As an investor looking for potential companies to buy stock in, are you thinking too many stocks are too richly priced right now? You may be right. With the S&P 500 index up roughly 70% since last March's low and trading at record-high levels, the market is certainly pushing its valuation limits.
The good news is, not every name is overvalued at this time, even if the biggest gains of late have largely been made by growth stocks. A handful of value stocks are living up to their descriptive name. Here's a rundown of the three value stocks worth your consideration.
1. 3M: A company with a lot of growth levers to pull
You may recognize the company as the name behind Scotch tape and Post-it notes. What you may not fully appreciate, however, is that 3M (NYSE:MMM) makes so much more. Medical sterilization solutions, power transformers, and packaging equipment are a tiny sampling from the company's menu. This deep and wide portfolio means 3M's always got something to sell to someone.
This diversity didn't shield the company from a challenging 2020. On a constant-currency basis, last year's sales tumbled nearly 2%. Investors duly punished the stock. Even with its rebound since the multiyear low 3M hit last March, shares have only returned to about even with their pre-COVID peak and are still well below the stock's all-time peak hit in early 2018.
Worries about bigger-picture weakness have plagued this stock for some time now. Those doubts, however, discount restructuring plans put into place in early 2019 ultimately meant to move decision-making closer to each division's front lines. Those plans are working. Despite last year's slight revenue headwind, operating income improved 16%, and the company's guiding for organic revenue growth of 3% to 6% this year. Analysts are calling for even stronger earnings growth.
Some might argue 3M's trailing price-to-earnings ratio of 19.3 and its forward-looking one of 18.5 doesn't quite qualify as "value." Keep it in context, though. This is a $100 billion company with a lot of growth levers to pull that smaller rivals just can't. You have to pay a little something for quality.
2. Bank of New York Mellon: Loan demand expected to grow
Like 3M, shares of The Bank of New York Mellon (NYSE:BK) have been fighting a losing battle since 2018. That was just before interest rates peaked and then tumbled to record lows late last year. This is because the profitability of lending money directly correlates with the interest rates on those loans -- the higher the rates, the greater the profits. In the meantime, the subsequent pandemic complicated the company's effort to connect with customers.
Shareholders were abruptly reminded of this reality last month when The Bank of New York Mellon reported fourth-quarter revenue that fell 21% year over year thanks to a 17% decline in profits resulting from making loans. Perhaps worse, the provision for soured loans grew from the third quarter's $9 billion to $15 billion for the quarter ending in December, suggesting the fallout from the economic headwind may worsen for the bank before it gets better. All told, share prices of Bank of New York Mellon fell 7% that day, and now lie 8% below their pre-report price.
This renewed weakness is ultimately an opportunity for newcomers, however.
Yes, analysts believe earnings as well as revenue will slump this year compared to 2020's results. Interest rates are on the rise, though. The Mortgage Bankers Association forecasts that the average rate on 30-year mortgage loans will end this year at 3.4%, up from 2.8% as of the end of last year, and en route to 3.9% by the end of 2022. The industry group also believes demand for loans will grow again in 2022 following this year's cool-off from 2020's surge in demand for refinancing.
Shares of this bank are trading at only 10.6 times this year's projected profits, but it's a projection based on what may be an underestimation of the growth that's actually in store.
3. Tyson Foods: Significant growth projected in 2022
Last year was a tough one for the meat company. In 2019, it regained clearance to start selling pork to China, but started 2020 out falling short of raised expectations. Then the pandemic took hold, presenting not just logistics challenges for the company but also publicity ones. Managers for at least one Tyson production facility were discovered to be betting on whether workers would contract COVID-19. Investors also remain wary of the fact that this year's sales and earnings are expected to be only in line with last year's levels. All these overhangs are keeping shares below their pre-pandemic price.
Take a step back and look at the bigger picture. This year's results may not be thrilling, but analysts believe 2022's numbers will show significant growth. The top line should rise a little more than 2% next year, driving per-share profit up nearly 13%. That's hardly huge, but for a reliable consumer staples name like Tyson priced at less than 12 times the coming year's earnings, it's more than a fair price. The current dividend yield of 2.6% is just a little gravy to add to the meat supplier's potential.
There are a couple of kickers that may not be fully reflected in analyst outlooks, either. One of them is resumption of restaurant dining once the coronavirus contagion abates. While the company doesn't disclose details about its institutional business, Piper Sandler analyst Michael Lavery estimates around 40% of the company's sales are made to a food service industry that's been crimped for months. The other kicker is the advent of plant-based meats. Tyson is already in the market, but continues to refine its meatless meat lineup. It can turn up the heat on these products when the time is right.