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3 Top Stocks You Can Buy on Sale

By Will Healy - Nov 3, 2020 at 6:30AM

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These stocks are now available at significant discounts from recent highs.

The stock market has the dubious distinction of attracting less interest when its offerings go on sale. Sometimes, investors perceive cheaper prices as a reason not to buy. 

However, many investors have built wealth by buying stocks at low multiples. To make profits in the market, investors need to train themselves to find value at low prices.

Even though the market that has made a significant recovery since its fall in March, plenty of value stocks remain. For prospective buyers looking to scoops of shares of companies being offered at great prices, Aphria ( APHA ), Cisco Systems ( CSCO 1.30% ), and Kroger ( KR 3.87% ) offer awesome potential.

A sale tag at a store.

Image source: Getty Images.

1. Aphria

Once among the most beloved stocks in the market, marijuana companies now seem to have become some of the most hated in 2020. Even the more stable and usually profitable names -- including Aphria -- have suffered. After setting a record high of nearly $20 per share in early 2018, Aphria sells for less than $5 per share today. More recently, Aphria's stock fell by 18% after announcing earnings in mid-October.

During the previous quarter, revenue increased by just under 16% from year-ago levels. This fell well short of expectations thanks to the pandemic. The medical side of the business also suffered due to fewer physician visits. Nonetheless, investors should remember that Aphria's revenue growth remains robust. Additionally, Aphria trades at a massive discount when measured by its price-to-sales (P/S) ratio. As recently as 2017, its P/S ratio stood at about 106. Now it has fallen to three. Aphria also trades at a massive discount to market leader Canopy Growth, which sells for more than 22 times sales.

For now, Aphria's performance is lackluster. But as the pandemic (eventually) abates, Aphria could experience a long-awaited recovery and return to profitability.

2. Cisco

Cisco is another darling of the dot-com boom that's hoping to gain traction with 5G. Following a drop from its $82 per share high in 2000, Cisco faded from the headlines as its hardware became more commoditized and growth slowed. Even today, it trades at almost a 30% discount from the high of just over $50 per share that it achieved in February.

However, in recent years, Cisco has moved into cybersecurity and software. Its Cisco Webex software is a primary competitor of Zoom Communications. Cisco has also partnered with privately-owned Qwilt to leverage its network devices and servers to produce an improved video streaming solution.

In addition to 5G, Cisco has invested heavily in solutions for Wi-Fi 6 and 400G technology. This could help boost the stock that still trades for less than half its peak price from the dot-com bubble.

Cisco trades at a forward P/E ratio of about 13. However, due to flat earnings growth, investors may consider it cheap for a reason. Diluted earnings per share fell 4% in the latest quarter. Moreover, analysts expect earnings to fall 4% this year before rising by 7% in the next year.

Nonetheless, other aspects of the stock could connect with buyers. Its annual dividend of $1.44 per share now yields around 4%, far above the S&P 500's average of 1.8%. Moreover, Cisco has risen its dividend every year since the company began payouts in 2011. As more users adopt 5G, Cisco could achieve connectivity with not only income investors, but those looking for a growth stock.

3. Kroger

Kroger benefited from COVID-19 as quarantined shoppers emptied shelves in the spring. Sales remained elevated in the most recent quarter ended Aug. 15, even as some states had begun to ease lockdowns.

In the latest quarter, identical sales (sales to retail customers excluding fuel) grew by almost 15% from year-ago levels. Digital sales rose by more than 125% over the same period. This led to adjusted earnings per share (EPS) climbing by 66% compared to the prior-year quarter. This is unusual for a company that experienced modest sales growth and largely stagnant earnings growth over the last few years.

Admittedly, the forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of approximately 10 is appropriate for the company's pre-COVID-19 growth rates. At that time, profits grew by an average of about 4% per year.

However, investors may have to rethink this valuation if earnings forecasts prove accurate. Analysts predict 49% earnings growth for this year before net income falls back by a forecasted 17% next year. This will take net income higher by 23% over two years as management expects the demand boost to remain for the foreseeable future. It may also explain why Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway recently opened a position in Kroger stock.

More recently, the stock has fallen by about 14% from its near-term highs. Given its recent growth and the prospects for holding on to the gains, Kroger stock may not remain a manager's special for long.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis – even one of our own – helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.

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Stocks Mentioned

Cisco Systems, Inc. Stock Quote
Cisco Systems, Inc.
$56.96 (1.30%) $0.73
The Kroger Co. Stock Quote
The Kroger Co.
$45.11 (3.87%) $1.68
Aphria Stock Quote
Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Stock Quote
Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
$426,200.00 (1.80%) $7,524.00
Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Stock Quote
Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
$281.38 (1.42%) $3.95
Canopy Growth Stock Quote
Canopy Growth
$10.15 (1.60%) $0.16
Zoom Video Communications Stock Quote
Zoom Video Communications
$185.84 (1.04%) $1.92

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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