Value stocks appear to be coming back into style. Growth stocks were all the rage for much of the last year, but the latest shifts in the market suggest that many investors are leaning back toward companies that look safer on a fundamental valuation basis.
The stock market will always go through periods of volatility, but investors who steadily build positions in high-quality companies should enjoy strong returns over the long term. With that in mind, here are three top value stocks to buy this month.
1. General Motors
During the past year, General Motors (GM -5.96%) has been overshadowed by pure-play electric vehicle (EV) companies including Tesla, XPeng, and NIO. However, GM stock offers an attractive combination of value and growth potential, and it stands out as a safer investment choice for those looking to benefit from growth in the EV market.
GM is valued at just half of this year's expected sales and 10 times expected earnings. That earnings multiple looks even more attractive in the context of the company's near-term business challenges. The automaker expects that a global shortage of semiconductors could result in an adverse earnings impact of between $1.5 billion and $2 billion this year. That's obviously not great news right now, but chip shortages are unlikely to be a lasting issue, and GM trades at a reasonable forward earnings multiple even with profits under pressure.
GM has been an auto industry leader for decades, and its large-scale manufacturing capabilities and marketing expertise have helped it survive plenty of cyclical swings. Sales of internal-combustion-engine vehicles aren't going to dry up overnight, and GM remains well-positioned to navigate the gradual transition to EVs effectively and profitably. The company is also a top player in the nascent autonomous driving business. Its Cruise unit is at the forefront of the driverless technology trend and vying with Alphabet's Waymo division for leadership in the space.
General Motors may not be the first company that comes to mind when people think of EVs, but profits from its traditional vehicles will help fund more innovative long-term initiatives. With a relatively strong legacy business and unfolding opportunities in EV and autonomous driving technologies, this auto giant's shares remain non-prohibitively valued.
With a market capitalization of roughly $6.2 billion, Hanesbrands (HBI -7.51%) is trading at roughly 0.9 times this year's expected sales and 11 times expected earnings. The clothing company also pays a dividend that yields roughly 3.4% at current prices.
Under new CEO Steve Bratspies, Hanesbrands is conducting strategic reviews of its brands and pursuing continued expense reduction initiatives. Hopefully, the result of those efforts will be a leaner, more effective company that devotes resources to growing the brands in its portfolio that are best positioned for long-term success. The core Hanes socks, underwear, and T-shirt business might not excite investors, but there are brands under its corporate umbrella that have more growth potential.
The biggest growth driver in the company's arsenal is Champion -- an athleisure name that has bounced back to enormous popularity over the last five years, achieving particular cachet with millennials and Generation Z. Global sales for Champion climbed 11% year over year on a constant-currency basis in the fourth quarter. That's an especially impressive performance in light of the pandemic-related challenges that retail faced in 2020.
Hanesbrands stock is attractively valued at current prices. It trades at reasonable multiples, pays a hefty dividend, and it has avenues to growth that could result in performance that far outstrips expectations.
AT&T (T -1.65%) isn't a glamorous stock, and it has some poor strategic choices to overcome -- among them, its decision in 2015 to pay $67 billion to acquire DIRECTV. The audience shift from cable to streaming platforms was already underway at that point, and the ability to bundle pay-TV and phone services never turned into the wireless growth catalyst management had hoped for. Its recent agreement to sell TPG Capital a 30% stake in DIRECTV is a clear admission that AT&T knows it overpaid for a declining asset -- the deal values DIRECTV at just $16.25 billion.
Investors also seem conflicted about AT&T's $100 billion (including debt) purchase of Time Warner. Certainly it would be fair to say that early results from the merger have been less than thrilling on some fronts. The pandemic-necessitated closures of movie theaters crushed Warner's film studio business, and the unit's HBO Max streaming service got off to an underwhelming start -- particularly when compared to what Disney has accomplished so far with Disney+.
On the other hand, AT&T's business still looks pretty solid. The telecom company continues to command a strong position in the mobile wireless space, and the rollout of 5G networks could bring a variety of growth opportunities. Investors also shouldn't underestimate the Warner entertainment business. HBO Max may not have raced out of the gate, but Warner has some great franchises and an extensive content catalog that should draw in subscribers over time.
AT&T trades at roughly 9.2 times this year's earnings and pays a dividend-yielding roughly 7.2% at current share prices. Investors will be hard-pressed to find a stock that offers a better combination of value and growth potential, and the company is still generating plenty of free cash flow to keep the checks rolling out to shareholders.