The stock market has seen a lot of volatility over the past few years. While it's impossible to predict exactly what the broader market will do in the short term, it's likely that this recent volatility created some worthwhile buying opportunities for long-term investors. In addition to putting your money behind strong businesses that have seen big sell-offs, backing some companies that have held up well despite recent valuation pressures could be a smart move.

With that in mind, read on for reports from two Motley Fool contributors about stocks that are worth owning in today's topsy-turvy market climate -- one down precipitously from its peak valuation and one that's only down slightly from its high. 

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PayPal is one of the best bargains in the market today

Parkev Tatevosian: Trading down 75% from highs set in mid-2021, PayPal Holdings (PYPL 2.90%) might be one of the best bargains in the stock market today. The fintech company is growing users, revenue, and profit on its way to simplifying online payments.

PayPal's utility is one of the primary reasons for the stock's excellent value. As the number of ways to spend money online proliferates, the need for a consolidated purchasing process increases. If you're a PayPal customer, the convenience becomes apparent when it comes up as a payment option while transacting online. It means not needing to dig out a debit or credit card number to enter (as well as the expiration date and security code). In a world where consumers seek out convenience, that's valuable.

That convenience, as well as the security it conveys, helped PayPal's revenue grow from $13 billion in 2017 to $28 billion in 2022. PayPal takes a percentage of each payment made through its service. Its growing revenue is evidence of greater use.

PYPL PE Ratio (Forward) Chart

PYPL PE Ratio (Forward) data by YCharts

Meanwhile, the business created a sound foundation that allows profit to expand with revenue. Between 2017 and 2022, operating income grew from $2.26 billion to $4.04 billion. The broad market sell-off and concerns about the trajectory of online spending in the near term have PayPal's stock selling at a forward price-to-earnings ratio of 15.6. That's a bargain that investors shouldn't pass up.

This defensive stock has been crushing the market

Keith Noonan: Fairfax Financial (FRFHF 0.59%) is a holding company based in Canada that's sometimes been called the Canadian Berkshire Hathaway. Much of the company's subsidiary portfolio is built around investment in insurance companies in the property and casualty insurance fields, and it also holds a value-focused stock portfolio. Fairfax has a talented management team that looks well-suited to leading and helping the company capitalize at present. Fairfax CEO Prem Watsa has also been called the Canadian Warren Buffett.

Fairfax Financial offers strong defensive characteristics and attractive upside potential in today's difficult market and economic climate. While many businesses and stocks suffered in the rising interest-rate environment, Fairfax benefited from it thanks to increasing yields for its fixed-income investments. The average duration of Fairfax's fixed-income portfolio is also relatively low, coming in at just 1.6 years. With such a short duration, the company will have the opportunity to take advantage of rising rates as previous bonds and loans mature.

Fairfax has been building its equity portfolio with a long-term, value-focused strategy, and its insurance businesses should hold up well in the event of an economic downturn. The company's relatively conservative, value-oriented approach has already had its stock significantly outperforming the broader market recently, and shares trade down only 3% from their high. 

FRFHF Total Return Level Chart

FRFHF Total Return Level data by YCharts

The stock pays a dividend yielding roughly 1.5%, and the company has been buying back shares. The dividend is well covered, and management indicated that it plans to continue carrying out stock repurchases, so returning value to shareholders should remain a key component of stock ownership. 

For investors seeking low-risk plays in today's volatile market, Fairfax is a worthwhile portfolio addition. 

PayPal and Fairfax are attractive financials-focused stocks

PayPal and Fairfax operate in different corners of the financials sector, which partially explains why their stock performances have been so divergent over the past few years. For investors taking a diversified approach to portfolio composition, owning both of these stocks could be a good way to get exposure to the financials sector and minimize risk while still leaving the door open for market-beating returns.