The market sell-off of 2022 has been challenging for all, but for investors with a long time horizon, it has created the opportunity to buy some blue chip stocks at significant discounts to where they were at the start of the year. And there's no better place to look for blue chips than the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
Many investors view the 30 stocks that make up the Dow as the bluest of blue chips, and it is a good starting point for looking for investment opportunities because membership in the Dow essentially screens out low-quality companies.
While the criteria for admission into this exclusive index isn't as concrete as you might expect, S&P Global (SPGI -1.28%), the company that compiles the index, says that companies must be profitable at time of admission, must be members of the S&P 500 (which has its own stringent selection criteria), and must have an "excellent reputation," demonstrate "sustained growth" over time, and be "of interest to a large number of investors."
With this starting point in mind, let's look at three high-quality Dow components that you can buy now and hold for the long term. All are down 30% or more in 2022.
Salesforce (CRM -0.30%) is one of the newest members of the Dow, having joined in 2020. Shares of the giant in customer relationship management software are down 36% year to date, and down nearly 50% from their 52-week high. This hardly sounds like a performance worthy of blue chip status, but zoom further out and you'll see that Salesforce is a long-term winner.
It has given its shareholders a stellar return of nearly 3,800% since its stock market debut in 2004, and the company has grown revenue for an incredible 73 quarters in a row.
Shares are down this year as software stocks trading at high multiples have been taken down a peg by rising interest rates and fears of a recession. But Salesforce's products like Sales Cloud help companies drive revenue growth by improving the productivity of sales departments, so businesses will be loath to cut it because its services are crucial even in an economic downturn.
Furthermore, businesses are still prioritizing digital transformation, meaning Salesforce's future looks bright over the long term. The company is targeting $50 billion in revenue by 2026, which is nearly double today's levels. Patient investors who buy shares of Salesforce now, while the market is down on it, will likely be rewarded over the next few years as the company progresses toward this goal.
2. Home Depot
Like Salesforce, Home Depot (HD 1.07%) is a long-term winner that has seen its share price slump this year. Shares are down 31% year to date, but don't let that obscure the fact that they are up 370% over the past decade.
The stock is in the red in 2022 because rising mortgage rates made the market more cautious about housing after a decade-plus of surging home prices. But Home Depot also benefits from remodeling projects and other upgrades, so it doesn't need everyone to buy a new house to generate sales.
For all the doom and gloom about housing, from a business perspective, Home Depot is keeping its head down and executing. The company reported record earnings and record revenue during the most recent quarter, making the year-to-date sell-off look like an overreaction. It is also modernizing its business to adapt to the digital age, and online sales were up 12% in the last quarter.
Eventually the market will likely come around to this disconnect between the home-market fears and the company's record results in a weak housing segment, and buying shares of Home Depot now should pay off over the next several years.
3. Walgreens Boots Alliance
Shares of retail pharmacy chain Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA 3.05%) are down 33% year to date, and it doesn't have the same 10-year track record that Salesforce and Home Depot have, since shares are essentially flat over the last decade. But there's reason to believe that the stock could be on its way to a turnaround under CEO Rosalind Brewer as it increases its digital presence and adds healthcare clinics to drive new revenue.
Furthermore, Walgreens is by far the cheapest stock on this list with shares trading at just seven times next year's earnings. Investing in a stock that is trading at a lower valuation gives investors a margin of safety.
In addition to this attractive valuation, Walgreens is a Dividend Aristocrat that yields 5.5%, which is far above the average yield for the S&P 500. A dividend of this size is appealing in the current market. At a time when 10-year Treasury yields have reached 4%, stocks yielding 2% or 3% are less appealing, but shares of Walgreens still pay more than these bonds.
Many stocks are down big in 2022, but looking at some of the market's top blue chip stocks that are down is a good place to start for long-term investment opportunities. Investors who buy these Dow stocks now while the market is in flux should be rewarded over the long term.