Bargains aren't easy to find in this market. As the market has soared higher over the past year, valuations have gotten stretched. Now even high-growth tech stocks and so-called recovery plays look expensive, with both kinds of stocks trading at 52-week highs.
Still, there are some corners of the market that haven't gotten much attention from investors, and you can still find a few value stocks that look like steals. Keep reading to see why O'Reilly Automotive (NASDAQ:ORLY), Walmart (NYSE:WMT), and Dufry (OTC:DUFRY) all look like great buys today.
Riding an auto parts boom
By now, the big winners from the coronavirus pandemic are clear. Sectors like e-commerce, cloud computing, and video streaming have all seen surges in demand. But the auto parts industry has gotten less fanfare, even though it's also experiencing a sales boom.
A number of factors are driving growth, including a spike in demand for used cars. Americans are looking to avoid public transportation during the pandemic, but the average age of a car has risen to an all-time high near 12 years, leading to an increased need for replacement parts. Additionally, stimulus checks and other government handouts have helped grease spending on auto parts, which are usually purchases of necessity. Americans also have a lot more time on their hands than usual and limited ways to spend money, leading to increased interest in DIY car projects and enhancements.
O'Reilly has been a perennial outperformer in the sector. The stock is up more than 700% over the last decade and more than 18,000% since its 1992 IPO, thanks to smart management, a strong distribution network, and aggressive expansion. The stock looks poised for more gains following comparable sales growth of 11.2% in the fourth quarter, capping off a year of 10.9% comp growth. Earnings per share rose 27% in the quarter, and for the year increased 32% to $23.52. Management was cautious with 2021 guidance, calling for slight declines in comparable sales and EPS as the company faces uncertainty amid the economic reopening. But O'Reilly will still benefit from a few tailwinds, like the expected $1,400 stimulus checks that will soon go out as well as an increase in vehicle miles driven when the pandemic ends.
At its current price, the stock is trading at a price-to-earnings ratio of less than 20, or about half of the valuation for the S&P 500. That's a great price for a proven winner and a company that's likely to top its own guidance this year.
A changing Walmart
For years, Walmart has been a boring stock. The world's largest company by revenue is a reliable profit generator and a Dividend Aristocrat, but it's been a long time since it wowed the market with its growth.
That could change soon. At the company's recent investor conference, CEO Doug McMillon and his management team touted a number of new growth drivers for Walmart in areas as varied as healthcare and financial services. Having successfully ramped up its e-commerce business, the company is turning to higher-margin components within e-commerce, like its third-party marketplace and advertising, which should squeeze more profits from its fast-growing online retail business.
The company also said it would spend $14 billion on capital expenditures this year, up from $10.3 billion a year ago, indicating it's about to kick off another investment cycle. Like in 2015 when Walmart announced higher wages and new store investments, the stock fell on the news -- but that seems to be another example of investors being short-sighted and discounting the long-term value of such investments.
The retail giant looks as strong as ever, and coming off strong growth in 2020, the company is confidently expanding into new industries. After last week's sell-off, the stock looks like a bargain again. It's trading at a P/E of just 25, a steep discount to the S&P 500, showing that investors seem to be ignoring the company's growth potential and its advantages over other brick-and-mortar retailers coming out of the pandemic.
An easy way to play the travel recovery
Even though the travel industry has yet to recover from the impact of the pandemic, a number of travel stocks have bounced back from the depths of the crisis. Online travel agencies like Booking Holdings and Expedia are now well ahead of where they were at the beginning of 2020, and even airline stocks are rebounding despite suffering deep losses because of their high fixed costs.
Few businesses are as correlated with the travel industry as Dufry, a travel retail company that runs duty-free shops in airports and owns the Hudson chain of convenience stores inside travel hubs. Shares of Dufry, which is based in Switzerland, are still down 33% from a year ago, even as the company has made a number of moves that should prepare it to capitalize on a recovery. Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba took a 6% stake in the company last year and formed a joint-venture with Dufry. The deal will allow Dufry to develop a travel retail business in China, which has become the world's fastest-growing travel market.
Additionally, the company closed on its acquisition of Hudson during the pandemic, which it was previously the majority owner of, increasing its exposure to the North American market and accelerating its overall growth.
Based on 2019 adjusted profits of about $350 million, the stock looks cheap, trading at P/E of less than 15. If the global travel industry experiences the kind of burst of pent-up demand that many expect, Dufry should be a major beneficiary.