Down 20% from its January high and within reach of new 52-week lows, the S&P 500 (^GSPC -0.84%) may be ready to recover — or maybe not. We just don’t know. What we do know is a slew of S&P 500 constituents have suffered even bigger setbacks and are primed to bounce back with or without the broader market’s help.
Let’s take a closer look at three of the most beaten-down names long-term investors can go ahead and add to their portfolios now — even if stocks as a whole haven’t yet found their ultimate bottom.
Dexcom (DXCM -2.72%) makes continuous glucose monitors for people with diabetes. In fact, its “G” series of devices are among the market’s most popular, giving the company control of more than half the United States’ glucose monitor market, as well as the biggest worldwide market share, according to numbers from iData. The fact that its monitors can be managed with a smartphone app and can integrate with some insulin pumps is proving compelling to people afflicted with Type 2 diabetes. This is apparent in Dexcom’s financial results: Last year’s top line was up 27%, and earnings are growing at a corresponding rate.
Don’t look for this trend to slow down anytime soon, either.
Thanks to a combination of poor diets and an obesity epidemic, the International Diabetes Federation forecasts that 10.9% of the planet’s growing population will be diagnosed with diabetes by 2045, up from 2019’s tally of 9.3%. Given the outlook for global population growth during that time, the number of people with diabetes should increase from a little over 700 million to almost 1 billion. Not all of them will need glucose monitors, but many will, and it’s arguable that many diabetes patients aren’t using glucose monitors right now but should be. That’s part of the reason this year’s and next year’s revenue are both projected to grow on the order of 20%, with comparable profit growth in the cards.
None of this has mattered much to investors lately; the stock has been cut in half since November. As the post-pandemic dust settles, though, look for the market to start pricing in the underlying growth story again.
2. General Electric
The timing of General Electric‘s (GE 1.30%) turnaround couldn’t have been any less lucky. Just when it looked like its balance sheet problems and a business mix that was more distracting than diversified were about to be resolved, COVID-19 hit. It became difficult to figure out which weak points were the company’s and which were attributable to the global supply chain’s breakdown.
As is the case with Dexcom, though, with the dust of the pandemic finally settling, we’re getting a clearer picture of where GE is — and the outlook looks good. With a tighter focus on areas like renewable energy, healthcare, and aircraft parts after getting out of the oil and gas business, as well as selling its aircraft leasing operation, the company is now looking for free cash flow of between $5.5 billion and $6.5 billion this year, en route to $7 billion for 2023. That’s up from last year’s $5.1 billion, suggesting General Electric is on the right track.
And its focus is only set to improve going forward. After seeing fiscal success by divesting businesses that don’t quite fit in anymore, the company is planning to split its current self into three more stand-alone entities. The time frame for the divvying has yet to be finalized, but the move should ultimately add net value simply by facilitating transparency and allowing investors to pick and choose which pieces of the current organization they’d like to own (or not).
The prospect hasn’t excited any investors lately, with GE stock falling more than 30% just since the end of last year. Give it time, though. The breakup is a much-needed move that should unlock pent-up value trapped by the company’s still-complicated framework.
3. Walt Disney
Finally, after a 12-month 47% rout that dragged shares to new 52-week lows just last week, Walt Disney (DIS 0.53%) is an attractive long-term buy.
Yes, the entertainment giant is facing myriad challenges right now. These include a sudden slowing in signups for its streaming services that will likely leave it shy of its previous goal of at least 230 million streaming subscribers by 2024, as well as calls for boycotts in response to the company’s stances on some political issues. Lingering economic weakness, of course, also works against Disney by making travel to its theme parks and hotels a relatively tougher sell to prospective vacationers.
Except the worst-case scenario may already be priced into the stock … and then some.
Take its film business as an example. With all studios and theaters effectively shuttered during the latter half of 2020 and much of 2021, it wasn’t clear if the sharp growth of the streaming industry during the heart of the coronavirus pandemic would ever let the movie business return to what it was prior to the public health crisis. But it’s doing just that. Data from Box Office Mojo indicates that ticket sales during this year’s Independence Day weekend topped revenue from the comparable weekend of 2019. Ditto for the following weekend’s take, led by Disney’s Thor: Love and Thunder, pushing the theatrical film business ever closer to its pre-pandemic revenue. Better still for Disney shareholders, of this year’s 10 highest-grossing films thus far, three of them are Disney flicks.
And as for its parks and hotels, while an economic headwind certainly seems like it could take a toll on the company, Morgan Stanley analyst Benjamin Swinburne sees things from a different perspective. In light of nearly two years’ worth of pandemic lockdowns (effectively, even if not officially), Swinburne said he believes “pent-up demand is clearly playing a role in the current Parks strength, which along with Disney’s yield management investments may allow the business to grow even in a modest recession.”
Only time can truly tell how things will shake out, but with the stock more than halved since early last year, the risk-versus-reward ratio is long on reward and short on risk.
James Brumley has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Walt Disney. The Motley Fool recommends DexCom and recommends the following options: long January 2024 $145 calls on Walt Disney and short January 2024 $155 calls on Walt Disney. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.