There's a lot of uncertainty about the next year or so. And that can make it difficult to predict which stocks will do well during that time frame because there's no telling when this bear market will end. But there are some safe assumptions you can make about which businesses are likely to perform well when looking at a wider period, such as five years or more.
1. Align Technology
Align Technology is a medical device company that makes clear aligners under the popular Invisalign brand. Its braces are a convenient alternative to regular braces, which easily stand out and can make a person feel self-conscious about their appearance. The price of Invisalign can vary but generally, it's usually a bit more expensive than regular braces, sometimes coming in at a few thousand dollars more.
But the counterpoint is that dental care is important, especially in a world where teens and young adults share pictures online through social media and dating apps. The expense may be a necessary one for those who feel they need braces, and Invisalign is less noticeable and easier to use than regular braces. And that's why I'm bullish on the company's future.
In its most recent quarterly results, for the period ended June 30, the company's net revenue of $969.6 million was down 4.1% year over year, as foreign exchange and macroeconomic factors in certain markets (e.g., COVID-19 lockdowns in China) weighed on Align's top and bottom lines. But net income of $157 million was still 16% of revenue as Align continues to generate solid margins despite the headwinds it is facing.
Shares of Align Technology have plummeted a whopping 67% year to date. That's far worse than the S&P 500's decline of 23%. At the start of the year, the stock was trading at a hefty price-to-earnings (P/E) multiple of more than 60, and so a correction in the price was likely overdue. But now, trading at 27 times its profits with potentially stronger financials in the years ahead, it makes for a much more tenable investment.
The average healthcare stock trades at a P/E multiple of just under 20. While Align is a bit more expensive than average, the company's high profit margins and long-term growth opportunities suggest that it is worthy of a premium, and its bottom line should improve in the years ahead as things return to normal around the world.
In the longer term, analysts from Grand View Research also project that the market for clear aligners will grow at a compound annual rate of 29.5% until 2030. And with a top brand like Invisalign to tap into those growth opportunities, Align is a no-brainer buy given its reduced valuation and the potential for the business to get bigger in the long run.
Another safe bet for long-term investors is the economy. And a great way to take advantage of that potential is by investing in one of the top credit card companies in the world, Visa.
The stock is a no-brainer buy because while a downturn in the economy could hurt the company's sales, it's not a trend that will last over the long term. Even during the early stages of the pandemic, the business didn't see a huge slowdown; for the year ended Sept. 30, 2020, revenue fell just 4.9% to $21.8 billion from the previous year. And in the following year, 2021, sales more than made up for that difference, jumping to $24.1 billion.
Another reason to love this stock for the long haul is that it has terrific margins. Visa normally nets a profit margin of roughly 50% of revenue (or better). During the trailing 12 months, the company also generated free cash flow of $16.1 billion.
Shares of Visa are down 17% in 2022, which technically makes it a market-beating stock this year. At a P/E of 27, it's a slightly cheaper buy than rival Mastercard, which is trading at 29 times its trailing profits. With a more modest valuation than its rival and a strong likelihood of a recovery in the economy in the long run, Visa is definitely a no-brainer investment if you're willing to buy and hold.