- Bristol Myers Squibb and ViacomCBS are trading at low earnings multiples compared to their peers.
- Plus, both stocks pay above-average dividend yields.
- While both have trailed the S&P 500 this year, that could reverse as they build on recent results.
Growth stocks can sometimes trade at inflated valuations because of their attractive long-term potential. So if you get the opportunity to invest in a growth stock that isn’t trading at a premium but rather at a discount, you should definitely consider adding it to your portfolio.
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1. Bristol Myers Squibb
Healthcare giant Bristol Myers Squibb is a stock that investors could easily be overlooking right now. From afar, its financials look horrible. For the trailing 12 months, the company incurred a net loss of $5 billion. So investors relying on stock screeners to try and find good buys could easily overlook Bristol Myers — and they have. Year to date, shares of the healthcare stock are down about 2% while the S&P 500 has soared 16%.
But investors who dig a little deeper will find a slightly different story. The huge loss is in fact due to a massive research and development charge of more than $11 billion that the company incurred for its acquisition of MyoKardia, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company that develops cardiovascular medicine. That negatively impacted the fourth quarter of last year and is still impacting the trailing 12-month numbers.
In the past two quarters, however, the company has been firmly in the black. Through the first six months of 2021, Bristol Myers’ revenue of $22.8 billion has risen 9% year over year, and its net earnings have flipped from a $846 million loss in 2020 to a $3.1 billion profit.
Meanwhile, with free cash flow of $11.7 billion over the past four quarters, its dividend also looks rock-solid. The company has paid out $4.2 billion during that time while also making stock repurchases of $4.5 billion. This serves as further proof that accounting income alone can’t be relied on to assess the health of a company’s operations. Cash flow is arguably a much more important indicator than net income — and by that metric, Bristol Myers is doing just fine.
So a closer look at Bristol Myers suggests the company is a much safer buy than its numbers may appear at first glance. A forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio can be useful for companies when a bad quarter or two have weighed on their numbers. And by that measure, Bristol Myers only trades at a P/E of 8 — incredibly cheap compared to other healthcare stocks, such as Merck (NYSE:MRK) and Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN), which both trade at about 13 times their future profits.
Finally, there’s the 3.3% dividend yield, which is more than twice as much as the S&P 500’s 1.3%. Whether you’re a growth investor or love a good dividend, this is an underrated healthcare stock that should be on your radar.
Another stock that’s trading at a low valuation is ViacomCBS. At a forward P/E multiple of just 10, it’s nowhere near the premium that investors are paying for other companies in the entertainment and streaming business, such as Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) and Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) — trading at 56 and 70 times their forward profits, respectively.
Admittedly, ViacomCBS’ Paramount+ streaming service isn’t as popular, and that could be a reason investors aren’t giving the stock as much of a chance. Overall, the company has a total of 42 million global streaming subscribers (including Paramount+ and other smaller services such as Pluto TV). By comparison, Netflix has more than 200 million subscribers while Disney+ now has 116 million.
But Paramount+ doesn’t have to be the top streaming service for ViacomCBS to be an attractive buy. In its latest quarter ended June 30, the company reported that streaming revenue grew 92% to $983 million from the year-ago period and advertising revenue rose 24% to $2.1 billion.
The lone blemish for the company was its “licensing and other” segment, which fell 36% to $1.2 billion — hurt by the absence of theatrical releases during the pandemic. That kept the company’s sales growth relatively modest last quarter, rising 8% to $6.6 billion. However, as the economy continues to recover from the pandemic, those numbers should get stronger.
Meanwhile, ViacomCBS also offers investors an above-average dividend yield of 2.4%. And with free cash of $2.6 billion over the past 12 months, it is generating more than enough to cover the $601 million in dividends it paid out during that time.
So, while Paramount+ may be an afterthought for some investors looking to go into top streaming stocks, that in fact could be an opportunity. ViacomCBS shares still fly under the radar — up just 8% this year. As subscribers continue to increase and revenues improve, it may just be a matter of time before the stock takes off.
This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.
David Jagielski owns shares of ViacomCBS Inc. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Bristol Myers Squibb, Netflix, and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool recommends Amgen. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.