2 Stocks Down 74% and 57.5% to Buy Right Now

Taking a buy-and-hold approach with these beaten-down stocks could reward investors with market-crushing returns.

In the stock market, it’s often true that winners tend to keep winning. Powerful sales and earnings momentum typically translates into strong returns for shareholders.

On the other hand, it’s also possible to score big wins by backing high-quality businesses that are being underestimated due to near-term headwinds that can be overcome with time.

With that in mind, read on to see why two Motley Fool contributors think that investing in these two industry-leading companies would be a smart move while they still trade at massive discounts.

A true bargain for risk-tolerant investors

Jennifer Saibil: The stock of Carnival (CCL -0.85%) doubled last year and is on the rise this year, but believe it or not, it’s still 74% below its previous high.That might be surprising because its business has rebounded and is surpassing pre-pandemic levels. Carnival is reporting record revenue, high demand, and improving profitability.

In the 2024 fiscal second quarter (ended May 31), revenue was a record $5.8 billion. Operating income was $560 million, up almost 400% from last year, and it posted a net profit of $92 million, or $0.07 per share.

Demand continues to be elevated, and there were record customer deposits and booking levels again. Trends of a longer booked-out curve at higher pricing continued, and the total booked position for the rest of 2024 is its best ever, while there are record bookings for 2025.

So what’s the catch? There are still quite a few metrics falling short of pre-pandemic performance, and that’s putting off investors.

Net income was positive in the quarter, but that’s still inconsistent. More pressing, though, is the debt. Carnival is paying off the massive debt it took on to stay running when it had no revenue, but it’s still at $29 billion.

It has $5.7 billion of maturities over the next three years, and it needs to bring in enough cash to pay those off. It had $2 billion in cash from operations in the second quarter and $1.3 billion in free cash flow, and if it can keep up those kinds of numbers, it should be OK.

But it has to keep it up for a long time to be able to pay off the total extra debt and still have enough cash to run its business. That comes with a good dose of risk for shareholders right now.

That’s why the market is still pricing it at a low valuation of just 1 time trailing 12-month sales. At this price, and with its excellent performance and potential, it looks like a real bargain for risk-tolerant investors.

Buy Nike stock on its recent pullback

Keith Noonan: Even before the publication of Nike‘s (NKE -1.03%) most recent earnings report, the footwear and apparel leader’s stock had started 2024 on the wrong foot.

Inflation and other economic factors have made shoppers more price sensitive, and softer demand in key international markets was also weighing on the stock. Signs that the business could take longer than previously expected to return to delivering solid growth have only strengthened bearish sentiment.

Nike stock plummeted roughly 20% in the day of trading after the release of its earnings report for the fourth quarter of its last fiscal year, which ended May 31. The business actually posted a significant earnings beat in the quarter, with adjusted per-share earnings of $1.01 coming in far better than the average analyst estimate’s call for a per-share profit of $0.84 in the quarter.

On the other hand, revenue of $12.61 billion came up roughly $250 million short of the average target on Wall Street.

Revenue fell 2% year over year on a currency adjusted basis in the period. Adding to bearish pressures for the stock, management’s guidance for a roughly 10% sales decline in the first quarter came in significantly worse than Wall Street’s forecast. Expectations that the business will continue to face macroeconomic pressures in the U.S. and relatively soft demand in China point to an uninspiring outlook for the remainder of the year.

Shares are now down roughly 31% year to date and 57.5% from their lifetime high. While it’s clear that the business is facing some headwinds, the recent pullback likely presents a worthwhile buying opportunity.

Over the last five years, Nike’s share price has been below its current level only briefly in 2020, a period marked by a massive marketwide sell-off due to the pandemic. With the stock valued at roughly 20 times trailing-12-month profits, Nike hasn’t traded at a lower trailing earnings multiple at any point in the last half-decade.

The dramatic sell-off has also pushed the company’s dividend yield up to 1.9%, its highest ever. The weaker outlook suggests that dividend growth could proceed at a slower pace in the near term, but Nike has still raised its dividend roughly 68% over the last five years and 208% over the last decade.

Nike is in turnaround mode and will likely face sales pressures this year, but the company still has powerful infrastructure and distribution advantages and one of the strongest brands in the world. For investors seeking dividend-growth stocks and attractively valued comeback plays, shares look like a smart buy right now.

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