closed at a record on Thursday, soaring above 4000 for the first time. But not every stock has shared in those gains so far this year.
While the majority of S&P 500 stocks are positive for the year, about one in five have declined in the first quarter of 2021. Some are down for fundamental reasons, while others seem to be suffering from the market’s momentum shift from growth stocks to cyclical and value names.
Once the headwind wanes, however, names that have been left behind are likely to catch up as their earnings estimates remain strong. In some cases, analysts have adjusted their expectations higher this year. That presents a good opportunity to snap up shares of fundamentally solid companies at discount prices.
Among the nearly 100 S&P 500 companies whose shares are in negative territory year to date, about half are expected to post 2021 earnings per share that are at least 20% higher than fiscal 2019 earnings. Among those, about 30 are expected to see that strength sustain into 2022, meaning their 2022 earnings are expected to grow at least another 10% from 2021 levels.
To find stocks whose earnings potential may not be reflected in share prices, Barron’s took those 30 names and removed any stocks that traded at more than 30 times 2021 earnings estimates. That left us with nine names.
Even better, analysts have raised their 2021 and 2022 earnings estimates for all of the stocks since the end of last year, meaning Wall Street is turning more bullish on them. These discounted names are mostly growth stocks across healthcare, tech, telecommunication, and consumer sectors.
(ticker: QCOM), for example, has seen its stock tumble nearly 10% year to date. Investors appear unimpressed by the company’s first-quarter revenue, which was 62% higher than a year ago but still missed analysts’ expectations. In the longer term, the company–known for chips that power smartphone processors–could benefit from the world’s transition to 5G networks and the Biden administration’s proposed infrastructure spending.
(VTRX) shares are another example where a recent pullback due to negative events may have gone too far. In mid-October, the biotech company canceled the development of a once-promising drug after trial results disappointed. Its stock has plunged 23% since and is down 10% year to date. Despite the flop of that one drug, Barron’s wrote in March that Vertex remains a powerhouse in cystic fibrosis treatment and is developing a promising pipeline beyond that.
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