Today’s article introduces seven robust stocks to buy ahead of earnings. Given the unprecedented tightening by the Federal Reserve, investors are worried that the overall corporate profitability could further deteriorate in the third quarter.
A recent Factset Research Systems (NYSE:FDS) report highlights “the estimated earnings growth rate for the S&P 500” for the third quarter has declined to 3.5%. Put another way, Wall Street is getting ready for the lowest earnings growth rate in the past two years.
Meanwhile, last week’s Earnings Trend report by Zachs reveals an even bleaker picture, forecasting a 1.3% earnings growth for the quarter. If investors were to exclude the energy sector, we would have a decline of -5.4%.
Against this backdrop, the bear market offers an attractive opportunity for investors looking to buy wide-moat stocks with solid growth prospects at bargain valuations. With that information, here is our list of the seven stocks to buy ahead of earnings.
iShares S&P 500 Value ETF
ABM Industries (ABM)
52-week range: $38.08 – $54.00
ABM Industries (NYSE:ABM) is a leading provider of integrated facility services.
With janitorial services at its core, ABM offers building maintenance solutions, like parking operations, facilities management, landscaping as well as e-mobility charging solutions. Its market capitalization (cap) stands around $2.6 billion.
Management released Q3 results on Sept. 9. Revenue grew 27% year over year to $2 billion, driven by broad-based organic growth in core services as well as inorganic growth thanks to the contribution by acquisitions of Able Services and Momentum Support.
The under-the-radar company boasts a solid record of revenue growth along with a history of strong customer retention.
ABM management still sees its momentum growing despite the challenging macroeconomic environment. Meanwhile, in early September, the company completed the acquisition of RavenVolt, a turn-key microgrid systems provider. As the move toward renewable energy gathers momentum, Wall Street will be paying attention to how the transaction will contribute to ABM’s top line.
Passive income seekers may be interested to know that the leading facility services provider has increased its dividend payout for over 50 years. The dividend king currently generates a 1.9% dividend yield.
ABM stock has declined nearly 7% year to date and 16% over the past year. Shares are trading at 0.4 times sales. Analysts’ 12-month median price forecast for ABM stands at $58.
52-week range: $75.81 – $128.40
Bunge (NYSE:BG) is a leading agribusiness and food company with operations along the farm-to-consumer food chain.
In 2021, revenue was shy of $60 billion, where around 70% came from agribusiness. This segment enjoys the most extensive oilseed processing capacity in the world. At present, Bunge’s market cap stands around $13.5 billion.
Management put out Q2 metrics on Jul. 27. Since the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, demand, supply and pricing issues regarding agricultural commodities have been making headlines.
As a result, Bunge has benefited from solid demand and tight commodity supplies. Revenue jumped 16.5% year over year to $17.9 billion, driven by a significant surge in sales of refined and specialty oils.
The food company boasts strong pricing power and is well-positioned to pass on any cost increases to consumers. Furthermore, management raised its full-year adjusted earnings per share (“EPS”) outlook to $12.00 per share with upside potential to be driven by changing supply/demand balance dynamics and market conditions.
Meanwhile, Bunge and BP (NYSE:BP) have recently announced the sale of their Brazilian sugar and ethanol joint venture, valued at roughly $2 billion. Long-term BG shareholders will want to see how Bunge uses the proceeds from this sale.
BG stock has dropped almost 11% year to date, and it supports a dividend yield of 3%. Moreover, shares look cheap at 7.5 times forward earnings and 0.2 times sales. Wall Street’s 12-month median price forecast for Bunge stock stands at $125.
Source: BigTunaOnline / Shutterstock.com
52-week range: $40.52 – $81.19
The global e-commerce giant eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) connects around 147 million buyers and 20 million sellers. In the U.S., its share of the e-commerce market is at 3.5%. By comparison, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) leads the market with a 37.8% share.
In early August, eBay reported Q2 financials. Revenue declined 9% year over year to $2.42 billion due to declining online traffic after the pandemic. The e-commerce play is currently focused on raising transaction fees on its platform.
As eBay has an asset-light business model, its operations are not strongly impacted by rising inflation levels. Moreover, a potential recession is expected to increase consumer interest in eBay’s lower-priced second-hand goods.
EBAY stock has tumbled nearly 43% since the beginning of the year. It currently offers a 2.3% dividend yield. In addition, shares have an attractive valuation at 10 times forward earnings and 2.5 times sales. Analysts’ 12-month median forecast for EBAY stock stands at $52.
HCA Healthcare (HCA)
52-week range: $164.47 – $279.02
HCA Healthcare (NYSE:HCA) operates medical facilities, including over 180 hospitals and roughly 2,200 ambulatory care sites. Its market cap stands at over $55 billion.
Management announced Q2 results on July 22. Revenue increased just 2.7% year over year to $14.82 billion. Wall Street noted the decline in same facility admissions, which was barely offset by an increase in same facility revenue per equivalent admission.
Despite a quarter of slower-than-usual growth, HCA’s financials continue to grow steadily. Moreover, the healthcare play boasts a solid business that generates predictable growth and strong margins.
Meanwhile, HCA recently announced that it would collaborate with Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) to address critical issues in the healthcare industry. Among them are the early identification of lung cancer in patients, supporting nurses through different programs, and cardiovascular health initiatives.
HCA stock has lost more than 24% year to date despite a surge of 17% over the past three months. The stock offers a dividend yield of 1.1% and has a cheap valuation at 10.8 times forward earnings and 1.1 times sales. Wall Street’s 12-month median price forecast for HCA stock is $240.
iShares S&P 500 Value ETF (IVE)
Source: El Nariz / Shutterstock.com
52-Week Range: $132.18 – $160.38
Dividend Yield: 2.07%
Expense Ratio: 0.18% per year
Our next discussion centers around an exchange-traded fund (ETF), namely the iShares S&P 500 Value ETF (NYSEARCA:IVE). It offers exposure to U.S.-based large-cap firms that are potentially undervalued relative to peers. The fund started trading in May 2000.
IVE’s focus on well-established large-cap stocks that offer fundamental value helps add a margin of safety to long-term portfolios. The fund tracks the S&P 500 Value index and has 446 holdings.
In terms of sector allocation, health care has the highest share with 17.05%, followed by financials (14.94%), industrials (12.04%), and consumer staples (11.55%). The top ten stocks in the fund account for around 18% of its net assets of $23 billion.
Among the leading names on the roster are Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-A, NYSE:BRK-B), Johnson & Johnson, Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM), Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG), and UnitedHealth (NYSE:UNH).
The ETF has declined 15% year to date. Trailing price-to-earnings (P/E) and price-to-book (P/B) ratios stand at 16.43x and 2.56x, respectively. Readers looking at blue chips that offer value could consider a fund like IVE.
Nomad Foods (NOMD)
Source: defotoberg / Shutterstock.com
52-week range: $16.47 – $28.92
The U.K.-based Nomad Foods (NYSE:NOMD) is currently the European market leader in the frozen food segment. It has well-known brands such as Birds Eye and Frikom.
The frozen food company reported Q2 results on Aug. 10. Revenue grew 17% year over year to 697 million euros, despite a decline in organic revenue due to supply chain issues.
Nomad is in a strong position to pass on increasing input costs to consumers. Management anticipates the increase in product prices will compensate for volume declines, leading to low-single digit organic sales growth for 2022.
Recent research highlights, “The European Frozen Food Market is expected to reach US$ 124.1 billion by 2027, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.15% from 2020-2027.”
Therefore, analysts expect Nomad to keep its stronghold on the other side of the Atlantic.
NOMD stock has dropped 36% year to date. Shares have a cheap valuation at 9.5 times forward earnings and 1.1 times sales. The 12-month median price forecast for Nomad stock stands at $23.75.
Travelers Companies (TRV)
52-week range: $145.40 – $187.98
Dow 30 member Travelers Companies (NYSE:TRV) is one of the most important property casualty insurance companies worldwide. Its market cap is well over $37 billion, while the stock received a double upgrade in late July, in part thanks to the insurers’ ability to increase premiums without a significant negative impact on demand.
Travelers put out Q2 results at the end of July. Revenue increased 5% year over year to $9.14 billion while reporting double-digit net written premium growth in all segments. However, diluted EPS declined 38% year over year to $2.27.
TRV stock is trading flat for the year. The insurance play has hiked its dividend for 18 consecutive years and currently generates a 2.3% dividend yield.
Forward P/E and price-to-book (P/B) ratios stand at 10.9x and 1.7x, respectively. Finally, Wall Street’s 12-month median price forecast for TRV stock is $175.50.
On the date of publication, Tezcan Gecgil, Ph.D., did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.
Tezcan Gecgil has worked in investment management for over two decades in the U.S. and U.K. In addition to formal higher education in the field, she has also completed all 3 levels of the Chartered Market Technician (CMT) examination. Her passion is for options trading based on technical analysis of fundamentally strong companies. She especially enjoys setting up weekly covered calls for income generation.
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