Even with the market's massive pullback this year, stock valuations are relatively rich. As of its most recent look, stock market research firm Birinyi Associates says the S&P 500 is priced at 16.7 times the next 12 months' projected earnings. That's still above the index's long-term average forward price-to-earnings ratio, and near the average premium that stock valuations have been at since the Fed dropped interest rates to abnormally low levels.
Not every stock is still overvalued though. These three companies offer a ton of growth potential in addition to being relatively cheap. Get them at these prices while you still can.
There's no denying that automaker Ford Motor Company (F -0.17%) waited too long to adapt to changes in its industry, and the advent of electric vehicles (EVs) in particular. The fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic only exacerbated these problems, exposing weaknesses that have been holding the stock back for a couple of decades now.
Except that Ford has quietly been rebuilding itself for a few years now, even if the overhaul has gone largely unnoticed.
Take its new all-electric Mustang as an example. The Mustang Mach-E replaced Tesla's Model 3 as Consumer Reports' top EV for 2022, and demand for the all-electric Lightning F-150 pickup truck has been so overwhelming, Ford was forced to stop accepting new orders for it. Moreover, the company intends for at least 40% of its production to be EVs by 2030.
That's no small matter. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates the number of electric vehicles traveling the world's roads will swell from around 11 million this year to 672 million EVs by 2050.
It's not just its shift toward EVs that's working in Ford's favor though. The giant automaker is also streamlining its operations to improve its profitability. Last year, it stopped making cars in India, and in March officially restructured itself into two distinct units to better focus on its electric automobile opportunity. Management's subsequent decision to cull nearly 600 salaried positions underscores the idea that its cost-consciously making these changes.
To this end, this year's revenue is expected to grow to the tune of 15%, followed by 10% growth next year. Earnings per share are projected to grow from last year's $1.59 to $1.93 per share this year to $2.15 next year. More of the same sort of growth awaits further down the road.
You can plug into this opportunity while Ford stock is trading at only 5.3 times next year's expected earnings.
2. Walt Disney
Walt Disney (DIS -0.03%) shares may not be as cheap as Ford's are right now, but at less than 18 times next year's estimated earnings, it may be about as cheap as it's going to be for a while.
The stock's been more than halved since its early 2021 peak due to a combination of boycotts and protests linked to its public stances on sociopolitical matters, inflation, the slowing growth of its relatively expensive streaming services, and a pandemic that just won't end.
What's largely being overlooked, however, is the fact that this is Disney -- one of the world's best-known and most beloved entertainment brands. It's the name behind Mickey Mouse, Cinderella, and a host of other animated franchises, as well as the owner of Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar, and a massive catalog of other films and TV series. Give it enough time (not that much time should even be necessary), and it will find a way to create monetary success.
Take its movie studios as an example. While the pandemic up-ended the film business by shutting down theaters for the better part of 2020 and 2021, the concerns that it might never recover have proven overblown. Data from research firm The Numbers suggests this year's U.S. ticket sales are on pace to match pre-pandemic annual box office revenue on the order of $12 billion, and two of this year's top-grossing 10 films in the United States so far -- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Lightyear -- are Disney-owned flicks. Multiverse of Madness's domestic box office of $410 million, in fact, made it the second-biggest domestic hit of the year, according to Box Office Mojo.
None of this is to say Disney is bulletproof. The streaming market has become brutally competitive, and its powerful television units like ABC and ESPN are on the defensive. On balance, though, you can jump into this stock at a rather reasonable price while there's far more working for it than against it.
Finally, add Fleetcor (FLT 0.56%) to your list of supercharged stocks you can still buy while they're dirt cheap. Its revenue is projected to swell by nearly 19% this year and another 9% next year, while this year's projected profit of $15.69 per share would be 19% higher than last year's result of $13.21 per share. Look for earnings growth to outpace sales growth in 2023 too. Analysts are collectively calling for earnings of $17.84 per share for next year. That's 14% higher than this year's projected growth, and it translates into a forward price-to-earnings ratio of only 12.
Those are all enviable financial metrics, but what is Fleetcor?
It's not exactly a household name, for a couple of reasons. One is that Fleetcor's market cap of only $16.5 billion keeps it off a lot of investors' radars. The other is that it caters to the business rather than the consumer market.
In simplest terms, Fleetcor helps companies better manage their spending and bill-paying processes. Automated accounts-payable functions, virtual and actual charge cards, and cross-border payment processing are just some of the services it offers. These tools may not mean much to the average person, but to enterprises looking to get a better handle on their finances, Fleetcor is a must-have.
The cross-border opportunity is particularly compelling for Fleetcor. Business networking specialist Inetco notes that business-to-business cross-border payments should hit $35 trillion this year after growing 30% over the course of the prior two years. That's just the beginning, though. The more connected the global economy becomes, the more this underserved, fragmented sliver of the payments market will expand.