Are you a bargain hunter looking for a good stock to buy that isn't trading at an obscene valuation? You'll likely be hard-pressed to find many true discounts out there, with the S&P 500 up over 6% this year and many stocks performing well despite economic challenges and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
However, I've dug up three great bargains for you -- companies poised to generate some strong returns for your portfolio in the near future. Bristol Myers Squibb (BMY -0.74%), Baidu (BIDU 0.44%), and Morgan Stanley (MS -0.43%) are stocks that can give you some solid bang for your buck. They're all trading at very modest valuations, and now may be a great time to scoop them up. Here's why they look like solid buys.
1. Bristol Myers Squibb
Despite the bullishness around healthcare stocks this year (the Health Care Select Sector SPDR ETF is up 4% in 2020), there hasn't been much love thrown Bristol Myers Squibb's way. Down 5% year to date, the stock is underperforming the healthcare sector as a whole. The pharmaceutical company isn't among those in the heated race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, and the U.S. president didn't use any of its drugs to treat his own coronavirus infection. Bristol Myers Squibb has simply been out of the spotlight, and while that doesn't make it a bad stock, it does mean it's gotten lost amid all the hype. And that could be great news for bargain-hunting investors.
Today, the stock's trading at what looks to be a fairly high price-to-earnings (P/E) multiple of 94. However, it's also coming off some tough quarters which were weighed down by non-operating items, such as acquisition-related expenses. In November 2019, the New York-based business completed its acquisition of Celgene, adding top-selling multiple myeloma drug Revlimid to its portfolio. Unfortunately, the costs that come along with such transitions can at least temporarily weigh down a company's financials. And that's why Bristol Myers Squibb, saddled with some extra expenses this year, may look like an expensive buy right now.
But when factoring in analyst expectations for next year, the company is trading at a forward P/E ratio of just 8. And its price-to-earnings-growth ratio (PEG) is less than 1, indicating that there's lots of good value here. Despite posting three consecutive net losses, Bristol Myers Squibb has reported an operating profit in each of its past 10 quarterly results, demonstrating that its bad results in recent quarters are due to items outside of its regular day-to-day operations.
Bristol Myers Squibb remains a good investment, and now's an opportunity for investors to take advantage and buy a stock that the markets may have overlooked this year.
Tech is one place where bargains are few and far between. But one stock that stands out for its value today is Chinese-based Baidu. Often referred to as China's version of Google, Baidu gives investors an opportunity to tap into a Chinese economy that's doing much better than the U.S.'s amid the pandemic. In the second quarter of 2020, the U.S. economy nosedived 31%. While the third quarter will likely be better without shutdowns weighing it down, it may not be as strong as in China, where the COVID-19 pandemic is more under control and the economy grew by 4.9% in Q3.
Baidu is more than just a search engine. It offers online games and cloud-based storage (Wangpan), and it owns online video website iQiyi, which has more than 100 million subscribers. With China's economy showing good growth, Baidu could be an underrated buy this year. It's already coming off some decent second-quarter results, which it released on Aug. 13 for the period ending June 30. Sales in Q2 totaled $26 billion yuan ($3.7 billion) and were down just 1% from the prior-year period, while net income rose 48% to $3.6 billion yuan ($507 million).
Trading at a forward P/E of 13, the stock's much cheaper than your typical North American stock. Shares of Alphabet are trading at 29 times their future earnings, while Amazon has an incredible forward P/E of more than 60.
Baidu is one of the few bargains out there in the tech world, and it could also be a great way to diversify your portfolio outside of just North American-based stocks.
3. Morgan Stanley
Another great way to diversify is to pick up a solid financial stock like Morgan Stanley. The second New York-based company to make this list, the investment bank is coming off a strong third-quarter performance in which it smashed analyst expectations for revenue by $1 billion. On Oct. 15, it released its results for the period through the end of September, and net revenue of $11.7 billion rose by 16% from the prior-year period. Net income of $2.7 billion, up 25%, also looked strong.
Analysts were only expecting revenue of $10.6 billion. One big reason for Morgan Stanley's strong performance was its trading business, which at $3.1 billion was the second-largest contributing segment behind asset management ($3.7 billion). Revenue for the trading segment grew at a rate of 19% from the previous year, while asset management revenue increased by 9%.
Shares of Morgan Stanley are trading at a forward P/E of just over 10. Although investors don't normally pay large premiums for financial stocks, Morgan Stanley's stock is still cheap compared to big banks JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America, both of which trade at about 11.5 times their future earnings.
Great bargains to diversify your portfolio with
Here's a quick snapshot of how these stocks are all doing against the S&P 500 this year:
Although they've each underperformed the index, they're all still in the same ballpark.
Each of these stocks offers investors the potential to earn some great long-term returns. With Bristol Myers Squibb's recent acquisition of Celgene, the company could achieve some terrific growth in the months and years ahead and may look like a steal of a deal years from now. Baidu, however, may be a better option for growth investors who are looking for some diversification in case the U.S. economy continues to struggle. And Morgan Stanley is a good financial stock to hold on to if you're optimistic about the future of the economy and you think trading and investing activities will remain strong.