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Got $1,000? 3 Stocks to Buy Now While They're on Sale.

Motley Fool - Sat Apr 15, 2023

A thousand bucks may not be a life-changing amount of money. But if it's cash you know you won't be needing for a while, then it's enough to put to work for a while in the market. That's especially true if the stocks in question are currently on sale. Here's a closer look at three such stocks to consider adding to your portfolio now.

Dollar General

The past several months have been tough ones for discount retailer Dollar General(NYSE: DG). In addition to being fined a few million dollars by federal regulators for workplace safety missteps, the company's been dealing with bloated inventory levels.

Investor enthusiasm for its strategy of being a more localized alternative to Walmart has also fizzled. While the premise is clever, managing 19,000 relatively small stores is proving tricky to do well. These are all contributing reasons why Dollar General shares are still down 16% from last year's high despite the respectable rally off of last month's low.

The current rally, however, likely has legs for a couple of different reasons.

First, the retailer is (finally) addressing its challenges in earnest, starting with staffing. The company is committed to spending an additional $100 million this year on store operations, most of which will be invested in labor. These additional employees will not only help Dollar General sidestep future OSHA fines, but will help keep its store shelves kempt and well-stocked. This should spark fresh sales, paying for the initiative in and of itself.

The greater reason Dollar General stock offers more reward than risk at its current price is that its bigger-picture premise still works. Last year exposed the unique challenges of competing against Walmart with more, smaller stores largely located in rural settings. The company is now addressing these challenges with smarter merchandising and staffing.

In the meantime, the discounter continues to do more of what it knows will draw a bigger crowd, including the higher-income households that are increasingly shopping at Dollar Generals. More than 1,800 locales are expected to add fresh produce to their assortment this year, for instance, and the company is widening its in-store beauty selection in several hundred stores right now.

Archer-Daniels-Midland

Consumers might postpone the purchase of a new car when money gets tight, or decide to take a "staycation" rather than a vacation. One thing people are never going to stop doing, however, is eating.

Enter Archer-Daniels-Midland(NYSE: ADM), or ADM. It's one of the world's biggest food suppliers, selling on the order of $100 billion worth of bread, meat, beverages, sauces, candy, pet food, and more every year.

It's not a high-margin business. Indeed, like its food peers, ADM's operation is decidedly low-margin. Less than 5% of last year's revenue was turned into net income, and that was a better year than average. These paper-thin margins are a key reason the stock is still down 17% from its early 2022 high; even just the slightest of inflation has the potential to take an exaggerated toll on food companies' bottom lines.

As it turns out, though, last year's inflation surge may have been more beneficial to ADM than it was detrimental. Sales and earnings were both up for the year because its higher operating costs were effectively passed along to its retail partners. After all, people have to eat.

ADM will never be a high-octane growth company, so if that's what you're seeking, it's best to look elsewhere. But if you're OK with a slow mover capable of paying a reliable dividend, this stock's a bargain right now. The current dividend yield stands at 2.2%, and the stock trades for less than 12 times this year's expected per-share profits.

The kicker: Analysts certainly see the upside here even if the trading crowd doesn't. The consensus price target of $100 is 23% above the stock's present price. In fact, ADM shares are trading below even the lowest of any of Wall Street's price targets for the stock.

Pfizer

Finally, add drugmakerPfizer(NYSE: PFE) to your list of stocks to scoop up while they're on sale if you've got an idle $1,000 lying around. The shares are still down more than 30% from their late-2021 peak, translating into a forward-looking price-to-earnings ratio of only 12. Investors aren't likely to let this blue-chip name linger at that valuation for very long.

The reason for the stock's weakness isn't a mystery. Its COVID-19 vaccine developed with BioNTech was a boon, but only a temporary one. As the pandemic slowly fades away here and abroad, so does the need for the company's Comirnaty vaccine. Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla even conceded during the fourth quarter's earnings conference call that the total number of vaccine doses administered this year would fall by about one-fourth of last year's total.

The adverse impact on revenue will be even worse. Pfizer's revenue guidance for Comirnaty this year is only $13.5 billion, down 64% from 2022's total. Sales of its COVID-19 treatment, Paxlovid, are expected to tumble 58% year over year to only $8 billion.

The stock's sellers, however, overshot their target because they're ignoring a key detail. That is, Pfizer is using its windfall profits stemming from its COVID-19 vaccine and treatment business to beef up its research and development pipeline. The company is in the midst of 19 potential drug launches and label expansions over the next 18 months that at their peak could generate on the order of $20 billion in annual sales.

That's in addition to the $25 billion that the pharmaceutical giant expects to be generating by 2030 as result of new business deals. Meanwhile, its impending acquisition of Seagen and last year's purchase of Biohaven bring new oncology and migraine drugs to the parent company's portfolio.

The point is, while it might take some time, Pfizer will eventually be able to justify a higher stock price.

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James Brumley has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Pfizer, Seagen, and Walmart. The Motley Fool recommends BioNTech Se. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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