Has the bear market ended? I wish I knew. But since there’s no way to know with complete certainty, investors must be prepared for multiple outcomes going forward. It’s why I suggest always keeping a list of must-buy stocks.
More than just knowing what stocks to buy, investors should know when they want to buy them and for what price. For instance, I want to buy shares of “ABC in a bear-market panic at $X a share.”
That gives us a clear plan of attack — even if we never make it to that particular battle.
The risk in not buying a stock today in hopes of a lower price tomorrow is that that price may never come. However, the risk of buying now is clear, too, as a continued decline will hammer its value.
By having a few stocks outlined at specific prices, we can avoid some of these headaches. We can also get a great deal on some must-buy stocks and do so with much less emotional turmoil.
|PANW||Palo Alto Networks||$175.65|
|GOOGL, GOOG||Alphabet||$101.43, $102.22|
Salesforce (NYSE:CRM) has already come down significantly in price, with shares suffering a peak-to-trough decline of 53.9%. However, should we see a bit more downside, I’m pretty interested.
Specifically, I’m looking to see if the stock falls into the $120s. If so, I think it’s one long-term growth investors need to snatch up.
While the company’s earnings did take a bit of a hit due to the economic volatility we’re experiencing — after not experiencing any issues earlier in the year — growth here remains robust.
Analysts expect 17% revenue growth this year and 14.7% growth in 2024. While earnings growth is forecast to be flat this year, analysts expect 20% growth next year. All told, shares trade at about 30x this year’s earnings and 26x estimates for next year.
More important than all of that, though, is the company’s recent projection, which calls for revenue of $50 billion in FY 2026. Keep in mind that it’s operating in FY 2023 right now and is forecast to generate $31 billion in sales this year. Thus, Salesforce isn’t anywhere near slowing down.
Palo Alto Networks (PANW)
As volatility in the stock market and economy continues to accelerate, so too do cybercrimes. While there may not be a direct correlation between the two, it’s hard to argue that cybersecurity isn’t a top need for companies and consumers.
That’s where Palo Alto Networks (NASDAQ:PANW) comes in.
No matter how rocky the environment, Palo Alto keeps on delivering. When it most recently reported earnings, the company delivered a top- and bottom-line beat for its fiscal Q4. However, it also provided full-year guidance ahead of analysts’ expectations.
The stock isn’t cheap, but should it be?
With this type of growth — analysts expect earnings and revenue growth of roughly 25% this year and 20% next year, respectively — should it trade at a discount? I don’t think so.
I’m eyeing two areas on the chart for Palo Alto Networks: $127 to $133 and sub-$110. The first zone is a retest of the 2021 breakout area. The second zone tests the 2021 lows and the 200-week moving average.
Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL)
Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL, NASDAQ:GOOG) has a caveat with its pick on the list. The company is tied to global and domestic economies. If there’s a significant slowdown — in other words, a recession — then ad revenue and ad margins will take a hit.
There’s no other way to put it. However, that doesn’t mean Alphabet should be sold relentlessly.
It owns the two most popular websites, Google.com and YouTube.com. That’s like owning Boardwalk and Park Place in Monopoly. It has a fortress balance sheet and monstrous free cash flow to boot.
Simply put, a short-term slowdown should not discourage long-term investors.
Painfully, Alphabet came quite close to hitting our $90 to $92 buy target (with a preference toward $90). There we find a key retracement measure, breakout area, and the 200-week moving average. Not to mention, the stock has already suffered a terrible pullback, with a peak-to-trough loss of 37%. That’s the stock’s most significant decline in the last 12 years — even outpacing its decline during March 2020.
Lastly, Alphabet has only suffered three pullbacks in excess of 30% in the last dozen years, and this has been the worst one. The other two were major opportunities. Long-term investors can rest assured that this one will be too. Thus, Alphabet is among the top must-buy stocks.
On the date of publication, Bret Kenwell did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.