Home > Business > Three stocks to buy during the coronavirus crash — besides the usual suspects

Three stocks to buy during the coronavirus crash — besides the usual suspects

108 Views

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken the U.S. economy from near-record-low unemployment to mass layoffs and firings.

It’s too soon to predict a rebound, but there are quality companies available now at discounted prices, setting up money-making opportunities for patient investors. Michael Kagan of ClearBridge Investments provided three examples.

Kagan co-manages the $5.1 billion ClearBridge Appreciation Fund
SHAPX,
-0.23%
.
The fund’s Class A shares are rated four stars (of five) by Morningstar. ClearBridge is a subsidiary of Legg Mason based in New York with $155 billion in assets under management.

Here are the three companies Kagan discussed in detail during an interview on April 3:

Company

Ticker

Total return – 2020 through April 2

Total return – 2019

Total return – 3 years

TJX Cos.

TJX,
+1.23%
-33%

39%

10%

Medtronic PLC

MDT,
+0.39%
-24%

27%

14%

Ball Corp.

BLL,
+0.36%
-4%

42%

74%

 Source: FactSet


‘Given the implications for small business, color me skeptical about us being at a bottom.’


— Michael Kagan, portfolio manager at ClearBridge Investments

Kagan was quick to say he thought investors were going to see another significant decline for stocks.

“Compared with previous recessions, this is a mild decline for the stock market,” he said. If you look back to the end of 2018, the S&P 500 Index
SPX,
-0.16%

is up slightly, with reinvested dividends. “Given the implications for small business, color me skeptical about us being at a bottom,” Kagan added.

Here are his comments about the three companies listed above:

TJX

TJX
TJX,
+1.23%

operates T.J. Maxx stores, along with Marshalls and Home Goods. It is the largest off-price retailer and “is the only one of the top 10 retailers that has been adding footage in recent years,” according to Kagan. “It’s one of those companies that gets expensive when everyone is enthusiastic about it. Every so often the market gives you and opportunity to buy it, and this is one of them.”

He called Ross Stores
ROST,
-2.71%

and Burlington Stores
BURL,
+4.73%

“imitators” of TJX, but said he was impressed with both, especially Ross.

Getting back to TJX, Kagan said the company turns over its retail merchandise 11 times a year, “unlike most traditionally retailers, who change inventory twice a year.” He added that TJX’s buyers are “fantastic” at making selections that bring customers back frequently to see what’s new. “You can get great brands like Prada there,” he said.

The obvious question for any retailer, while stores are closed, is how long can the company survive? According to ClearBridge’s retail industry analyst, TJX has a strong enough balance sheet to operate for 14 months “without selling anything,” Kagan said.

Once the stores reopen, Kagan sees TJX as “recession-proof,” because the “comparable items on the internet are going to be more expensive.”

Michael Kagan, managing director and portfolio manager at ClearBridge Investments.


ClearBridge Investments

Medtronic

Medtronic
MDT,
+0.39%

makes medical devices, including pacemakers, surgical devices, implants and diabetes pumps. The stock is down 24% this year, in part because these products are expensive, “and you don’t use their products unless you need to,” Kagan said. So the recessionary environment, the delay in elective surgeries as health-care providers focus on COVID-19 and fear of going to a hospital are all combining to hurt sales.

So Kagan sees another buying opportunity in Medtronic. “They have a 2.5% dividend yield, and that they will not cut,” he said.

Ball Corp.

Ball Corp.
BLL,
+0.36%

is one of the largest manufacturers of aluminum packaging. Kagan said: “The stock is up from its bottom, but if it goes down again, I would add [to holdings].”

Here’s a 12-month price chart through April 3:

Three stocks to buy during the coronavirus crash — besides the usual suspects 2

FactSet

“Demand for [aluminum] has cratered, but if you are a can maker, not so much. Ball Corp. is “a big player in the elimination of plastic bottles,” Kagan said. He went on to tell a story of a trip in November, where he noticed that at San Francisco International Airport, “when we bought bottles, we could only buy aluminum.”

California is phasing in a ban on single-use plastic bottles, and Kagan expects other states to follow. “You are going to see the category convert. Single-use will go to aluminum,” he said, because recycling aluminum is easy and profitable.

Kagan said Ball Corp. has a “rock solid balance sheet, with net debt to equity of 20%,” and that he expects compounded annual earnings growth of 15% over the next five years, with sales “increasing in the high single digits.”

Fund holdings

Kagan said it was clear that “business models that are based on the internet have demonstrated that they work,” and that the coronavirus crisis means “a company like Amazon.com
AMZN,
+0.70%
,
as dominant as they were before, becomes more dominant.”

ClearBridge holds shares of Amazon in its Appreciation Fund, and Kagan said he and colleagues were “happy to play” along with the cloud business trend, even though shares of many of the companies are expensive and the fund is “conservative.” The Appreciation Fund also holds shares of other cloud players, including Microsoft
MSFT,
-1.07%
,
its largest holding, Adobe
ADBE,
-3.19%

(described as “another big bet” by Kagan) and Salesforce.com
CRM,
-1.68%
.

Here are the top 10 holdings of the ClearBridge Appreciation Fund as of Dec. 31:

Company

Ticker

Share of portfolio

Total return – 2020 through April 3

Total return – 2019

Total return – 3 years

Microsoft Corp.

MSFT,
-1.07%
6.8%

-2%

58%

147%

Apple Inc.

AAPL,
-1.15%
4.1%

-18%

89%

76%

J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.

JPM,
+1.31%
3.8%

-39%

47%

5%

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Class B

BRK.B,
+0.00%
3.4%

-21%

11%

7%

Comcast Corp. Class A

CMCSA,
+1.96%
3.1%

-24%

34%

-4%

Visa Inc. Class A

V,
-0.50%
2.9%

-19%

43%

73%

Facebook Inc. Class A

FB,
+1.98%
2.7%

-25%

57%

8%

Home Depot Inc.

HD,
+0.50%
2.4%

-18%

31%

31%

Alphabet Inc. Class A

GOOGL,
-0.05%
2.4%

-18%

28%

28%

Merck & Co. Inc.

MRK,
-2.17%
2.4%

-15%

22%

31%

Sources: ClearBridge Investments, FactSet

Source link

TAGS , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Hi guys, this is Kimmy, I started LicensetoBlog to help you with the latest updated news about the world with daily updates from all leading news sources. Beside, I love to write about several niches like health, business, finance, travel, automation, parenting and about other useful topics to keep you find the the original information on any particular topic. Hope you will find LicensetoBlog helpful in various ways. Keep blogging and help us grow as a community for internet lovers.