July 14, 2024

Founded in 1993 by brothers Tom and David Gardner, The Motley Fool helps millions of people attain financial freedom through our website, podcasts, books, newspaper column, radio show, and premium investing services.
Founded in 1993 by brothers Tom and David Gardner, The Motley Fool helps millions of people attain financial freedom through our website, podcasts, books, newspaper column, radio show, and premium investing services.
Motley Fool Issues Rare “All In” Buy Alert
You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More
As of this writing, the four worst performers in the S&P 500 year to date are Netflix (NFLX 1.43%), Align Technology (ALGN 1.67%), Match Group (MTCH 4.31%), and Stanley Black & Decker (SWK 1.64%). And I think two out of these four could be good opportunities to beat the market from here.
That’s not to say these stocks aren’t down for good reason — they are. All four companies have challenges to overcome. But I believe a couple of these are better positioned than others to rise above and deliver for shareholders.
Netflix is the largest paid video-streaming service in the world. But it’s not as big as it once was, and that’s why the stock is down. The company peaked in the fourth quarter of 2021 with almost 222 million subscribers. However, in the past two quarters, its subscriber count has dropped by a little more than 1 million in total, and the market has consequently hammered the stock.
Things aren’t all bad for Netflix. Even though it has shed some subscribers, revenue has continued to grow due to an increase in its subscription prices, with 8.6% year-over-year revenue growth in the most recent quarter. And management expects its subscriber total to resume growing in the coming quarter.
Netflix is also tweaking its monetization model, going from exclusively paid subscriptions to launching an ad-supported subscription tier. This could reduce friction for gaining new members and allow the company to better monetize its content library when it launches next year
However, Netflix isn’t a stock I’d buy today, and its content is a primary reason why. Ever since the company started developing original content, it has needed to spend to create and grow its library — billions of dollars per quarter. Unfortunately, this isn’t an expense that goes away. Moreover, the payoff isn’t linear. Spending more on content doesn’t ensure increased membership, engagement, or revenue.
With more than 220 million subscribers already, I don’t think Netflix will be a growth story like it was in the past. And I’m not certain that it can evolve into a compelling capital-return company, since money will keep being poured into content creation.
In short, Netflix will likely remain a top streaming platform. But I think there are better options for market-beating stock returns — like this next stock.
Align Technology offers its clear Invisalign teeth-straightening treatment and technology to assist orthodontists. The stock is down for a variety of reasons. The pandemic continues, softening consumer demand. Inflation is up, hurting profitability. And the U.S. dollar is strong, affecting the numbers when converting financial results from foreign operations.
With these headwinds, you might think Align’s business was going down the tubes. But you’d be wrong. Through the first half of 2022, the company has generated net revenue of over $1.9 billion, up about 2% from the comparable period of 2021. And it generated record annual revenue of $4 billion in 2021.
The headwinds already outlined are temporary. And people will always need teeth straightening, so Align’s long-term opportunity isn’t going away. In my opinion, it’s a matter of when, not if, the business gets back on track.
One final reason Align Technology stock is down is its valuation. Early in 2021, it traded at an all-time-high price-to-sales (P/S) valuation of nearly 20, compared to a long-term P/S valuation typically below 10. It now trades below a P/S of 5, which is far below its 10-year average, as the chart below shows.
ALGN PS Ratio Chart
ALGN PS ratio. Data by YCharts.
Management isn’t letting a cheap stock go to waste. It’s repurchasing shares at an accelerated rate to boost shareholder value — it has spent $275 million so far in 2022 and still has $450 million more in buyback authorization at its disposal. 
Unlike Netflix, I believe Align Technology stock could be a good buy right now because of everything we’ve looked at here. But it isn’t the only buy on this list.
Match Group owns dozens of platforms around the world for finding romance online. But it’s a company in transition. On May 3, Bernard Kim was named its new CEO. And Kim’s tallest job right now is fixing Match Group’s most important platform: Tinder. 
From Kim’s perspective, the Tinder team needs to do a better job at monetizing its platform and it needs to speed up the rate at which it rolls out improvements to attract new users. This is why he has overhauled Tinder’s leadership.
It’s an exciting time to bring in Kim’s outsider perspective. Historically, Match Group’s platforms have operated independently. But Kim wants to increase collaboration among teams to boost results for the overall company. Therefore, expect Tinder to take all the best lessons the other platforms provide while it’s being improved.
That said, it’s not like Tinder is utterly failing. Revenue attributable to the platform in the second quarter of 2022 was up 13% year over year. But if management believes it can do better, then it’s in the company’s best interests to pursue that.
Revenue guidance from management implies a small potential decline for the overall business in the back half of the year. But it also expects a 32% operating margin in the coming quarter. In other words, it’s still a highly profitable business during what could be a temporary pause in its growth. And these ongoing profits give it a lot of options such as paying down debt, acquiring even more platforms to add to its portfolio, or repurchasing shares.
All of these actions could boost shareholder value, and it’s why I believe Match Group could be another opportunistic buy right now.
Lastly, we come to Stanley Black & Decker, a tool company that’s paid a dividend for 146 consecutive years. That’s right: The company has been returning value to shareholders since Ulysses S. Grant was president.
Speaking of the dividend, Stanley Black & Decker is still paying it even though its stock is way down. In July, management raised the dividend for the 55th consecutive year, to $0.80 per share, keeping it in the exceptionally rare company of Dividend Kings. And with this increase, the stock currently has a forward dividend yield of about 3.7%. This is the highest the yield has been since the Great Recession over a decade ago.
SWK Dividend Yield Chart
SWK dividend yield. Data by YCharts.
If you’re trying to beat the market by picking stocks, Stanley Black & Decker might not be the best opportunity right now. Consumer demand for its products is falling, leading to higher inventory. And inflation is hurting profit margins and has management expecting just $0.80 to $2.05 in earnings per share (EPS) in 2022, a huge drop from the $10.16 per share it earned in 2021.
Stanley has divested some parts of the business. So take some of the EPS drop with a grain of salt. But stocks with declining EPS often lose to the market.
That said, circling back to President Grant, Stanley Black & Decker has incredible longevity and will likely remain strong for years to come, albeit with modest growth prospects. For this reason, in my opinion, it could be a good idea for income investors — people who want a safer stock with growing dividend payouts. 
As we’ve seen, you shouldn’t buy a stock just because it’s down. Each company needs to be taken on a case-by-case basis to see if it has what you’re looking for. But sometimes a market sell-off does provide good options for opportunistic investors. There’s certainly more we could explore with all four of these companies. And I could be wrong in my conclusions. But I believe Align Technology and Match Group could be two such buying opportunities today.

Jon Quast has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Align Technology, Match Group, and Netflix. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.
Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.
Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 09/09/2022.
Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.
Calculated by Time-Weighted Return since 2002. Volatility profiles based on trailing-three-year calculations of the standard deviation of service investment returns.

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool’s premium services.
Making the world smarter, happier, and richer.

Market data powered by Xignite.


About Author