With stock indexes still in the doldrums, you may not be thinking about the next bull market right now. But today actually is a great time to focus on the better days ahead — whether they are right around the corner or farther down the road — so that you can prepare your portfolio and enter that bull market in a position of strength.
Today, many top stocks with amazing growth prospects are cheap, beaten down by today’s tough market. And that equals opportunity for you to snap up potential long-term winners for a bargain. You’ll find these players across industries.
Let’s check out five top stocks to buy now — and benefit from later.
When you think of Moderna (MRNA 2.13%), you probably think of the coronavirus vaccine. The vaccine has generated billions of dollars in earnings over the past two years. That’s the company’s only product right now — and it helped Moderna’s stock soar earlier in the pandemic.
These days, Moderna’s dependence on the vaccine for revenue has done just the opposite: It’s weighed on stock performance. That’s as investors worry about future growth.
But these concerns look overdone. Moderna has 48 programs in development — and even some opportunities for blockbuster revenue over the next few years. The company has three potential blockbusters other than the coronavirus program in phase 3 trials right now.
These are vaccine candidates for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), flu, and cytomegalovirus (CMV). Moderna aims to file for regulatory approval of the RSV candidate in the first half of this year.
All of this means Moderna may be poised for a new phase of growth. And a bull market could be the perfect occasion for this growth stock to soar.
2. Teladoc Health
Teladoc Health (TDOC 1.90%) disappointed investors last year after reporting billion-dollar noncash goodwill impairment charges linked to an acquisition. Investors had already been worried about Teladoc’s lack of profitability, and these charges deepened their concerns.
Still, it’s important to look at the whole picture. Yes, it seems Teladoc overpaid for its purchase of chronic care specialist Livongo in 2020, resulting in the impairment charges. But over time, chronic care is a key growth element for Teladoc. So the investment could pay off in the long run.
Also, the company has made progress in areas that should help it on the path to profitability. Teladoc has increased members, revenue, and visits. The company also has made significant gains thanks to its mental health business, BetterHelp. That business’ revenue climbed 29% in the fourth quarter of last year and served more than 1 million people during the year.
Teladoc also has shifted its strategy to favor increasing margins and reaching profitability. Earlier in the year, this began by cutting some jobs and office space. Today, Teladoc is trading at its lowest ever in relation to sales. And this looks like a steal considering the company’s potential in this high-growth market.
Last year wasn’t easy for Target (TGT 0.52%). The retailer faced higher inflation, which weighed on its costs and on shoppers’ wallets. In spite of the difficult environment, Target still managed to increase revenue — and offer us clues that its growth story is far from over.
The fourth quarter represented Target’s 23rd straight quarter of comparable sales growth. And the company made market share gains across all five of its product categories last year.
Moving forward, Target is investing in areas that should support long-term growth. The company opened six new sortation centers in 2022. These centers speed up order delivery and lower Target’s costs.
Target also has revamped stores to better serve customers and partnered with companies like Ulta Beauty and Disney to drive traffic. Target says Ulta sales at Target quadrupled from 2021 to 2022.
Today, Target shares are trading for less than 20 times forward earnings estimates. That’s down from more than 40 a year ago — a steal considering Target’s strength through tough times — and potential growth ahead.
4. Home Depot
As people spent more time at home over the past few years, they increasingly focused on home improvement. And Home Depot (HD -0.49%), the world’s biggest home improvement retailer, benefited. The company increased sales by $47.2 billion from 2019 through 2022. That represents a compound annual growth rate of more than 12%.
The company has noted a softening in demand in recent times. And this year probably won’t be a huge year of growth. A slowdown in consumer spending may weigh on sales.
But this is a temporary situation — and allows us the opportunity to pick up a strong long-term winner for a good price. Home Depot shares are trading for 18 times forward earnings estimates right now.
Meanwhile, Home Depot has invested in recent years in areas that should boost growth down the road, such as improving its digital platform. Home Depot also has focused on making the entire shopping experience easier for its professional customers. This is key because these customers represent a $450 billion market. So, potential market share gains here for Home Depot should translate into growth.
Like other e-commerce companies and retailers, Etsy (ETSY 0.12%) is facing today’s headwinds of higher inflation. But as I mentioned, today’s economic woes won’t last forever, so it’s important to take a long-term view. And from this angle, there’s reason to be optimistic about Etsy.
The e-commerce company was already growing prior to the pandemic. Shoppers liked going to Etsy for handmade goods — and sellers were happy to set up shop on this platform.
But lockdowns earlier in the crisis gave people a fresh opportunity to discover this dynamic player. And Etsy’s earnings soared. Importantly, Etsy’s kept a lot of those gains.
The company, from a revenue perspective, is almost three times bigger than it was back in 2019. Etsy also has about twice as many active buyers as it did back then. And Etsy has broadened its reach. For example, customers who identify as men have soared 124% since 2019 to a record high.
And, in spite of today’s difficult environment, Etsy’s consolidated gross merchandise sales only fell 0.7% on a currency-neutral basis in the most recent quarter.
Etsy trades at 25 times forward earnings estimates, down from 40 a year ago. When the general market takes off, Etsy has what it takes to follow. And that means the valuation we’re seeing today represents a great buying opportunity.
This content was originally published here.