Change is coming to Washington in less than eight weeks. On Jan. 20, Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States. As outlined in recent days, Biden plans to quickly tackle the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) response, as well as roll back a number of environmental measures put in place by outgoing President Donald Trump.
But for investors, a Biden presidency likely means more of the same -- and that's a great thing for Wall Street. A potentially divided Congress makes it unlikely that corporate tax rates will increase anytime soon, which means higher earnings potential for publicly traded companies. With the Federal Reserve also continuing its dovish monetary policy, the stage is set for the young bull market to flourish under Biden's leadership.
In particular, it could be time for value stocks to thrive. A Bank of America/Merrill Lynch report from 2016 that examined the performance of growth stocks versus value stocks over a 90-year period (1926-2015) found that value stocks outperformed growth stocks on an annualized basis (17% vs. 12.6%). Value stocks also outperformed growth stocks during periods of economic expansion.
With this being said, here are five perfect value stocks to buy for a Biden bull market.
It's been a rough past two weeks for pharmacy giant CVS Health (CVS 1.38%), with Amazon.com announcing that it will enter the prescription space. This has depressed valuations for generally low-margin pharmacy chains across the board. But with little chance of major healthcare reforms working their way through the pipeline with Biden in the White House, CVS Health appears well-positioned to ward off Amazon's attack.
You see, CVS Health thought outside the box in 2018 when it acquired health-benefits provider Aetna. The deal, which had folks scratching their heads initially, is going to boost CVS' organic growth rate, result in substantial cost synergies, and will entice over 20 million Aetna members to stay within the CVS Health network umbrella of products and services. Having moved beyond retail will be key to CVS Health's long-term growth.
CVS Health is also planning to open 1,500 HealthHUB health clinics nationwide. These specialized care clinics are designed to connect patients that have chronic illnesses with physicians. More importantly, they'll serve as a grassroots engagement point between CVS and potential repeat customers.
In short, CVS Health should do very well during a Biden presidency.
Past performance may not be a guarantee of future results, but recessions have almost always represented the perfect time to put your money to work in beaten-down money-center banks. Among the nation's biggest banks, none is cheaper, relative to book value, than Wells Fargo (WFC 1.96%).
Keep in mind that stocks are often "cheap" for a reason. In Wells Fargo's case, it's because the company opened 3.5 million unauthorized accounts between 2009 and 2016 as part of an aggressive cross-selling campaign at its branches. The company has paid its penance for its wrongdoing, and it's now been punched in the gut by the coronavirus recession.
The good news for Wells Fargo is that it has catalysts in its sails. For example, it's always done a great job of attracting affluent clients. High-earning customers are less likely to change their spending habits during economic disruptions, and are also less likely to default on their loans. This makes them the perfect clients to sell multiple financial products to, such as mortgage servicing and asset management.
History has shown that Wells Fargo delivers superior return on assets. With this bank stock currently valued at only 73% of its book value, it's ripe for the picking with Biden in office.
As noted, it's unlikely that we're going to see substantive healthcare reforms under Biden, which is great news for drugmakers like Alexion Pharmaceuticals (ALXN) that have very pricey treatments.
The reason Alexion's drugs cost so much is simple: They target ultra-rare indications. This is an exceptionally risky practice considering that some of the patient pools it's targeting total just a couple hundred people. On the bright side, if Alexion is successful, it faces little or no competition in the indications for which its therapies are approved. Also, health insurers offer minimal pushback on pricing because there are often no other forms of treatment.
Innovation is another driving force for Alexion. The approval of next-generation therapy Ultomiris in late 2018 paved the way for this new drug to eventually replace its blockbuster therapy Soliris. Soliris is administered every two weeks, as opposed to every eight weeks with Ultomiris. More importantly, Soliris' patent exclusivity was dwindling, meaning Ultomiris can step in and ensure that Alexion gets to hang onto its cash flow for another decade (or beyond).
It's rare you'll find a drug stock with a PEG ratio under 1 -- a PEG under 1 is considered undervalued -- but that's exactly what you'll get with Alexion Pharmaceuticals.
Kirkland Lake Gold
A Biden presidency should also be generally good news for physical gold and gold stocks. Dovish monetary policy and Biden's willingness to push through additional fiscal stimulus is likely to weaken the U.S. dollar. Since the dollar and gold have an inverse relationship, this is a positive for miners like Kirkland Lake Gold (KL).
Of course, Kirkland Lake Gold is going to benefit from more than just a higher realized priced for the lustrous yellow metal. In particular, Kirkland Lake has been one of the most efficient global producers, with an all-in sustaining cost that's almost always come in well below the industry average. This means the company is generating a higher cash operating margin than most of its peers.
Kirkland Lake Gold also has the best balance sheet in the entire industry. It ended the third quarter with $848 million in cash and no debt. Further, it's tripled its dividend in 2020 and repurchased $526.6 million worth of its own stock over the past nine months.
Best of all, you can buy into this incredible value stock for less than 10 times forward earnings.
Even the tech sector offers intriguing value for patient investors. The company to consider here is storage solutions specialist Western Digital (WDC 1.37%).
The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the traditional work environment and seen consumers head online to make their purchases. Businesses have had no choice but to ensure they have an online presence, with many pushing into the cloud to share, secure, or remotely monitor data. This cloud-focused push is great news for Western Digital, as the storage needs for data centers should continue to expand for many years to come.
For the time being, Western Digital's hard-disk drives are a data center staple. However, by mid-decade, we could see the company's NAND flash memory solutions take over considering how stable and durable NAND can be over the long run.
Additionally, Western Digital should see a healthy uptick in demand from the debut of new gaming consoles. With the PS5, Xbox Series X, and Xbox Series S all hitting store shelves in November 2020, these hot-ticket items will require beefed up storage solutions.
At just over 7 times Wall Street's profit forecast for next year, Western Digital has all the makings of a value stock you'll want to own for a Biden bull market.