If you think no one trades stocks in the summer, you’re dead wrong.
Market data show that trading volumes in June and July tend to be comparable to the seemingly more lively market action in December and January. In short, July is as good a time to rebalance your portfolio as any other month.
With that in mind, we asked a panel of Motley Fool contributors covering technology and consumer goods stocks where they see the biggest buy-in opportunities on today’s market. They came back with tech companies Micron Technology, Twitter, and IBM, with consumer goods names Walt Disney and Michael Kors, fast-service restaurant operator Chipotle Mexican Grill, and digital video pioneer Netflix.
These stocks seem to offer incredible value right now. But don’t just take that ticker list to the bank — dig into the juicy details behind these seven recommendations right here:
1. Michael Kors (recommended by Tamara Walsh): Investors have punished Michael Kors recently, thanks to concerns over slowing same-store sales and weak guidance in its latest quarter. Shares of the luxury retailer have plummeted more than 42% so far this year as a result, with a sharp 24% decline in May that made Kors one of the worst-performing stocks in the S&P 500 that month. Ouch.
However, with the stock now trading just 1% above its 52-week low, this creates an attractive entry point for long-term investors.
Shares of Michael Kors are now trading around $42 apiece, or just 10 times trailing earnings. The stock’s price-to-growth ratio of 0.97 is one of the lowest in the industry, and further supports the idea that Kors stock is undervalued today. It seems the market has overblown the luxe retail chain’s fall from grace. The company’s operations should rebound in the quarters ahead as Kors invests in growth initiatives, such as international expansion, and building out its global digital flagships.
Michael Kors is still in the early stages of building out its global e-commerce platform, which could translate into added revenue growth in the quarters ahead. For example, the luxury handbags and accessories retailer launched its e-commerce flagship property in the U.S. last year, and has already generated year-over-year sales growth of 63% from that channel.
Growing its online sales, together with international expansion and the global rollout of its menswear business, should help Michael Kors rediscover its momentum. Throw in the fact that the stock is trading near its 52-week low, and this is a winning combination for investors this month.
2. Micron Technology (recommended by Dan Caplinger): Chipmaker Micron Technology is a classic example of a tech stock getting hammered into bargain-basement territory. Investors panicked following the company’s most recent earnings report, which saw adjusted earnings fall by nearly a third on a slight drop in sales, pushing the stock down another 18% in a single day.
Longer term, those following Micron fear that, after a solid recovery in recent years, the chip industry is returning to the same cutthroat conditions that produced price wars and plunging profits in the past. As fellow Fool Anders Bylund noted in his article on Micron earnings, sales volumes and average prices for DRAM fell sharply, hurting the company’s overall results.
Still, Micron has a lot of potential in the long run. By shifting its emphasis away from PC-based products toward higher-interest opportunities like mobile memory and solid-state storage options, Micron is aiming to remain on the leading edge of technological innovation.
Admittedly, Micron has benefited greatly from periodic resurgences in PC demand, and that still makes up a considerable piece of the chipmaker’s overall business. Yet, with the stock trading at just seven times forward earnings — even after analysts have marked down their views on future earnings power dramatically — Micron offers a value-investing opportunity that’s worth a closer look.
3. Netflix (recommended by Anders Bylund): Carl Icahn has sold off his massive Netflix holdings. Analyst downgrades are raining down like the Floridian thunderstorm outside my window. Netflix skeptics dominated the conversation during the last couple of weeks, and the stock has retreated nearly 9% from its recently set all-time highs.
You know what Baron Rothschild says about situations like these: Buy when there’s blood in the streets. And Netflix is wading knee-deep in the red stuff.
To be fair, the stock still trades above the Street’s consensus price targets, but only by a slim 3%. Meanwhile, the company is investing heavily in original content creation and international market expansion. These two projects will continue to obscure Netflix’s long-run profit power, which will surge once the overseas rollouts have completed.
That’s why you should buy Netflix on temporary dips, such as the current one, and hold on until 2017 and beyond. You’ll thank me in a few years, even if the roller coaster continues to take sudden turns in the meantime.
What’s the end game? No later than 2020, I expect Netflix to have at least 60 million U.S. subscribers paying an average monthly fee of $10 or more. The overseas market will dwarf our domestic sandbox by a factor of three to one, with similar service pricing and margins across the board.
Oh… and those unified operating margins will continue to widen. In 2020, Netflix hopes to reach a 40% domestic contribution margin alongside similar international profit takes.
So I fully expect Netflix to report $29 billion in sales just five years from now, which translates into at least $6 billion of bottom-line profits. That would be about $100 of earnings per share, assuming fairly stable share counts. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty excited about being able to pick up Netflix shares today at just more than six times those expected 2020 profits.
4. Chipotle Mexican Grill (recommended by Andres Cardenal): Chipotle stock is down by more than 17% from its highs of the last year, mostly because of fears over slowing growth in the coming quarters. While this can be an important source of volatility in the middle term, the long-term growth story remains pretty much intact.
Management is expecting comparable-store sales to increase in the low-to-mid single digits for the full year 2015, and this would represent a considerable slowdown versus the 10.4% increase in comps the company delivered in the first quarter.
However, most of this deceleration is due to the fact that Chipotle raised prices in the second quarter last year, and this is accounting for a 6.1% increase in comps according to management estimations. Since the company won’t raise prices again this year, comparisons will become tougher during the coming quarters
But that’s no reason to despair. Chipotle is still delivering impressive performance, and the company is planning to open 190-205 new restaurants in 2015, a significant increase versus 1,831 locations as of the end of the last quarter. Besides, international markets are still practically virgin territory for Chipotle, so the company enjoys enormous room for expansion abroad.
Chipotle is also doing a great job in making more revenue in each restaurant: The average restaurant sales volume surpassed the $2.5 million mark for the first time ever in the last quarter. During the past three years, Chipotle has increased average sales volume by more than $500,000 per restaurant, while at the same time adding more than 600 locations to its base.
In addition, the company is venturing into Asian cuisine and pizza with ShopHouse and Pizzeria Locale, respectively. These initiatives are barely getting started, and they could provide substantial room for growth for years to come.
5. IBM (recommended by Tim Brugger): Like others of its ilk, IBM has suffered the wrath of investors and industry pundits due to a steady decline in the PC, hardware, and related enterprise markets — all mainstays of the old IBM. But that should change when investors begin to measure IBM by what matters: CEO Ginni Rometty’s “strategic imperatives,” namely cloud, big data, and business intelligence analytics sales. In these key areas, IBM is performing admirably.
While estimates vary, there’s no denying that there is tremendous upside to offering cloud, big data and cognitive computing solutions to fully capitalize on today’s unprecedented reams of data. IBM is a force to be reckoned with in each of these fast-growing sectors.
Last quarter, IBM’s cloud-as-a-service revenues jumped more than 60% — more than 75% adjusting for currency exchange rates — and is now tracking at nearly $4 billion annually. Considering IBM’s relative “newness” to the cloud compared to some others, its results are even more impressive.
Business analytics sales climbed 12% last quarter, and with IBM’s recent big data wins utilizing its cognitive computing marvel Watson, investors can expect more of the same when the company announces Q2 earnings on July 20. New cloud-related strategic partnerships, continued growth in its strategic imperative divisions, and an industry-leading 3.2% dividend yield, combined with its relative value — it’s trading at less than 10 times future earnings — should place IBM near the top of the list of stocks to buy this month.
6. Disney (recommended by Joe Tenebruso) Even with its stock trading near all-time highs, Disney remains a compelling investment option. The House of Mouse has built an entertainment empire, forged by the brilliant acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel, and most recently, LucasFilm. Combined with sports entertainment titan ESPN, another big-ticket acquisition, mind you, and Disney’s namesake brand, there’s simply no competitor than can match the breadth and depth of Disney’s properties.
Disney’s competitive advantage lies not just in the popularity of its beloved brands, but also in the power of its global distribution system. Disney excels at monetizing its brand assets through its vast collection of theme parks, resorts, and cruise lines. In addition, popular media networks like the Disney Channel and hit movies created by its studio operations not only generate sizable profits, but also help to keep Disney’s characters and story lines front and center in the minds of fans. That, in turn, fuels demand for its licensing division, which is another powerful generator of high-margin revenue.
With what looks to be a multiyear slate of blockbuster movies in the pipeline — headlined by the upcoming release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in December — Disney should continue to deliver magic to both fans and shareholders in the years ahead.
7. Twitter (recommended by Tim Beyers): In some ways, this is quite possibly the worst time to be buying shares of Twitter. Dick Costolo is on his way out as CEO. Co-founder Jack Dorsey is back in, but only on an interim basis while the company searches for a replacement.
When Twitter might get a new leader is anyone’s guess. In the meantime, Dorsey — who is also founder and CEO of mobile payments company Square — probably doesn’t have much room to maneuver. According to Fortune, Twitter’s board continues to believe in Costolo’s strategy and the product roadmap he’s put in place.
So why buy? Periscope and Meerkat. No matter who leads Twitter next month or next year, live-streaming video is rapidly becoming a must-have for mobile users. In fact, an April survey of Internet users aged 18-34 found that half were either already using or interested in Periscope or Meerkat.
That’s huge adoption in the most lucrative advertising demographic on the market. You can bet that brands will be spending a lot in order to reach them.
While Twitter may be troubled, its long-term positioning and assets are worth a lot more than the prices investors are paying currently.
The Motley Fool recommends Chipotle Mexican Grill, Netflix, Twitter, and Walt Disney.
Sponsored content from The Motley Fool: