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2 Highly-Ranked Stocks to Buy and Hold Despite All the Market Noise

Published 10/07/2020, 07:18 AM
Updated 07/09/2023, 06:31 AM

Things can change rapidly in Washington, as we have seen in the last 24 hours. Tuesday afternoon’s selloff followed President Trump’s tweet that said he told representatives to stop negotiations on the new stimulus bill until after the election. Stocks then surged back Wednesday after Trump tweeted “If I am sent a Stand Alone Bill for Stimulus Checks ($1,200), they will go out to our great people IMMEDIATELY.”

Wall Street has been clamoring for a second stimulus bill for months. And clearly, transportation, hospitality, and other areas of the economy that continue to be thrashed by coronavirus-based social distancing might need more support, while millions of people in those industries remain out of work through no fault of their own.

That said, signs of an economic recovery continue to roll in. The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 7.9% last month, with 11.4 million jobs added since the major layoffs in March and April. And the larger S&P 500 earnings outlook supports these positive trends.

On top of that, the Wall Street Journal recently reported that “companies in the U.S. and Europe are buying back bonds to reduce the cash piles they built up earlier this year, signaling expectations for more stable economic times ahead.” This includes everyone from AT&T (NYSE:T) T to BP (NYSE:BP) BP.

Meanwhile, investors might be somewhat happily surprised by the outlook for some hotel and airlines, as they are trending in the right direction—even though they are likely years away from reaching their pre-coronavirus levels.

Luckily, expectations evolve based on circumstances and Wall Street is always forward looking, which is why the market is coming off its best two-quarter stretch since 2009. And the S&P 500 has moved practically sideways over the last month, after its early September drop. The proxy index for the broader market is trading above its 50-day moving average again and it’s well on top of the 200-day that some technical traders feared it could fall to only a few weeks ago.

Nonetheless, volatility is likely to remain in the near-term as the election and the coronavirus present major unknowns. Traders can benefit from the big swings up and down, while investors who track the market daily might get nervous.

But if you have a longer-term horizon there is less need to worry, and blocking out the noise becomes a must. The reasoning is pretty simple: the stock market has proven its ability to climb over the long-haul no matter the circumstances or what party is in power.

For instance, there have been 24 market corrections since November 1974. And only five of them turned into bear markets, including the violent tumble the market experienced in February and March. And timing the market is extremely difficult, and can cause investors to miss out on big gains, or buy high and sell low. Just think of all the people that sold stocks in early March, only to miss the quick return to new highs.

Let’s also remember that the Fed has decided to keep its interest rate pinned near zero through at least 2023. This likely creates a prolonged TINA effect—there is no alternative—as Wall Street hunts for returns in a yield-starved market.

With this in mind, it’s time to explore two Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) stocks that appear to be solid buy and hold candidates…


Fashion is fickle and cyclical but there are still close to surefire bets within the broader apparel industry. Nike has been at the forefront of athletic wear for decades and its cultural influence has never been bigger on and off the field and court, despite the rise of Lululemon LULU and the resurgence of Adidas (OTC:ADDYY) ADDYY in North America.

NKE has for years been transitioning to a higher-margin direct-to-consumer model, which includes various dedicated shopping apps and a massive reach across Instagram FB where people can now shop directly.

Nike has also digitalized its supply chain and it’s investing in its own stores in high-value cities. And the company hasn’t forsaken wholesale, instead it has beefed up strategic partnerships with the likes of Foot Locker (NYSE:FL) FL and key players in the booming online sneaker market.

Nike is coming off two quarters that highlight its e-commerce strength, with digital sales up 75% in Q4 FY20 and 82% in Q1 (reported on Sept. 22). The firm is projected to return to top-line growth this quarter, with bigger gains expected in Q3.

Overall, its adjusted FY21 earnings are projected to soar 74% on 12% stronger revenue, with its FY22 earnings expected to come in another 30% higher on 12% better sales. This would mark a strong return to growth after FY19’s sales dipped 4.4%. In fact, both revenue estimates would represent Nike’s best top-line growth since fiscal 2012.

Nike’s earnings revisions surged higher following its September release to help it land a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) at the moment. NKE is also part of an industry that rests in the top 12% of our over 250 Zacks industries, and 19 of the 25 brokerage recommendations Zacks has for Nike come in at a “Strong Buy.”

NKE is up nearly 30% in 2020 to triple its industry’s climb and 15% in the last month to rest at new highs at around $130 per share. Nike has climbed over 150% in the past three years and its 0.75% dividend yield matches the 10-year U.S. Treasury. And Nike is one of the world’s most valuable brands, alongside Apple AAPL and other companies that look poised to grow for years to come.

Salesforce (NYSE:CRM) CRM

Salesforce’s cloud-based customer relationship management services offer clients a range of tools and applications to help run everything from sales and e-commerce to marketing and analytics. CRM’s subscription-based cloud software offerings were already becoming widely popular with businesses of all shapes and sizes over the last decade-plus. And the pandemic-forced work-remote world highlighted the strength and importance of its business model.

Salesforce is one of the newest Dow members, and the cloud software powerhouse saw its stock price soar after it blew away estimates in late August. CRM’s Q2 revenue climbed 29%, while its adjusted earnings soared 120%. Peeking ahead, Zacks estimates call for Salesforce’s FY21 revenue to climb 21.5% to $20.77 billion, with FY22 projected to come in another 17.4% or $3.6 billion higher.

CRM’s adjusted FY21 earnings are expected to jump 25%, and its earnings revisions have climbed since its report to help it land a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). The stock is up 60% in 2020 to more than double its industry’s average. This trend continued over the last five years, with Salesforce shares up 250% vs. the Software-Services Market’s 116%.

CRM still rests roughly 8% off its early September highs, including Wednesday’s nice 4% gain during regular trading. Salesforce also currently trades at a slight discount against Microsoft MSFT in terms of forward sales, as it has for much of the last two years.

Salesforce helped invent the Software-as-a-Service market that is set to grow for years, if not decades to come because companies big and small now count on them to help run their operations. Therefore, investors might want to consider adding one of the biggest cloud software firms in the world that’s part of a select few tech companies in the 30-stock index.

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ATT Inc. (T): Free Stock Analysis Report

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT): Free Stock Analysis Report

NIKE, Inc. (NKE): Free Stock Analysis Report

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL): Free Stock Analysis Report

Foot Locker, Inc. (FL): Free Stock Analysis Report

lululemon athletica inc. (LULU): Free Stock Analysis Report

BP p.l.c. (BP): Free Stock Analysis Report, inc. (CRM): Free Stock Analysis Report

Adidas AG (DE:ADSGN) (ADDYY): Free Stock Analysis Report

Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ:FB): Free Stock Analysis Report

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