It's official, folks: All three of the major U.S. stock indexes have plunged firmly into a bear market, as of last week's close. But where's there's peril on Wall Street, there's often opportunity for patient investors.

Although the iconic Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI -1.24%) "only" has 30 components, and therefore doesn't offer the most-encompassing look at broad-market health like the S&P 500, the Dow's 30 stocks tend to be highly profitable and time tested. These are multinational businesses that have weathered a storm or 10 before, and they can be counted on as generally rock-solid investments. In other words, Dow Jones stocks are a potentially genius way to put your money to work during the bear market decline.

Here are three Dow stocks that are nothing short of screaming buys in October.

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Walgreens Boots Alliance

The first Dow stock that can be confidently bought hand over fist by patient investors in October is pharmacy chain Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA -1.27%). Shares of Walgreens are off 40% since the beginning of the year, and a whopping 59% over the trailing five-year period.

Many of the issues Walgreens has run into can be traced to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since this is a company that relies on its brick-and-mortar stores to grow sales, lockdowns that kept people in their homes hurt all facets of its operations. But the good news is that Walgreens has implemented changes throughout the company that are designed to boost its operating margins, lift its organic growth rate, and foster customer loyalty.

Like most retail-driven businesses, Walgreens has been pulling levers to trim the fat where it can. Management's goal had been to shave $2 billion off of the company's annual operating costs by the end of fiscal 2022. Walgreens achieved more than $2 billion in annual cost savings a year ahead of schedule. While these cost-saving measures should provide a boost to the company's operating margins, it's where the company is putting its money to work that's even more exciting.

As I touched on last week, Walgreens Boots Alliance is making sure that its future sales are a bit more diversified. The company is heavily investing in digitization initiatives designed to encourage direct-to-consumer purchases and/or drive-thru pickup. Even though the bulk of its sales will continue to come from its brick-and-mortar stores, online retail sales offer a sustainable organic growth opportunity for years to come.

Yet the biggest growth opportunity for Walgreens looks to be its partnership with, and majority investment in, VillageMD. Walgreens and VillageMD have opened 120 co-located, full-service healthcare clinics through May 31, 2022, with the ultimate goal of reaching 1,000 full-service clinics in more than 30 U.S. markets by the end of 2027. Since these are physician-staffed clinics, they have a good chance to drive repeat business and give customers a reason to visit their local Walgreens.

This is a company with a whopping 6.1% yield that's increased its base annual payout for 47 consecutive years. At less than 7 times Wall Street's forecast earnings for fiscal 2023, it's probably not going to get much cheaper than this.


A second Dow stock that's begging to be bought in October as the bear market decline rages on is payment processor Visa (V 0.10%). Since hitting its record-closing high last summer, shares of Visa are off 29%.

The biggest concerns for Visa are historically high inflation and back-to-back quarters of gross domestic product declines for the U.S. economy. Visa is a cyclical business, which means it ebbs and flows with the U.S. and global economy. If high inflation suppresses consumer and enterprise spending, and/or the U.S. or global economy enters a recession, Visa is very likely going to see a decline in the fees it collects as a payment processor.

However, being a cyclical stock isn't a bad thing. Even though recessions are an inevitable part of the economic cycle, they don't last very long. By comparison, periods of expansion are usually measured in years. Disproportionately longer periods of expansion allow a company like Visa to take advantage of relatively steady spending growth over time.

Visa also finds itself in the enviable pole position in the U.S. -- the No. 1 market for consumption globally. In 2020, Visa accounted for a little more than half of all credit card network purchase volume in the U.S., and it's the only major processor to have significantly grown its share of credit card network purchase volume since the Great Recession ended in 2009. 

While you might think Visa has an opportunity to pivot its well-known brand into a successful lending platform, the company's management team has wisely avoided becoming a lender. During periods of contraction, loan delinquencies and charge-offs rise, which necessitates lenders to set aside capital to cover losses. Since Visa doesn't lend, it doesn't have to worry about putting money aside to cover loan losses. This is a key differentiator that allows it to bounce back from downturns faster than most financial stocks.

Lastly, investors should know that Visa has an exceptionally long growth runway. Most global transactions are still being conducted using cash, which means there's a multidecade opportunity for the company to organically and acquisitively move into new markets. Double-digit sustained growth is a very real possibility with Visa.

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The third Dow stock that's an absolute screaming buy in October is semiconductor kingpin Intel (INTC -5.16%). Since hitting an all-time high in early 2020, shares of Intel have retraced by 62%!

To echo a somewhat similar theme, Intel's cyclical ties have Wall Street worried. As interest rates rise and clamp down on spending for high-growth companies, there's concern that Intel could see chip demand shrink. To boot, competitor Advanced Micro Devices has been chipping away at Intel's market share in central processing unit (CPU) market share for personal computers (PCs) and mobile devices.

While Intel's turnaround will be a multiyear process, a number of catalysts suggest the company's upside potential far outweighs its downside risk at this point.

On a macro basis, demand for semiconductor solutions continues to climb. In addition to Intel's traditional bread-and-butter PC segment, data center demand should rise as businesses shift their data online and into the cloud at an accelerated pace in the wake of the pandemic. As other aspects of our lives become more technology dependent, such as our cars and home appliances, even more opportunities crop up for semiconductor specialists.

On a company-specific basis, Intel's demise appears overstated. Although AMD has made inroads, Intel still commands approximately 70%-plus to 85% shares in the desktop PC CPU, server CPU, and mobile CPU arenas. These are effectively cash-cow operating segments for Intel that provide the capital it uses to make acquisitions, build out its infrastructure, and reinvest in high-growth initiatives.

One of the more exciting upcoming events is the spinoff and initial public offering (IPO) of autonomous vehicle company Mobileye. Intel acquired Mobileye for $15.3 billion five years ago, but anticipates fetching around $30 billion once the IPO is complete.

And don't overlook the importance of the CHIPS and Science Act, which'll provide billions of dollars in subsidies that companies like Intel can use to build manufacturing plants in the United States. President Joe Biden signed the CHIPS and Sciences Act into law in August.

With a 5.7% dividend yield and forward price-to-earnings ratio now below 10, Intel is every bit a screaming bargain for patient investors.