There's an old saying in real estate investing, "You don't make your money when you sell, you make it when you buy." While that's generally used as a real estate quote, it applies quite nicely in bear market environments. In fact, some of the best investment returns I've ever achieved were from shopping for resilient businesses during the initial COVID-19 pandemic crash.
It's always important to be selective. This is not a great market environment for unprofitable businesses that might need to raise capital, for example. However, buying businesses that are well-positioned to make it through the tough times and grow on the other side can be an excellent way to create long-term wealth. With that in mind, here are three stocks that I've been buying recently in my personal portfolio.
A great business in good times and bad
If you've been to one of Disney's (DIS -0.12%) theme parks lately or visited a movie theater when one of their latest releases hits theaters, it might seem shocking that the entertainment conglomerate is down by about 45% from its highs.
Disney's business has rebounded nicely from the pandemic-era disruptions. Revenue more than doubled year over year in the parks, experiences, and products segment of the business, as the company reported strong attendance and per-visitor spending. It's also worth noting that international tourism hasn't nearly returned to pre-pandemic levels yet, which could provide another growth tailwind.
Disney's iconic properties, film franchises, and intellectual property should keep the business strong, even in a recession. And the streaming division has created a massive recurring revenue stream.
Speaking of streaming, there are some concerns about Disney+ growth slowing down, but consider this: Disney+ has 137.7 million subscribers as of the end of the first quarter. Disney's original subscriber goal when it launched the platform in November 2019 was 60 million-90 million in five years.
The stock now trades for 25% lower than it was trading on day one of the streaming-service's existence. In a nutshell, Disney seems like a no-brainer to add to your portfolio at these levels.
E-commerce is a trend that even a bear market can't break
Retail earnings haven't exactly been great lately. Target and Walmart missed earnings expectations by a wide margin, and even Amazon is showing signs of weakness in this inflationary environment. With a recession likely, and the limited ability of retailers to raise prices, we could see margins and sales volume both come under pressure temporarily.
For the time being, MercadoLibre's (MELI 1.95%) business is firing on all cylinders, despite the stock falling by about 63% from its high. The e-commerce and fintech giant's revenue jumped by 67% year over year in the first quarter, and that's on top of the pandemic-boosted 2021 numbers.
Merchandise volume on the platform grew 32%, and the Mercado Envios logistics segment now handles over 90% of the volume. On the fintech side, total payment volume from the Mercado Pago payment platform grew 81% year over year and exceeded $100 billion in annualized volume for the first time. And finally, Mercado Credito (a recent growth area for the company) more than quadrupled its loan portfolio to $2.4 billion over the past year.
In a nutshell, this stock's performance has been rather disconnected with the performance of the actual business. I've been adding MercadoLibre shares gradually since the market downturn began and will likely continue to do so.
Buy for the long term
To be perfectly clear, although I believe both of these stocks are incredible bargains from a long-term perspective, I have absolutely no clue what these stocks will do over the next few weeks or months. And if inflation gets even worse, or we end up in a deeper recession than experts are calling for, it's entirely possible for both of them to decline significantly from the current level. However, both of these are such solid and resilient businesses that I've been incrementally buying them, with the plan of ignoring the inevitable roller-coaster ride in the short term as the market slump plays out.
The bottom line is this: If you measure your investment performance in decades, this could be a tremendous opportunity to add both of these great businesses to your portfolio at a discount.