Our Experts Reveal Their ‘Pullback Wish List’ (Part 2)
When a pullback happens, you need to be prepared.
That statement might ring hollow considering the fact that the market is bumping up against all-time highs, but I can assure you, it could happen quicker than you think. When it does, you’ll want to have enough cash on hand to pick up some bargains.
You’ll also want to have your own “pullback wish list.”
To assist in that pursuit, I asked StreetAuthority’s top stock market strategists to name the first one of their portfolio holdings they would buy more of if prices suddenly “corrected” by 10%. (In part 1 of this series, we featured Amy Calistri, the brains behind our Stock of the Month newsletter. Stay tuned for more from our experts after reading this article.)
Here’s what they had to say…
I’ll be watching two indicators closely over the next few months: U.S. private non-farm payrolls and the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) Manufacturing Index. A weak March payrolls number and a weak reading on manufacturing suggest that the U.S. economy is losing momentum into the second quarter. A sharper slowdown in the data could catalyze a short-term correction for stocks.
I’m also watching economic data out of Japan carefully. The nation’s new prime minister and the new governor of the Bank of Japan, Haruhiko Kuroda, have announced a number of major reforms aimed at revitalizing the Japanese economy and ending a crippling cycle of deflation that’s gripped that market for 17 years. I see the potential for a major rally in Japanese stocks this year.
One stock I’d look to buy on a pullback is Automatic Data Processing (Nasdaq: ADP), my latest recommendation in Top 10 Stocks. A high level of customer retention is a hallmark of a top-performing stock. For my most recent issue I created a 10-company “StreetAuthority Customer Retention Index” (which trounced the S&P 500 by a more than 3-to-1 margin over the past decade), and ADP is one of the most consistent performers in my index.
This firm processes payroll for 1 in 10 employees in the United States, making it the market leader by a significant margin.
ADP operates in three business lines: Employer Services (69% of 2012 revenues), Professional Employer Organization (16% of revenues) and Dealer Services (15%).
The Employer Services division is ADP’s crown jewel, serving nearly 600,000 customers. The company handles basic mission-critical business tasks such as managing human resources data, processing paychecks and payroll, handling tax withholding, and managing employee benefits such as health care insurance and retirement plans. The firm processes payroll for 1 in 10 employees in the United States, making it the market leader by a significant margin.
The company has little real exposure to U.S. employment growth in the near term because most of the company’s customers are locked in under long-term contracts that guarantee ADP repeatable revenues. But, the stock does tend to get hit when U.S. employment payrolls data weaken, which is something I’m looking for over the next few months. This would provide a solid buying opportunity for the stock.
The market’s rise to new highs does not change how I look at stocks in the slightest. I see stocks for exactly what they are: fractional ownership interests in businesses. I evaluate those businesses in the same way whether the Dow is at 2,000 or 20,000. The market hits new highs. That’s price. What I look for is value. Investors, in my view, have a much better shot at making money by buying exceptional companies on the cusp of the Next Big Thing than in worrying about the overall market’s fundamentals.
Economic indicators do have their place: They are a great reason to trade. But they are a poor reason to invest. So my take on economic indicators is not to outsmart yourself. After all, excellent companies have excellent management; let them sweat out the minutiae in the next GDP report.
A recent recommendation of mine is Nuance Communications (Nasdaq: NUAN). It is the technology behind iPhone’s Siri and a lot of other voice-recognition whizbangery. Shares took a hit in February after an insignificant earnings outlook revision, and popped a little after news earlier this month that famed investor Carl Icahn bought a $600 million stake (which brought his total ownership to 9.3% of shares outstanding).
The keyboard’s days are numbered. The new interface will be voice, and Nuance is the hands-down leader in that space. If Nuance were to fall 10% from its current level, you’d need a Sherman tank to keep me away from buying more.
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