With the market indexes having erased virtually all of their losses for the year, finding bargains may not seem an easy task. Yet we're really back to where we started, so we can give stocks a look with a fresh eye.
Fortunately, there are a number of ways to determine whether a company is a "bargain." Sometimes a company is just cheap and presents a low price-to-earnings ratio, other times there remains significant growth ahead of it, so even if its stock has gained substantial ground this year, the price today will look quaint several years down the road.
Investors actually have a number of quality stocks to choose from, and the three stocks below are all bargains to buy now, no matter how you define it.
Online grocery shopping was supposed to mark the end of days for local supermarkets, but even Amazon.com realized just how critical a physical grocery store presence is.
Albertsons (ACI -1.44%) recently returned to the public markets, and though its private equity owners saddled it with a good amount of debt, the second-largest pure-play grocery store behind Kroger looks primed for growth, though it's priced at a level even value investors could love.
Albertsons has a portfolio of strong local supermarket banners beyond its own chain, including Safeway, Acme, Vons, and more. Yet it also has a national scale, and as the most recent earnings report indicated, a booming e-commerce business. Digital sales surged 276% for the quarter and comparable store sales jumped 26.5% from the year-ago period.
The supermarket chain's stock goes for six and a half times trailing earnings and 7.3 times next year's estimates, but with analysts forecasting it will grow earnings in excess of 13% annually for the next five years, its price-to-earnings-to-growth (PEG) ratio is 0.9, which means there's plenty of growth ahead. Albertsons also trades for less than four times the free cash flow it produces, putting it firmly in the bargain basement bin.
Dell Technologies (DELL 0.06%) is one of those companies whose stock took a hit early on in the pandemic, but quickly regained its footing as investors realized it was perfectly situated to capitalize on the work-from-home trend the crisis necessitated. Shares of the computer hardware company galloped higher afterwards, with the stock gaining over 130% from the March lows and even sitting 28% above where it started 2020. Yet it's still a bargain.
Second-quarter revenue was driven higher by computer demand as more people had to telecommute. But we're in back-to-school season now, and with school reopenings still in doubt in many districts, there could be an equal need for more computers.
It's not enough to have one household computer anymore, or as Enrique Lores, the CEO of Dell's rival HP (HP 1.37%), told Bloomberg, "Rather than having one PC per home, it's having one PC per person."
Despite the dramatic gains Dell Technologies stock has made, shares still trade at a fraction of their sales, and they go for less than 10 times next year's earnings and only five times its free cash flow. There's plenty of opportunity left for investors to profit.
No one wants to say a business benefited from the pandemic, but Lowe's (LOW 0.89%) and Home Depot (HD 0.79%) saw business boom as stay-at-home orders and stimulus checks gave consumers both the time and the means to tackle do-it-yourself projects around the home, even as shortages were reported.
Lowe's sales jumped 11% to $19.7 billion on a 12.3% increase in comps last quarter while Home Depot reported a 7% increase in revenue, hitting $28.3 billion, as U.S. comps rose 7.5%.
Now we're in the midst of hurricane season, and again, profiting off of tragedy is not something that a company touts, but an increasingly active storm season will keep sales moving.
Lowe's stock also offers investors a discount despite rising over 160% from its low point and gaining 32% year to date. Because analysts forecast near-22% average annual long-term earnings growth, and the stock trades at 20 times trailing earnings and 18 times next year's estimates, its PEG ratio is below 1, a level that is considered fair value. It represents a great value for this mature business that's still got a lot of growth in front of it.