The 10 top value stocks to buy for 2022.
In an expensive stock market trading near record highs, it’s not easy to pay up for growth stocks. And, as the past few months have shown, there’s a lot of risk in chasing the high-fliers. There have been huge sell-offs in special-purpose acquisition companies, software stocks and electric vehicle firms, among others. As such, many investors are looking to more defensive value companies for 2022. There are numerous definitions of a value stock. Many investors use book value, relative valuations compared to the sector, free cash flow or valuations compared to a historical mean, among other metrics. However, for the sake of this list, the criteria of 15 times forward earnings will be the barometer. Any stock trading for less than that threshold is eligible, and anything over that number is excluded. With that definition set, here are 10 of the best value stocks to buy for 2022.
Verizon Communications Inc. (ticker: VZ)
It’s not glamorous, but for investors seeking a safe and cheap high-yield stock, the telecom industry isn’t a bad place to look. Specifically, Verizon offers a lot of appeal after an underwhelming 2021. The company has spent most of the past five years trading between $50 and $60 per share. The stock doesn’t move quickly. And an inability to capitalize on the 5G upgrade cycle until now has squashed what little momentum Verizon may have had. At some point, however, the 5G investments should start to pay dividends. In the meantime, Verizon continues to enjoy incredible cash flows from its core business. The stock won’t deliver big overnight returns, but it’s got a steady 4.9% dividend yield with some upside potential given its bona fide value-stock status at 10 times earnings.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS)
On the surface, Goldman Sachs looks like one of the absolute cheapest stocks on this list. GS stock is trading for just 6.3 times trailing earnings. That’s in large part due to just how phenomenal 2021 was for the bank. Goldman Sachs saw improving loan market conditions, a boom in investment banking fees and improving results from its wealth management services division. Building on that momentum, Goldman Sachs recently lifted its outlook and profit margin targets through 2025. There is some risk of things cooling off a bit in 2022; analysts forecast a normalization in earnings after 2021’s euphoria. Even so, based on a more conservative outlook for next year, analysts have the stock trading for under 10 times forward earnings. That’s a bargain. The bank pays a fine 2.1% dividend too, and with the Federal Reserve looking to hike interest rates, earnings may surprise once again to the upside.
Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC)
Goldman isn’t the only bank stock to grace the list of the best value stocks to buy for 2022. Wells Fargo is another top option. Deep value investors might scoff. After all, Wells Fargo stock jumped more than 50% in 2021. So how is it still cheap now? The answer is that Wells Fargo faced a one-two punch in recent years. It had to deal with the legacy of its fraudulent-accounts scandal and a potential economic disaster induced by COVID-19. Bank stocks, as a sector, have regained their early pandemic losses as the anticipated credit losses failed to materialize. However, Wells Fargo still has additional upside as it resolves its reputational issues. The company’s CEO has a roadmap to cutting at least $8 billion per year in overhead over the next few years. This will give Wells Fargo a huge earnings boost. The stock is trading at 12 times forward earnings.
Ford Motor Co. (F)
Could Ford become a momentum stock? It’s certainly looking more and more possible with every passing month. The venerable automaker has suddenly become a hot property: Ford’s shares doubled in 2021. Even after doing so, however, Ford remains an inexpensive value stock, selling for less than 11 times forward earnings. Investors finally seem to be waking up to the fact that the traditional automakers are actually rather competitive on electric vehicles. As the herd of new electric vehicle companies lost their luster in 2021, stocks like Ford suddenly took flight. A company like Ford is a much safer bet than a firm with a huge valuation but minimal revenues as of yet, such as Rivian Automotive Inc. (RIVN). And since Ford already has tremendous profitability, it can reward shareholders with a 2% dividend and a sense of stability while waiting to see how the firm’s electric vehicle evolution proceeds.
Fidelity National Information Services Inc. (FIS)
Fidelity Information Services is a diversified financials, payments and information technology company. It’s one of the fastest-growing companies on this list, as analysts see the company growing earnings at 13% per year in 2022 and 2023. Despite that, amid the sell-off in the payments stock sector, Fidelity Information Services fell about 25% in 2021 and thus has fallen squarely into the bucket of top value stocks to invest in, as shares trade at just 14 times estimated 2022 earnings. This appears to be around general worries of fintech disrupting legacy payments firms. However, Fidelity Information Services should dodge that risk, as it’s a diversified business spanning countless lines of payments businesses. It has high-profile new-economy clients such as PayPal Holdings Inc. (PYPL), Klarna, Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) and Crypto.com, and deals tend to be multiyear recurring revenue streams. Long story short, rumors of this company’s demise have been greatly exaggerated, leading to an opportune entry point for 2022.
International Business Machines Corp. (IBM)
IBM certainly missed much of the last decade’s big innovations in the technology sector. The tech giant was once the largest company in the world by market capitalization. It’s not on the same scale today. However, many investors have written the firm off prematurely. The company remains an absolute cash flow machine with its core consulting and services business. It’s not glamorous, but it is highly profitable. The company is active in growth sectors, as well. It has one of the most advanced artificial intelligence programs in the world. Commercialization has been slow, but if IBM solves that issue, it would be a game-changer. In the meantime, the company’s Red Hat purchase gave it a big boost in on-trend categories such as cloud computing and virtualization. IBM still faces structural headwinds, to be sure. But at a 12 times forward P-E ratio and 5.1% dividend yield, the price is certainly right to give IBM’s turnaround story a chance.
Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD)
Investors have labeled Gilead Sciences a value trap. That’s because the stock has gone nowhere for the past five years despite appearing to be cheap. This is understandable. Gilead rose to prominence from a highly successful set of drugs to treat hepatitis C. Gilead was unable to immediately follow up that product line with a second act, causing the company’s revenues, earnings and stock price to stall out. Seemingly under the radar, however, Gilead has snapped out of its slump. Analysts are modeling double-digit growth in 2022 as Gilead’s clinical pipeline and acquisitions are kicking into gear. Biotech investing is always subject to a certain degree of luck depending on clinical trial outcomes. However, with earnings set to jump, Gilead looks attractive at 10 times forward earnings and with a 4% dividend yield.
FedEx Corp. (FDX)
FedEx fell victim to a post-pandemic slump. Shares had surged in 2020 as soaring e-commerce demand led to unprecedented need for FedEx’s delivery and logistics services. Previously, investors had worried that Amazon would steal market share from FedEx. With the rise of quarantine shopping in 2020, however, there were more than enough packages to keep everyone busy. 2021 was more difficult, though. Labor shortages and surging wages made it difficult to keep the workforce ready at a reasonable cost. Soaring fuel prices crimped profit margins. And port closures, vaccine mandates and other outside factors added further layers of complexity to FedEx’s business. Despite all that, FedEx is still going for just 12 times forward earnings. While the headwinds are real, the company’s earnings more than offset them. To that end, FedEx just announced a $1.5 billion accelerated share repurchase program to sop up company stock while it’s cheap. As if that weren’t enough, JPMorgan Chase analysts labeled FedEx stock one of their top transportation picks for 2022.
Kroger Co. (KR)
Like FedEx, Kroger found itself in a complicated situation thanks to the pandemic. Initially, Kroger delivered strong growth as consumers stocked up their pantries at the start of the lockdowns. In addition, Kroger has invested heavily in e-commerce, warehouses and logistics over the past few years. It’s not just a sleepy grocery store chain anymore. In a crisis, Kroger was able to demonstrate its capabilities with delivery orders and gain the trust of a new generation of consumers. 2021 was more complicated, though. Labor shortages and supply chain problems caused Kroger significant profitability headwinds. In addition, the general inflationary wave forced Kroger and its suppliers to raise prices dramatically, potentially damaging the consumer relationship. For the longer term, Kroger’s investments in logistics should keep it on the right road, and at 13 times forward earnings, the stock is hardly priced for perfection.
ExxonMobil Corp. (XOM)
ExxonMobil is enjoying a long-overdue comeback. Exxon stock suffered a six-year downturn between 2014 and 2020, with the stock plummeting from $100 to its ultimate low around $30 during the pandemic. The price of natural gas slumped, while oil did it one better: Crude briefly tumbled below $0 per barrel during the height of the COVID-19 crisis. However, as the adage goes, the cure for low prices is low prices. With oil down for so long, producers stopped putting much capital into new projects. As a result, the supply of oil has become less certain, while demand for oil has come surging back as the world economy reopens. Government regulation and socially conscious investors have further made it difficult to drill for new oil. This puts existing producers with low-cost fields, like ExxonMobil, in the driver’s seat. The stock is selling at just 11 times earnings heading into 2022, while paying out a nearly 6% dividend yield.
10 best value stocks to buy for 2022:
— Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ)
— Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS)
— Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC)
— Ford Motor Co. (F)
— Fidelity National Information Services Inc. (FIS)
— International Business Machines Corp. (IBM)
— Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD)
— FedEx Corp. (FDX)
— Kroger Co. (KR)
— ExxonMobil Corp. (XOM)