3 Must-Buy Valuable Blue-Chip Stocks for 2024

Stocks to buy

After an impressive 2023, the market could throw investors some curve balls in 2024. While it’s calm now, several 2024 risks could increase volatility and pressure stocks. Thus, mitigating risk by owning the best blue-chip stocks is prudent at these levels.

As the S&P 500 approaches highs, investors must be cognizant of the risks. First, although the Federal Reserve has indicated a policy pivot, the market is discounting too many rate cuts. Currently, the market is forecasting six quarter-point cuts, while the Fed expects three. That’s setting the market for disappointment and a potential selloff in frothy growth stocks.

Besides the Fed risk, geopolitical events are also very shaky. The Russia-Ukraine war is still in the headlines and a spillover of the Israeli-Hamas war is not out of the question. Already, Houthi attacks in the Red Sea are impacting global trade. These issues, plus 2024 having several major elections, including in the United States, pose a lot of uncertainty.

Given the geopolitical and macro backdrop, positioning defensively will minimize your downside. According to this Finviz screen, these S&P 500 blue-chip stocks for 2024 have a “Strong Buy” rating and expect more than 10% EPS growth over the next five years. Furthermore, they trade at a forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio below 20, providing a valuation floor.

Constellation Brands (STZ)

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The beer market in the U.S. saw a major upheaval after the Bud Light marketing backlash. Amid the controversy, Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ) grabbed market share from Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV (NYSE:BUD). As a result, Bud Light lost its number-one spot to Constellation’s Modelo Especial in June.

Besides the market share wins in the beer market, there are other catalysts for one of the top blue-chip stocks for 2024. First, the firm entered into a cooperation agreement with activist Elliot Management in July. Morgan Stanley’s analyst Dara Mohsenian sees the move as a positive for corporate governance. Moreover, he expects the deal will curb STZ’s poor capital allocation decisions.

Secondly, based on guidance at the November investor day, Constellation’s beer business, which accounts for about 85% of revenues, is rebounding. Management expects that segment will grow 7-9% annually from fiscal year 2025 to 2028. This will lead to net sales growth of 6-8% through the period.

Parallel to the strong revenue growth, Constellation hopes to maintain robust operating margins between 33 -35%. These gains will be achieved as inflation pressures ease and through operational efficiencies. The growth plus margin improvement will drive low double-digit EPS growth over the medium term.

Finally, with the increased growth and profitability, management expects strong free cash flow generation. Management will use the cash flow to maintain an investment-grade balance sheet, dividend growth, share repurchases, organic investments and tuck-in acquisitions.

Over the next four years, Constellation will deliver strong revenue and EPS growth. At 18 times forward earnings, it’s a bargain and shareholder returns will improve. Indeed, the recent $2 billion buyback is just a start.

Meta Platforms (META)

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After a more than 150% rally year-to-date, one would be mistaken to believe that Meta Platforms (NASDAQ:META) is overvalued. However, the fundamentals tell a different story, as META stock has a forward P/E of 19. This speaks to the indiscriminate selling in 2022 and the impressive cost savings achieved through Mark Zuckerberg’s Year of Efficiency plan.

Looking at the fundamentals, Meta has shown material improvements year-to-date. It has overcome the $10 billion revenue headwind posed by Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) identifier for advertisers (IDFA) privacy push. After three quarters of declining revenues in 2022, the company has returned to growth. Notably, growth has accelerated this year, with Q2 and Q3 growth at 11% and 23%, respectively.

On the cost side, Zuckerberg has curbed the excessive spending. Instead, he has focused on the year of efficiency plan. This shift has led to three rounds of layoffs, resulting in over 20,000 job cuts. Ultimately, these layoffs and other cost savings have reduced costs.

At the start of 2023, management expected total costs of $94 billion to $100 billion. However, the latest guidance provided after third-quarter earnings projects total expenses of $87 to $89 billion. Ultimately, the social media giant has become a leaner and better technology company.

Meta is the global town square through Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. At the end of Q3, it had 3.14 billion daily active people on its platforms, a 7% year-over-year increase. Due to its massive reach, most businesses want to advertise on its platforms.

With the election cycle in 2024, political advertising will be a growth tailwind. And with over 30% EPS growth annually over the next five years, META stock is one of the best blue-chip stocks for 2024.

Schlumberger (SLB)

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Considering the ongoing demand for hydrocarbons and the undemanding valuations, energy is a top sector to consider. A pick and shovels play like Schlumberger (NYSE:SLB) is among the top blue-chip stocks for 2024. The company is one of the largest providers of oil and gas equipment and services.

Schlumberger services include formation evaluation, well cementing and stimulation, directional drilling, well completion and productivity. It is mainly exposed to longer-cycle megaprojects. Notably, it has a strong international market position reinforced by its unique offshore capabilities. It’s the largest offshore service provider with expertise in high-pressure, deepwater and high-temperature wells.

Due to growing oil and gas demand, Schlumberger is seeing robust growth. As long-cycle development and production expansion happens, demand for its upstream equipment and services is soaring. Management expects the International Core segment to grow at a high-teens rate this year hitting $23 billion in revenue.

What’s more, the company is leading the digitization of the energy sector. It’s the leading subsurface software provider with more than 1,500 customers, including 85% of the top 100 global producers. Management expects to double revenues from the digital segment to $3 billion by 2025.

Considering the momentum in the core offshore business and the new digital business, SLB stock is a buy. According to Goldman Sachs, it’s one of the top blue-chip stocks in the energy sector. Analysts view the stock as undervalued and have a $65 price target, presenting over 20% upside.

On the date of publication, Charles Munyi did not hold (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.

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