Despite record volatility for stocks across this year's trading, the S&P 500 index remains near an all-time high. There are plenty of catalysts that could trigger another round of big sell-offs, but investors should be eyeing the next correction as an opportunity to build positions in high-quality companies.
We asked three Motley Fool contributors to identify the best stocks you can buy next time turbulence rocks the market. Read on to see why they think adding Cloudflare (NET 0.06%), Amazon (AMZN -0.81%), and Qualcomm (QCOM -0.71%) in a market crash will lead to stellar returns.
One of the world's hottest cybersecurity stocks
Keith Noonan (Cloudflare): I started buying Cloudflare shares in June because cybersecurity is poised for a tremendous demand swell over the next decade, and the company's leading positions in web-based security and content delivery services point to huge growth potential. A belief that Cloudflare's strengths in these categories would create foundations for launching new services was another core component of my bullish thesis.
On Oct. 12, the web specialist announced and released Cloudflare One -- a comprehensive software service tailored for enterprises seeking improved content delivery speeds and security for devices, applications, and networks. The company was quicker in launching a major new service than many analysts and industry watchers anticipated, and the stock's recent gains have me wishing that I had bought more aggressively -- and waiting for the next great buying opportunity.
The stock has soared roughly 40% in October alone thanks to the new software offering. Cloudflare has been the best-performing stock in my portfolio since I initiated a position roughly four months ago, with my shares roughly doubling in value.
The company now has a market capitalization of roughly $18 billion and is valued at about 44 times this year's expected sales. Taking a long-term perspective, I still think that the stock offers plenty of upside at current prices. However, the company's hefty price-to-sales ratio could help pave the way for a substantial pullback in the event of turbulence for the broader market, and Cloudflare is at the top of my buy list next time stocks go on sale.
The e-commerce and cloud computing titan
Joe Tenebruso (Amazon): There's never been a bad time to buy Amazon's stock. But there have certainly been some incredible times to buy the online retail giant's shares, many of which have been during market crashes. The next market decline will likely present another such opportunity -- one I'd recommend investors make the most of.
Amazon tends to benefit from economic downturns, as its weaker competitors fall by the wayside. This trend has become even more pronounced during the coronavirus pandemic. Millions of retail businesses were forced to close due to COVID-related shutdowns, and, tragically, many will never reopen. Many of these retail sales will flow to online channels, of which Amazon is the largest.
The COVID-19 crisis is also driving more businesses to migrate their operations to the cloud. This is another powerful trend that benefits Amazon. Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a giant in the rapidly expanding cloud computing infrastructure market, and it's well positioned to profit from the industry's growth.
Should Amazon's stock price fall sharply during the next market crash, investors would be wise to consider using the sell-off as a chance to buy shares of the e-commerce and cloud computing juggernaut's shares at a discount. History has shown this to be a profitable strategy, and it's likely to continue to be for the foreseeable future.
Chip into 5G with this semiconductor stock
Will Healy (Qualcomm): While there was hype over the latest iPhone release from Apple, the company that makes it all possible has received less attention. 5G phones require a chipset currently manufactured by only one company, Qualcomm.
So crucial is this chipset that Apple settled its lawsuits with Qualcomm before this release. Moreover, Qualcomm succeeded in overturning a Federal Trade Commission ruling that it was a monopoly. This paves the way for Qualcomm to profit from the 5G upgrade cycle.
At the current price of around $130 per share, $1,000 will only buy seven full shares. Nonetheless, Qualcomm sells for just under 21 times forward earnings. That is a reasonable valuation for a stock expected to increase profits by 11% this year. However, for a company predicted to grow earnings by 64% in 2021, this multiple is dirt cheap.
This forecast is also in line with the 63% compound annual growth rate that Grand View Research has forecast through 2027. As Apple, Samsung, and other manufacturers sell more 5G phones, Qualcomm appears ideally positioned to benefit from this growth story for years to come.
Despite this rosy outlook, Qualcomm faces significant challenges. China made up close to half of Qualcomm's revenue in 2019. This is concerning given the Trump administration's pressure on the country.
Also, amid Apple's legal retreat, it purchased Intel's smartphone modem business. Should Apple succeed in developing a competing chipset, it could slow Qualcomm's revenue and earnings growth.
Nonetheless, Qualcomm will remain a compelling 5G growth story even if the worst fears become a reality. Given the expected rise in profits, Qualcomm will likely not sell at its current valuation for long.