With the Nasdaq leading the downward trajectory among major American stock indexes so far in 2022, it might seem crazy to look to it for opportunities to invest. If there's an upside to a rough market, though, it's that it's in the midst of bear markets that the best values often emerge. Investors with nerves of steel and a desire to pick up great companies at reasonable prices might be starting to get interested in seeking out decent entry points now that the market has fallen off its elevated perch.
To see whether such bargains might be bubbling up given current market conditions, we asked three investors to pick Nasdaq stocks that look like they're worth stocking up on for 2022 and beyond. They chose Alphabet (GOOGL -1.61%) (GOOG -1.60%), Airbnb (ABNB -0.85%), and Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB 3.57%). Read on to find out why and determine whether one or more of them might now look like a fit for your own portfolio.
Search and ye shall find one of the best companies ever
Barbara Eisner Bayer (Alphabet): The first thought I had when selecting a superb Nasdaq stock to buy hand over first in 2022 was to Google some stock information. Then it hit me like a bolt -- the most exciting stock currently on my radar (and in my portfolio) is Alphabet, owner of Google.
At this point, Google is synonymous with searching the internet and is part of our everyday vernacular. In fact, it boasts a 92% share of the worldwide search engine market. With no competitor even close, this brings a lot of value to the company.
But it's not only search that makes Alphabet such an incredible stock holding. As my colleague Danny Vena writes: Alphabet has "nine products that boast more than 1 billion users: Android, Chrome, Gmail, Google Drive, Google Maps, Google Search, Photos, the Google Play Store, and YouTube. That creates a powerful network effect and a captive audience for additional innovative products."
It's nice to have all these successful income-generating properties, but are they producing? You betcha! Alphabet reported fourth-quarter earnings on Feb. 1 that blew away analyst estimates. Revenue was 32% higher year over year and net income was up 36%. In addition, all product lines showed impressive results, especially Google Cloud sales, which were 45% higher year over year.
Right now, Google's proud parent has a stellar balance sheet, with $140 billion in cash and securities against only $15 billion in long-term debt at very low interest rates. It's hard to find a stable growth company with numbers more compelling for investors seeking to add a long-term holding that has all the qualities of a consistent winner.
But that's not all. The pièce de résistance of the earnings report was the announcement of a 20-for-1 stock split, set to take place in mid-July, pending shareholder approval. While the stock split in and of itself means nothing to the intrinsic value of the company, it will take the stock's price at close to $2,600 per share and bring it down to about $130 a share, a level where many retail investors can afford to jump in.
Finally, after the stock split, Alphabet may become a candidate for inclusion in the Dow Jones Industrial index, which would give it some extra cachet and force all DJIA index funds to purchase the company's shares.
For me, it's a no-brainer: The one stock to pick up during this market correction is Alphabet, hands down and two thumbs up.
The travel boom has already started for this vacation king
Eric Volkman (Airbnb): If any sector is poised for a serious rebound following the coronavirus pandemic, it's travel and tourism. People who have effectively been bottled up at home, more or less throughout the pandemic, are eager to get out of the house and into the world. This is why stocks throughout the sector have been catching a second wind lately.
Airbnb is already ahead of this rush. It's far and away the DIY accommodations specialist; online travel agencies (OTAs) and others that have gotten into the field don't have Airbnb's strong specialty brand or its scale and scope. And since it's effectively a middleman facilitating the DIY lodging process, it offers homes for temporary stay in locations underserved by the traditional tourism industry.
It has also begun pushing properties for long-haul renters; such places offer a means of escape for people who want to get out but don't want to be among crowds of people at more traditional accommodations. In fact, in Airbnb's Q4, around 20% of renters booked stays for at least one month. In other words, this isn't the travel industry of yesteryear, and Airbnb is on the forefront of this change.
While some travel operators are waiting for the recovery to kick in, Airbnb's business is going positively gangbusters. The company's final quarter of 2021 saw its revenue rise by 78% on a year-over-year basis to over $1.5 billion, while earnings did a huge flip into the black, at $55 million -- quite the dramatic turn from the steep year-ago loss of $3.9 billion, and better than pre-pandemic Q4 2019's $352 million shortfall.
Both headline numbers were considerably above analyst expectations, and that bottom-line figure was a new company record.
This feels like only the beginning of Airbnb's life as a true travel industry powerhouse. Those widen-the-business initiatives like the long-term accommodation push and Airbnb Experiences (in which travelers can add various activities to their stay) are already proving to be very successful revenue earners. It's fair to imagine management will come up with more money spinners.
Meanwhile, assuming we effectively get past this stage of the pandemic to some degree, travel spending on every segment of the industry is going to surge. As a DIY accommodation and services master, Airbnb is going to be a major, major beneficiary.
A business that is poised to do well when rates rise in inflationary times
Chuck Saletta (Fifth Third Bancorp): If there's an industry that is poised to do well when rates rise and inflation is high, it's banks. Most banks make a large portion of their money off the interest rate spread between what they pay on deposits and what they charge for loans. When interest rates go up, they often have the opportunity to make a larger absolute spread from the gap between those two rates.
In addition to the spread, many banks make mortgage lending a key part of their business. During inflationary times, this helps those banks in a couple of key ways. First, inflating prices directly means bigger loans -- which translates to higher lending revenue from the interest. Second, continued inflation gives the bank a better chance of being able to get its money back if it has to foreclose and sell a property associated with a non-performing loan.
Between larger spreads, higher loan balances, and rising values of the collateral pledged against those loans, banks have plenty of opportunity to make more money when rates rise in inflationary times. With that in mind, Fifth Third Bancorp looks like a bank worthy of considering. Fifth Third Bancorp is one of the largest banks by assets in the country, and it happens to trade on the Nasdaq Stock Market.
In an era of generally high valuations, Fifth Third Bancorp trades near a modest 13 times trailing and 14 times expected forward earnings. It also offers shareholders a decent dividend with a nearly 2.5% yield -- a dividend it has raised at a reasonable pace since the end of the financial crisis.
While not necessarily one of the technology titans for which the Nasdaq is famous, Fifth Third Bancorp has a lot of potential given the economic circumstances we find ourselves in today. That makes it worth considering as a Nasdaq company to potentially stock up on.
Do these picks make the grade?
Whether you're searching for a vacation, searching for a loan, or just plain searching online, Alphabet, Airbnb, and Fifth Third Bancorp all offer reasons why they might be worth stocking up on for 2022 and beyond. If the market's recent behavior has you searching for solid companies with decent long term potential, they're all at least worth a look. Bear market bargains don't last forever, though, so take a look today and determine if any of them deserves a place in your portfolio.