18, that's also due to the softer results this past quarter, driven down by nonrecurring impairment charges. Its forward P/E (which looks at future earnings) is 9, which makes the stock look cheap -- especially when factoring its high dividend and the opportunities coming up for it, including the rollout of 5G wireless plans in August and AT&T's launch of streaming service HBO Max earlier this year.
3. Tyson Foods
Tyson Foods estimates that it produces one-fifth of the beef, pork, and chicken in the U.S. It's an important supplier for restaurants, hospitals, schools, stores, and many other types of customers. Tyson's a great example of a defensive stock that can help deliver stability, as demand for its products will continue to be strong regardless of any recession or pandemic.
On Aug. 3, the Arkansas-based company released its third-quarter results for the period ending June 27. The business proved to be versatile; despite COVID-19 impacting the company's throughput and production levels, sales of $10 billion were down just 7.9% in Q3. Tyson also incurred $340 million worth of expenses related to COVID-19, which included having the necessary safety supplies on hand for its workers. But despite this, Tyson's quarterly profit of $527 million was down just $149 million from the prior-year period, a decline of 22%.
Trading at a forward P/E of less than 11 and a P/B of 1.6, Tyson's another stock that looks like a bargain buy for value investors given its low multiples. It also pays a dividend of 2.7%.
Which stock is the best buy today?
Let's take a quick look at how all three stocks are doing this year against each other and the S&P 500:
All three have underperformed the index, with Tyson's being the worst thus far. Since the stocks are in different industries with different norms, it's hard to use ratios to simply compare one against the other. They're all cheap buys; which is the best stock for you will depend on your investor profile.
For growth investors, Village Farms, with its involvement in the growing cannabis industry, probably offers the most intrigue today. If it's recurring income you're after, then the high yield and rate hikes you're likely to get from AT&T make its stock the optimal buy. And if it's simply stability and a defensive stock that you're looking for, then Tyson Foods is probably the most appropriate investment. Together, all three could add some very nice diversification to your portfolio.