Turkey day is here, and that means that 2023 isn't far around the corner.
While you're celebrating the holidays with friends and family, it's also a good time of year to get your financial house in order. Though 2022 has been a year to forget for most investors, savvy investors know that bear markets present buying opportunities. So this could be a great time to put some extra money or end-of-the-year bonuses to work.
Let's take a look at three stocks that look set to bounce back in 2023.
1. A recession-proof travel stock?
Airbnb, after all, is a verb and noun, and it's come to mean any type of home-share, even if it's not an Airbnb listing.
In 2022, the business has boomed as travel has recovered and Covid restrictions have come down. In its most recent quarter, revenue jumped 29% to $2.9 billion, and GAAP net income soared 46% to $1.2 billion as margins benefited from the seasonal peak of the travel season.
Despite that performance, the stock has lagged throughout the year, down 43% year to date.
Investors seem to fear a coming recession and believe that Airbnb stock may be overvalued even with its strong growth rate. However, the company is better positioned than its travel peers. In fact, Airbnb was born during the peak of the financial crisis.
The company's business model is highly flexible compared to traditional hotel chains, and its inventory shifts according to economic demand. For example, management said that single-room listings increased 31% in the third quarter as people around the world looked for a way to cope with high inflation. That growth in inventory will help the company over the long term and ensure that it will be able to offer affordable places for travelers to stay. Often, a single-room listing will beat the price of a competing hotel room, making Airbnb a good option for budget travelers.
If the company can continue to grow and gain market share through the potential recession, it will emerge even better equipped to take advantage of the opportunity in travel and experiences valued at well over $1 trillion.
2. A shaken search giant
Shares of the Google parent have tumbled as growth has dramatically slowed following its own pandemic boom. Revenue increased just 6% in its most recent quarter as macroeconomic headwinds caught up with the advertising industry.
The company doesn't see any new competition in its industry. In fact, advertising demand seems to be shifting from social to search because of Apple's ad-targeting restrictions, and Alphabet's ad revenue outgrew rival Meta, the Facebook parent, in the third quarter.
Advertising is often one of the first expenses to get cut when businesses fear a recession as they expect consumers to cut back on spending and look to trim their own budgets. But advertising is cyclical. It will recover once the economy begins to expand again.
Alphabet has been through this cycle twice before, in the financial crisis and during the pandemic, and both times it's made a robust recovery. There's no reason to expect anything different this time around. Once the business starts to accelerate, its current price-to-earnings ratio of 19 is likely to look like a bargain.
3. A tech giant with fixable problems
Amazon (AMZN 2.17%) is facing challenges at every turn, it seems. So far this year, its growth rate has shrunk to just single digits, the company has shuttered once-promising concepts like Amazon Care, it's canceled or closed dozens of warehouses, and it just announced plans to lay off roughly 10,000 corporate workers. Now, even Amazon's once-impeccable customer satisfaction scores are slipping.
As a result, the stock is down 45% year to date and has now given back roughly all of its pandemic-era gains when the e-commerce business was booming, and it was posting record profits.
Despite those challenges, Amazon has the means to get back on track, and its competitive advantages like Prime membership, fast delivery, its third-party marketplace, and others are just as strong as they were a year ago.
Amazon made errors, including overestimating the trajectory of e-commerce demand coming out of the pandemic. But taking steps to control costs, such as laying off employees, closing warehouses, and pulling back spending on unprofitable items like Amazon Care and Alexa, will show up on the bottom line.
Meanwhile, Amazon Web Services remains a profit machine, on track for close to $25 billion in operating income this year. Its e-commerce business should get back to profitability as it rebalances costs and benefits from a high-margin advertising business that is approaching $40 billion in annual revenue.
On a price-to-sales basis, the stock is as cheap as it's been in eight years before investors were aware of AWS's potential. While its growth rate may slow down now that annual revenue is set to top $500 billion, the company still has a lot of room to ramp up profits. With the cost-cutting moves it's making now, it should see a sharp improvement on the bottom line in 2023.