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4 Value Stocks to Buy if the Stock Market Crashes

By Sean Williams - Feb 16, 2021 at 6:06AM

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Stock market plunges are inevitable, so be ready to go bargain hunting.

It may not be this week, this month, or even this year, but history tells us that stock market crashes are far more common than investors realize.

Data from market analytics firm Yardeni Research shows that the widely followed S&P 500 has undergone 38 crashes or corrections of at least 10% since the beginning of 1950. That works out to a double-digit downside move every 1.87 years, on average. And it just so happens that the S&P 500's Shiller price-to-earnings ratio is higher now than it's been in nearly two decades.

A person writing and circling the word buy underneath a dip on a stock chart.

Image source: Getty Images.

However, long-term investors don't fear crashes. Rather, they view them as opportunities. Think about this for a moment: Every last one of the aforementioned 38 crashes and corrections was eventually wiped away by a bull market rally. In many instances, it took a matter of weeks or months to recoup what was lost. As long as you have time on your side, your chances of making money in the market go way up.

The $64,000 question is: What should you buy if a stock market crash occurs?

Although growth stocks have substantially outperformed value stocks since the end of Great Recession -- historically low lending rates have allowed fast-paced companies to borrow at cheap rates –- the tables might turn during the next crash. That's because value stocks have a history of handily outperforming growth stocks during the early stages of an economic recovery.

Eventually, another stock market crash will rear its head; and when it does, you should consider buying the following four value stocks.

A CVS pharmacist helping an elderly woman pick out healthcare products.

Image source: CVS Health.

CVS Health

Healthcare stocks are often a great place to put your money to work during a market crash. Since we don't get to choose when we get sick or what ailment(s) we develop, healthcare companies tend to be busy no matter how well or poorly the U.S. economy is performing. That's a good reason to sink your teeth into pharmacy chain CVS Health (CVS 0.73%).

Unlike its large peers, CVS has been thinking outside the box. Rather than expanding horizontally, CVS chose to grow vertically with the acquisition of health-benefits provider Aetna in 2018. This combination is still yielding additional cost synergies, and it's expected to improve CVS Health's organic growth rate. Moreover, tying up CVS and Aetna creates an incentive for Aetna's more than 20 million members to stay within the CVS ecosystem of products and services.

Beyond this game-changing acquisition, CVS Health's most exciting venture just might be its HealthHUB health clinics rollout. In the coming years, the company plans to open about 1,500 of these clinics in select stores across the country. The goal will be attract patients with chronic illness and get these folks in touch with specialists who can treat their ailment(s). For CVS, it'll be all about getting repeat traffic in its doors.

Currently valued at less than 10 times Wall Street's projected earnings per share in 2021, CVS Health would be perfect for bargain hunters.

A cellular tower with multiple wireless satellite dishes attached.

Image source: Getty Images.

Mobile TeleSystems

Keep in mind that when the next stock market crash strikes, looking overseas could be a smart and profitable idea. One value stock to consider buying is Russia's Mobile TeleSystems (MBT 0.00%).

Mobile TeleSystems, or MTS, is one of Russia's largest wireless telecom companies. In Russia, wireless saturation rates are extremely high as companies aggressively fight for new customers. However, the country is in the midst of a major wireless infrastructure upgrade cycle. As MTS moves key cities and regions of its home market to 4G LTE and eventually 5G, it'll be providing a dangling carrot for consumers and businesses to upgrade their devices in order to take advantage of faster download speeds. It's no secret that data consumption is the bread and butter that greases gross margins for wireless companies.

What's interesting about MTS is that it's become more of a conglomerate in recent years. Moving beyond just wireless services, MTS offers banking and cloud services now. Although the company doesn't really break out its cloud revenue, banking revenue has been charging higher. During the third quarter, MTS Bank delivered 15.5% growth from the prior-year period and returned to profitability in an otherwise challenging environment, due to the coronavirus. 

Buyers of Mobile TeleSystems are getting a Russian profit powerhouse at roughly 8.6 times projected 2021 earnings, with an annual dividend yield of approximately 9%. That should be music to value investors' ears during a market crash.

An up-close view of a gold bar.

Image source: Getty Images.

SSR Mining

Traditional hedges can also be a profitable way to incorporate value stocks into your portfolio during a crash. That's why gold stock SSR Mining (SSRM -2.68%) would be an excellent addition.

The bull case for SSR has both macro and company-specific drivers. On a macro scale, the outlook for gold couldn't be better. The Federal Reserve has pledged to keep lending rates at or near historic lows through 2023, and ongoing Treasury bond-buying is weighing down long-term yields. When coupled with a rapidly expanding money supply, the reasons to own gold are growing by the day. SSR will be a clear beneficiary of the rising price of gold.

More specific to SSR Mining, it merged with Alacer Gold last year. By combining Alacer's Copler mine in Turkey with SSR's three producing assets, it created a company capable of producing 700,000 to 800,000 gold equivalent ounces (GEO) each year. SSR is also one of a small number of mining stocks that entered the year with a net-cash position, and it's planning to initiate a $0.05 quarterly dividend beginning in the first quarter of 2021.

Investors wanting to add some luster to their portfolio can pick up shares of SSR Mining for less than five times projected cash flow per share in 2021.

A customer using the U.S. Bank mobile app on his smartphone.

Image source: U.S. Bancorp.

U.S. Bancorp

I know what you might be thinking -- buying bank stocks during a market crash is probably the last thing you want to do. However, when things look their bleakest is often when the best bargains can be had. The next time a crash strikes, regional banking giant U.S. Bancorp (USB 0.29%) would make for a fine addition.

One reason U.S. Bancorp has been such a success for so long is the company's relatively conservative management team. This is a company that avoided the temptation of buying riskier derivative investments that walloped money-center banks during the Great Recession. Because it focuses on the bread and butter of banking (loan and deposit growth) and avoids risks, its return on assets is usually among the best in the industry.

Something else U.S. Bancorp excels at is getting its customers to bank online or with its mobile app. As of the end of November 2020, 77% of all transactions were conducted digitally, up from 65% two years prior. Even more impressive, 56% of loan sales occurred online in the latest quarter, up from only 32%, as of November 2018. Since digital transactions cost just a fraction of what branch and phone transactions cost, U.S. Bancorp has been able to consolidate some of its branches and reduce its noninterest expenses. 

Typically, U.S. Bancorp carries quite the premium given its history of outperformance. But buyers can scoop up shares right now for about 11 times next year's earnings.

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Stocks Mentioned

CVS Health Corporation Stock Quote
CVS Health Corporation
CVS
$97.15 (0.73%) $0.70
U.S. Bancorp Stock Quote
U.S. Bancorp
USB
$51.19 (0.29%) $0.15
Public Joint-Stock Company Mobile TeleSystems Stock Quote
Public Joint-Stock Company Mobile TeleSystems
MBT
$5.50 (0.00%) $0.00
SSR Mining Stock Quote
SSR Mining
SSRM
$19.99 (-2.68%) $0.55

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

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