The past several weeks haven’t been good ones for the market. the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC) currently sits more than 8% below January’s high and appears capable of sinking further. For some S&P 500 constituents, of course, recent setbacks are even more sizable.
As veteran long-term investors can attest, though, these dips are ultimately buying opportunities. The key is finding the strength to do so, even when you know we may or may not have seen the final bottom put in. Sometimes, holding out for that last bit of discount can cost more than it saves.
To this end, here’s a closer look at three great but beaten-down S&P 500 stocks ready to bounce back sooner than later. They may not have seen their ultimate low just yet, but they’re too bargain-priced to pass up here.
1. Ford Motor Company
It’s not a name that needs much of an introduction. While Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) may no longer be the industry’s biggest name, it’s arguably the most recognized brand in the automobile business, selling nearly 2 million cars last year in the United States alone. Granted, that’s less than the company somehow sold in a turbulent 2020, and for that matter, neither Ford nor any of its internal-combustion-powered vehicle-making rivals ever seemed to have snapped back from the industry’s “peak auto” sales pinnacle experienced in 2016. Thanks to Ford stock’s 38% slide from January’s high, shares of the carmaker currently stand where they did all the way back then.
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The thing is, the buyers that drove Ford shares up from their early 2020 low to this January’s peak had the right idea, even if their interest was overzealous. Ford Motor Company is making waves as a new era of automaking takes shape.
That’s electric vehicles, of course. While it’s still early days for Ford’s EV chapter, know that its new all-electric Mach-E Mustang has replaced the Tesla Model 3 as Consumer Reports’ top EV pick for 2022, while demand for Ford’s battery-powered F-150 Lightning pickup truck has been so strong the company had to stop taking orders for them altogether. Given Mordor Intelligence’s expectation that the EV market will grow at an annualized pace of more than 23% through 2027, Ford is well-positioned for long-term growth. The stock’s current price of less than eight times this year’s projected per-share earnings only bolsters the bullish argument.
2. Market Axess Holdings
While Ford may be a household name, MarketAxess Holdings (NASDAQ: MKTX) isn’t. There’s a good chance, however, that you or someone in your household is a beneficiary of its services without even knowing it.
Simply put, MarketAxess provides access to market-related information and tools, namely, bonds. You don’t see its platform directly. Rather, MarketAxess offers brokerage firms a powerful interface letting them access a wealth of information about the bond market it can then pass along to you or an institution managing money on your behalf.
It matters more now because the bond-trading market has exploded in recent years, which explains how MarketAxess was able to grow its top line to the tune of 17% in 2020 despite the lousy environment we were in at the time. That didn’t leave room for any real sales growth in 2021, although analysts are calling for sales growth of 9% this year and then looking for revenue growth to accelerate to more than 12% next year.
Earnings are growing at a similar clip, turning the stock’s 56% slide from its late-2020 peak into buying opportunity.
Finally, add Citi Group (NYSE:C) to your list of beaten-down S&P 500 stocks ready to bounce back. Shares of the megabank are off by more than 30% since the middle of last year, hitting new 52-week lows just earlier this month.
It’s not tough to figure out why investors are fleeing big-bank holdings, including Citigroup. The world is struggling to escape the COVID-19 pandemic, and the rampant inflation that’s forcing the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates is also making borrowing money a less-compelling prospect. Throw in the fact that the specter of a recession crimps interest in capital markets, and the foreseeable future doesn’t look too hot for the banking business.
It’s arguable, however, that these sellers have overshot their target without realizing the upside of rising rates.
Yes, interest in borrowing is drying up. The Mortgage Bankers Association reports March’s applications for mortgage loans fell 5% year over year, extending several weeks’ worth of steadily growing disinterest. At the same time, loan defaults are starting to creep higher. Lending market researcher Black Knight notes that for the first time in months, February’s mortgage delinquencies inched upward. The news prompts flashbacks of 2008’s subprime mortgage meltdown.
What’s not being fully explained, however, are the incredible circumstances seen in 2021 that make current comparisons a little misleading. Last year saw a record-breaking $1.6 trillion in mortgage loans, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association, leaving little need for new loans this year. And while defaults may be on the verge of rising, bear in mind that foreclosure and eviction moratoriums have been in place for the better part of the past couple of years.
The point is, it all looks and feels relatively bad, but higher interest rates are set to do the bank more good than harm by making new loans more profitable than loans already extended at lower rates.
The current annualized dividend of $2.02 (and a subsequent dividend yield of 4.1%) isn’t exactly in jeopardy either. The company earned a whopping $10.14 per share last fiscal year, leaving it plenty of wiggle room if it’s needed.
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Citigroup is an advertising partner of The Ascent, a Motley Fool company. James Brumley has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns and recommends MarketAxess Holdings and Tesla. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.