Despite reopenings in many parts of the country, we aren't out of the woods with the coronavirus just yet. With the delta variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 spreading like wildfire, many fear this dreaded pandemic may extend well beyond 2021. These concerns fueled a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day for the market on July 19, with all three major U.S. market indexes dropping by at least 1%. The Dow Jones fell by more than 2% in what turned out to be its worst one-day sell-off since the beginning of the year.
While the market mostly recovered in the following days, the possibility of a much worse crash remains fresh in investors' minds. There is no need to fear this possibility, though, as it would undoubtedly create opportunities to pick up shares of great companies from the discount bin. Two companies that would be great options in case of another market downturn are AbbVie (ABBV 0.39%) and Netflix (NFLX 2.60%).
Pharma giant AbbVie will likely start facing competition from biosimilars in the U.S. for Humira, its best-selling drug, in 2023. The naysayers think that's a good enough reason to stay away from its stock, particularly given the drop in international sales of Humira after biosimilar competition entered the market abroad. But AbbVie's management team foresaw this situation and planned accordingly.
As things stand, AbbVie has several growth avenues that are offsetting declining sales of Humira in Europe. Skyrizi and Rinvoq -- both of which treat several autoimmune diseases -- have been growing their sales rapidly. In the first quarter ending March 31, sales of Rinvoq came in at $303 million, more than doubling compared with the first quarter of 2020. Meanwhile, revenue from Skyrizi soared by 91% to $574 million.
Note that both of these products have only been on the market for about two years. Expect many more quarters of growth for these drugs. Venclexta, a cancer medicine, is also contributing, with its sales jumping by 27.9% year over year to $405 million in the first quarter.
We also can't ignore AbbVie's May 2020 acquisition of Allergan in a cash-and-stock transaction valued at $63 billion. The purchase allowed the pharma giant to decrease its top-line reliance on Humira further.
One of the key products AbbVie got through this deal was Vraylar, a treatment for schizophrenia. Its sales of $346 million grew by more than 20% year over year in the first quarter. According to management, Vraylar is "one of the fastest-growing medicines in psychiatry."
Then there is Botox, a product for which AbbVie is confident we won't see biosimilars anytime soon. Sales of Botox Cosmetic jumped by more than 40% year over year to $477 million, while Botox Therapeutic's sales increased by 7% to $532 million.
AbbVie's current lineup will make up for Humira's eventual decline, and the company's robust pipeline will also contribute to beefing up its portfolio of medicines. Patients need drugs, particularly life-saving ones, regardless of economic conditions, and that's why AbbVie is well-positioned to navigate a potential downturn -- and why it'd be a good idea to scoop up shares of this pharma stock in case of a market crash.
Netflix's detractors have been arguing that the increasingly competitive landscape of the streaming industry, coupled with slowing user growth, spells trouble for its financial results and stock performance. I respectfully disagree with this view. First, while there are more streaming platforms than ever before -- and Netflix probably has lost and will continue to lose some users as a result -- these competing services are more than capable of coexisting.
Many customers are more than happy to pay for several such services since they largely offer different libraries of movies and television shows (I personally have a subscription to three streaming services). Netflix has heavily invested in original content to bolster its library and keep its users entertained, and the strategy has worked well.
Further, the company's user growth story is far from over. As management argues in its most recent letter to shareholders, streaming represents just 27% of U.S. screen time. The remaining is still controlled by linear television, and the long-term goal of the company is to replace linear television. Netflix offers thousands of shows on demand and free of ads, and these perks will likely continue to pull users away from traditional cable television and into the streaming universe.
The hope for the company is that many of these users will find their way onto its platform. Note that the penetration of the streaming industry is even lower outside the U.S., particularly in developing countries with lower internet penetration. In other words, the company may still be in the early innings of its growth story, despite what the bears say.
We may or may not be heading toward renewed lockdown orders. If we are, Netflix will likely benefit, just like it did last year. But even if we aren't, there is more than enough fuel in Netflix's growth story to justify purchasing its shares today, especially if they drop substantially due to a market crash.