Some of the best businesses on the market are trading at substantial discounts in the COVID-19 era. The health crisis is a challenge for every company on the planet right now, and market makers were quick to cut down share prices all over the place. Wall Street has made a bit of a comeback in recent weeks as the virus outbreak started showing signs of slowing down, but it’s still easy to find great stocks at affordable prices.
You should be downright excited to pick up shares of soft drink giant Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO), media powerhouse Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS), and semiconductor veteran Texas Instruments (NASDAQ:TXN) at massive discounts today. These proven blue-chip stocks are primed for impressive rebounds when the coronavirus crisis fades in our collective rearview mirror. Here’s why you should consider buying a few shares today.
The House of Mouse is sailing in uncharted waters right now. Its theme parks are closed down, cruise ships are firmly anchored and empty, movie theaters are locked, and sports channel ESPN is showing esports and reruns of recent cornhole cups. The only thing that is going right for Disney in the coronavirus era is the recently launched Disney+ video-streaming service. The company is losing approximately $30 million per day as frozen revenue streams meet substantial fixed costs.
Disney shares are cheap for good reason, then. The stock is trading 32% below its 52-week highs, even after bouncing back 33% from the mid-March trough. The next several quarters will be incredibly rocky amid plunging revenues, unpredictable earnings, and a metric ton of uncertainty.
However, Disney will survive these troubled times. The company took on nearly $7 billion of senior debt, including approximately $1 billion in Canadian dollars, to smooth over the daily cash flow damages. Credit ratings firm Moody’s graded both the American and Canadian debt papers A2, an investment-grade rating in line with Disney’s corporate rating. Moody’s noted that Disney also has more than $12 billion of unused revolving credit available, just in case the virus crisis drags on. Running through all of these backup cash sources would take nearly two full years, and we haven’t even talked about Disney’s $6.8 billion in plain old cash equivalents yet.
So Disney is in no danger of financial ruin here, and we’re looking at a highly efficient cash machine once the world gets back to movie theater outings, theme park vacations, and watching live sports on TV. The company’s unmatched portfolio of eyeball-grabbing content is paired with a world-class brand name. Disney should be able to hit the ground running as soon as it’s allowed to lace up those running shoes again.
Now, the stock may fall further before that happens. Keep some of your investable cash on the sidelines in search of even lower buy-in price points. But Disney will reward you for taking some action today. You don’t see a 30% discount on this top-shelf stock very often.
Like Disney, Coca-Cola added some debt-backed cash to its balance sheet last month. Also like Disney, Coke isn’t likely to actually need that $5 billion cash reserve anytime soon. And like Disney, Coca-Cola is sure to land on its feet when the coronavirus crisis has passed.
Un like the House of Mouse, Coca-Cola continues to generate substantial revenues even in this deep, dark downturn. The company makes lots of consumable staples that people want to have close at hand during their weeks or possibly months of quarantine. Sure, you can survive with no Diet Coke and Dasani in the fridge, but is that really living? These little treats help us get by when times are hard.
Coke also stands apart from Disney in its unwavering commitment to strong dividend payments. The company has boosted its annual payouts without fail in each of the last 57 years, through all sorts of market crashes, recessions, and political crises along the way. If worse comes to worst, Coke’s board of directors could free up another $6.9 billion of annual cash flows by pumping the brakes on the dividend policy. That’s highly unlikely to happen, and you should lock in Coke’s 3.4% effective dividend yield by picking up some shares at a 20% discount to February’s all-time highs.
TI also tapped into the debt market in March, raising $750 million in a single offering of senior notes. This wasn’t a coronavirus reaction, though. At the time of this financing move, management saw the COVID-19 disease as a uniquely Chinese issue that might never affect the company’s operations. TI just wanted to refinance an existing batch of notes that are due for repayment in May, taking advantage of historically low interest rates in the process. The expiring debt papers added up to $500 million, leaving the company with an additional $250 million to spend for “general corporate purposes.”
We’ll know more about management’s plans on Tuesday, when TI reports its first-quarter results. The coronavirus crisis knocked this company for a loop just as the Chinese-American trade wars lightened up and opened the door for explosive growth in TI’s most important markets. Car sales have ground to a halt, pausing the demand for automotive computing products. Industrial chips are also in low demand while factories around the world are left running under skeleton crews, often barely enough to maintain the existing equipment.
Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Texas Instruments is trading 16% below the stock’s all-time highs from January. The company converted 40% of last year’s revenues into free cash flows and held cash reserves of $5.4 billion at the end of 2019. This is another financial juggernaut that will get right back to business when the virus concerns have faded. In the meantime, you can lock in a 2.9% dividend yield thanks to the health crisis discount.