The ongoing stock market correction does not make American stocks in general a bargain, because there are still some grossly overpriced shares on the U.S. burses. Instead, it makes certain under appreciated U.S. stocks bargains.
Naturally, the challenge is identifying which stocks are overpriced and what the true bargains are. That can be a little difficult given the focus the investment media puts on overpriced companies and the way it ignores some of the true bargains.
Yes, Folks, There Is a U.S. Stock Market Correction
That being said, the U.S. stock market correction is certainly for real even though it is too early to tell if we are seeing the start of a bear market. At the height of the correction on August 25, 2015, the main American index, the S&P 500, was down 12.4% from its yearly high. Since then, the S&P experienced a slight recovery, regaining about 5% of losses by rising to -7.7% on September 15 before starting another drop on September 18, 2015.
Interestingly enough, there appears to be no cause for this correction; instead, several factors are at play, including the Chinese stock market collapse, recession fears in Canada, the collapse of oil prices, and weak retail sales in the United States. The Wall Street Journal actually ran a headline trumpeting a .2% monthly gain in U.S. retail sales in August on September 15.
Some of these factors could also be boosting American stocks. Money that might normally be flowing into the Chinese stock markets, commodities or Canadian stocks is going into U.S. exchanges because there is nowhere else for it to go.
Some U.S. Stock Bargains
The good news is that the correction is making some really appealing U.S. stock market bargains even cheaper. There are some great buys in American stocks for those willing to look beyond media hype right now.
A few really interesting American stock bargains to look into include:
Walmart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) – The world’s largest retailer had a dividend yield of 3.08% and a return on equity of 19.68% on September 18, 2015, yet it was trading at $63.34 (€56.01) a share on the close of business on the same day. Walmart is also a company that reported a TTM revenue of $485.62 billion (€429.66 billion), a net income of $15.49 billion (€13.70 billion) and a diluted earnings per share figure of 4.791 on July 31, 2015. Walmart is certainly undervalued and will remain so for some time because of its low revenue growth rate (.9% on July 31, 2015). One reason why this retailer is undervalued is the American investment community’s obsession with revenue growth.
Kroger (NYSE: KR) – The largest grocer in the United States is an often ignored retail giant and very profitable company. Kroger reported a TTM revenue of $108.78 billion (€96.19 billion) on July 31, 2015, larger than Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN), which reported a revenue of $95.81 billion (€84.72 billion) on June 30, 2015, yet it was trading at $36.73 (€32.48) a share on September 18, 2015, because of a recent stock split. Kroger also gave investors a dividend yield of 1.04% and a return on equity of 35.56%. Unlike Amazon, Kroger also made money; it reported a net income of $1.932 billion (€1.71 billion) on July 31, 2015, while Amazon reported a negative net income of -$188 million (€166.25 million) on June 30.
Oracle (NYSE: ORCL) – As I noted elsewhere, the financial software provider is one of several U.S. technology companies that is sitting on a lot of cash. On August 31, 2015, Oracle reported having $55.93 billion (€49.46 billion) in the bank, yet it was trading at $36.38 (€32.17) a share on September 18, 2015. Oracle is also a highly profitable company; on August 31, 2015, it reported a profit margin of 20.68%, a free cash flow of $5.41 billion (€4.78 billion) and a net income of $9.501 billion (€8.4 billion). Oracle also paid back investors with a dividend yield of 1.48% and a return on equity of 19.86%.
Microsoft (NYSE: MSFT) – Oracle is not the only undervalued U.S. software company sitting on an impressive stash of cash. Microsoft reported having $96.53 billion (€85.36 billion) in cash and short-term investments on June 30, 2015, yet it was trading at $43.48 a share (€38.45) on September 18, 2015. Like Oracle Microsoft paid off for investors, it offered shareholders a dividend yield of 2.14% and a return on equity of 13.79%. Microsoft also demonstrated an impressive ability to generate more cash; it managed to generate a net income of $12.19 billion (€10.75 billion) and a free cash flow of $5.035 billion (€4.45 billion) on June 30, 2015, despite a negative profit margin of -14.4%.
ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) – The gigantic oil company is still making an impressive amount of money despite collapsing revenues and low oil prices. Exxon reported revenues of $335.25 billion (€296.46 billion) on June 30, 2015, yet it was trading at $72.68 (€64.27) a share on September 18, 2015. Exxon is still a very profitable company despite its losses. It reported an EPS of 5.611, a net income of $23.77 billion (€21.02 billion) and a profit margin of 5.65% on a revenue growth rate of -33.36% on June 30, 2015. ExxonMobil also provided investors with a dividend yield of 3.91% and a return on equity of 13.51% a share on September 18, 2015.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL)– Strangely enough, Apple could be the best bargain in American stocks right now because all of its numbers look really good. On June 30, 2015, Apple reported some tremendous numbers for the second quarter of 2015, including a TTM revenue of $224.34 billion (€198.38 billion), a revenue growth rate of 32.42%, a diluted EPS of 44.53%, a net income of $50.74 billion (€44.87 billion), a profit margin of 21.52% and a free cash flow of $12.90 billion (€11.41 billion). Apple was not only growing fast and making a lot of money but it was sitting on a lot of cash. Apple reported having $34.7 billion (€30.68 billion) in cash and short-term investments on June 30. Stockholders also shared in Apple’s success. It offered a dividend yield of 1.75% and a return on equity of 41.55% on September 18. With its growth rate and return on equity, Apple was definitely undervalued at $113.45 (€100.32) a share on September 18.
When You Should Buy U.S. Stocks
Not surprisingly, many people are wondering when they should start buying some of these stock bargains. That probably depends on the stocks; my suspicion is that some shares, including Walmart, Kroger, Microsoft, ExxonMobil and Oracle, will probably see further price drops, while Apple could start rising soon when people see how good it is.
Something for investors to remember here is that it is better to buy a good stock that is slightly overpriced than a bad stock that is under priced. That is true because short-term losses will be made up by long-term gains.
It should also be noted that there are many more impressive bargains in the U.S. stock market right now for those that are willing to look for them. A little research into American stocks during this correction could pay off handsomely when the bull market returns.