Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

3 Absurdly Cheap Stocks to Buy in a Ridiculously Expensive Market

By Keith Speights – Updated Jun 11, 2021 at 9:47AM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

And all three of them pay solid dividends.

Stocks are so expensive that revered value investor Benjamin Graham might be spinning in his grave. The S&P 500's cyclically ​adjusted price-to-earnings (CAPE) ratio is at its highest level since early 2000 -- right before the dot-com bubble burst. It's even higher than the level in 1929, the year of the infamous stock market crash that was followed by the Great Depression.

There's no question that many stocks now have nosebleed valuations. However, there are some exceptions. Here are three absurdly cheap stocks you can still buy in this ridiculously expensive market.

Three dollar signs revealed underneath a ripped portion of paper.

Image source: Getty Images.

1. AbbVie

AbbVie's (ABBV -5.96%) shares currently trade at only nine times expected earnings. That's less than half the forward-earnings multiple of the S&P 500.

Why is AbbVie stock so cheap? Many investors are worried about the inevitability of a steep sales decline for its top-selling drug Humira. The blockbuster autoimmune disease drug faces biosimilar competition in the U.S. beginning in 2023.

My view is that those worries are overblown. Sure, AbbVie will experience a sales decline in a couple of years. However, the company should quickly return to delivering solid revenue growth, thanks to several other drugs with tremendous momentum, notably including the successors to Humira, Rinvoq and Skyrizi.

AbbVie also offers one of the most attractive dividends around. Its dividend yield stands at 4.6%. The company is also only one dividend hike away from becoming a Dividend King -- an elite group of S&P 500 members that have increased their dividends for at least 50 consecutive years.

2. Bristol Myers Squibb

If you think AbbVie's valuation looks appealing, you'll definitely want to check out Bristol Myers Squibb (BMY -0.86%), as well. The big drugmaker's forward price-to-earnings ratio of 8.5 makes BMS one of the cheapest healthcare stocks on the market.

Like AbbVie, BMS faces the prospects of declining sales for its top product. In this case, blood cancer drug Revlimid will face generic competition starting next year. The good news is that only limited volumes of these generics will be allowed on the market at first due to contractual agreements. However, BMS will almost certainly take a hit to its top line.

BMS' lineup, though, includes several blockbusters with solid sales growth. Blood thinner Eliquis, autoimmune disease drug Orencia, and cancer immunotherapy Yervoy top the list. The company also has a promising group of newer drugs with tremendous potential, including Zeposia in treating multiple sclerosis and ulcerative colitis and cancer cell therapies Abecma and Breyanzi.

Most investors won't turn their noses up at BMS' dividend, either, which currently yields nearly 3.1%. The company has boosted its dividend payout by almost 50% over the last 10 years.

3. Viatris

I've saved the most absurdly cheap stock for last. Viatris' (VTRS -0.93%) shares trade at 4.6 times expected earnings. That dirt cheap valuation was even more attractive earlier this year before the stock rocketed higher in May, thanks to better-than-expected Q1 results.

Viatris stock is inexpensive in part because investors view its business as boring and slow-growing. The company was formed late last year with the merger of Pfizer's Upjohn unit and Mylan. Upjohn was home to Pfizer's older drugs that have lost exclusivity and its biosimilars. Mylan was best known for its generic drugs and EpiPen epinephrine auto-injector.

Stronger growth could be on the way, though, within a few years. Viatris expects to launch many new generics and biosimilars throughout this decade. These include programs that will copy enormously successful blockbuster drugs such as Botox and Eylea.

In the meantime, Viatris now offers a solid dividend after recently initiating its first dividend, with a yield of 2.8%. The company should be able to increase its dividend on an annual basis.

Boring might not be such a bad thing after all.

Keith Speights owns shares of AbbVie, Bristol Myers Squibb, Pfizer, and Viatris Inc. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Bristol Myers Squibb. The Motley Fool recommends Viatris Inc. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Viatris Inc. Stock Quote
Viatris Inc.
$8.52 (-0.93%) $0.08
Bristol Myers Squibb Company Stock Quote
Bristol Myers Squibb Company
$71.09 (-0.86%) $0.62
Pfizer Inc. Stock Quote
Pfizer Inc.
$43.76 (-0.91%) $0.40
AbbVie Inc. Stock Quote
AbbVie Inc.
$134.21 (-5.96%) $-8.51

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

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 10/01/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.