Finding good, bargain-priced stocks is difficult in a market regularly hitting new all-time highs. Although you can buy many cheap stocks, they are cheap for a reason. Broken business models and failed leadership often send stocks into the gutter.
The trick is to find businesses where the business only suffers from a temporary setback but causes the market to misprice the stock. Those present great opportunities for investors looking to buy good companies at great prices because you can generate excess returns over time. Below are three stocks at 52-week lows to buy because their business is still solid, and there is plenty of growth still to come.
Tobacco giant Altria (NYSE:MO) might not spring to mind as a company with long-term growth potential since cigarette smoking is in a secular decline. The Centers for Disease Control ( ) says the number of adults in the U.S. who smoke has declined from 20.9% of the population in 2005 to 11.5% in 2021. But this means some 28 million Americans are still smoking. That’s a large customer base and Altria has the largest share of them. Its industry-leading brand, Marlboro, owns a near-50% market share. Due to the addictive nature of nicotine, they keep coming back even as prices rise. That makes Altria a very profitable business, generating exceptional margins as a result.
Gross margins are nearly 70%, trailing operating margins are north of 56%, and net margins exceed 42%. Despite this, MO stock is down 13% over the past year. Shares trade at just eight times earnings and the company’s free cash flow (FCF). As a result, its dividend yield is soaring, hitting 10% annually. Altria also has a 54-year record of raising its payout, making the cigarette stock a Dividend King.
Pharmaceutical stock AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) is another surprising name, though not for the same reason as Altria. This is a solid drugmaker with a portfolio of billion-dollar drugs. Yet, the market discarded it into the discount bin after the pharma’s latest earnings report slightly missed top and bottom line expectations.
AstraZeneca’s oncology portfolio did well enough, with its biggest drugs Tagrisso, Imfinzi, Lynparza and Calquence, all notching sales gains. The largest, Infinzi, even soared 51% to $1.14 billion in sales, but that was not good enough for Wall Street, which wanted more. Tagrisso also came in at $1.4 billion and diabetes therapy Farxiga surged 36% to $1.6 billion.
The drug company is also trying to edge into the weight-loss market dominated by Novo Nordisk (NYSE:NVO). AstraZeneca entered into an exclusive licensing agreement with Chinese drug company Eccogene for its investigational therapy ECC5004. It may pay nearly $2 billion if the treatment hits certain milestones.
AZN stock is a clear case of a company unfairly beaten down despite still having a good, growing business. Shares trade at just 13 times earnings estimates and pay a dividend yielding 2.5%. That makes AstraZeneca a stock primed for a rebound.
The last of our trio of good companies at bargain-basement prices is Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX). The coffee shop looks like a simple business in a mature industry with no competitive moat. That couldn’t be further from the truth. As the company’s long operating history shows, few rivals have mastered serving coffee as well as Starbucks and it still offers plenty of growth.
SBUX stock, though, is suffering from headwinds in China and the Middle East, along with pressure from drive-thru chains like Dunkin Brands and Dutch Bros (NYSE:BROS). Yet Starbucks continues to be highly profitable and generate generous cash flows. It uses its FCF to buy back shares and pay dividends, which it has raised for 13 consecutive years.
By focusing on premium coffee, the chain of more than 13,000 stores has distinguished itself from its rivals. At times, that falls out of favor but has served the java slinger well over the long haul. Starbucks has a loyal customer base with a loyalty program accounting for 59% of North American sales.
The stock bounced off its 52-week lows last week but is still at depressed valuations that warrant investor attention. With new beverage offerings and a varied menu for customers, SBUX stock represents a good, long-term value to scoop up now.
On the date of publication, Rich Duprey held a LONG position in MO stock. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.