While investors might be tempted to ride the biggest winners of last year, shifting sands may provide a superior outlook for comeback stocks. Just what am I talking about? These are securities that are currently trading no higher than 10% of their 52-week lows. At the same time, they (at time of writing) feature a consensus view of at least moderate buy.
Put another way, we’re not talking about garbage ideas that will likely fall lower still. Rather, Wall Street experts have tagged these enterprises as featuring stocks with comeback potential. Of course, you want to be careful. The suits – as smart and experienced as they may be – offer recommendations or endorsements, not guarantees. You’re going to still have to conduct your due diligence.
Nevertheless, I don’t know about you but if I’m going to dig in the dumpster, I’d rather do it in a rich neighborhood than an impoverished one. Do you get my drift? You can reach out to me on X if you don’t. For those who get me, below are the comeback stocks to consider.
Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY)
Let’s get the core statistics out of the way first. In 2023, shares of multinational pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY) dropped 29%. It’s only modestly higher from its 52-week low of $48.25. However, analysts anticipate that BMY ranks among the comeback stocks, pegging it a moderate buy. Also, the average price target lands at $60.67.
In part, competitive pressures stymied BMY throughout much of last year. For instance, Cytokinetics (NASDAQ:CYTK) delivered positive late-stage clinical trial data for its heart failure drug. As it turns out, the underlying therapeutic competes with Bristol-Myers’ variant, pressuring the larger pharmaceutical firm.
Still, it’s important to remember that the broader global prescription drug market reached a valuation of $1.04 trillion in 2022. By 2030, the segment may command a total value of more than $1.89 trillion.
Plus, with the volatility that BMY incurred, it now trades at a discount. Specifically, the market prices shares at 6.88X forward earnings, below the sector median 14.6X. Thus, it’s one of the stocks with comeback potential.
A specialist in the field of workers’ comp, Amerisafe (NASDAQ:AMSF) might seem an odd idea for comeback stocks. Surely, that is what apparently most investors believe. Last year, AMSF gave up more than 10% of equity value. Shares presently trade near their 52-week low of $45.34. Still, covering analysts peg Amerisafe as a consensus moderate buy with an average price target of $57.50.
At first glance, Amerisafe seems too boring of an enterprise to be relevant. However, the needs of companies seeking workers comp solutions may rise. True, the sector tends to be much more stable than other insurance-related segments. Stated differently, fewer chances for catastrophic damages exist. However, industry experts have noted that the severity of claims have increased, possibly leaving underinsured businesses exposed.
Also, a possibly improved economic backdrop in 2024 could lead to a sustained rise in the labor market. If so, Amerisafe should rise in relevance. Therefore, I believe it’s one of the stocks with comeback potential.
Exxon Mobil (XOM)
A world-renowned oil and gas giant, Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) really needs no introduction. However, because of the political and ideological winds favoring clean-emission transportation, XOM appears to suffer from relevancy issues. Still, it’s arguably one of the comeback stocks to buy. Analysts anticipate a robust recovery in XOM, rating shares a consensus moderate buy. As evidence, their average price target stands at $129.
As stated above, the push for cleaner emissions – specifically the adoption of electric vehicles – pose a challenge to Exxon and its hydrocarbon peers. However, it’s not entirely clear how truly accelerative this trend may be. Recently, ABC News stated that EV sales have slowed. To be fair, industry insiders suggest there’s no need for panic. Still, that’s what you would expect to hear from those with a vested interest in the space.
Even discounting this new element, hydrocarbons command high energy density. In many cases, fossil fuels simply offer more conveniences. Thus, XOM ranks among the stocks with comeback potential.
Archer Daniels Midland (ADM)
A multinational food processing and commodities trading specialist, Archer Daniels Midland (NYSE:ADM) intuitively presents a solid case for comeback stocks, in my humble opinion. Mainly, people must eat and bad things happen when they don’t. Still, the Street didn’t see it that way, with ADM falling over 19% in 2023. Nevertheless, analysts peg ADM a moderate buy with an average price target of $93.44.
Aside from the critical need of the underlying sector, Archer Daniels should benefit from broader growth trends. Specifically, the global food processing market came in at $134.21 billion in 2021. By 2030, this segment could reach $400.43 billion. That would come out to a CAGR of 11.82% from 2022. And who knows? If population growth accelerates faster than expected, this demand profile may be conservative.
What investors should focus on is ADM’s forward earnings multiple of 10.76X. That’s lower than the sector median value of 15.21X. Further, because the market itself enjoys a double-digit CAGR, the discount is credible. It’s one of the comeback stocks to consider.
British American Tobacco (BTI)
A company that doesn’t require an extensive introduction due to its patently obvious business, British American Tobacco (NYSE:BTI) carries controversy. Still, politically or ideologically agnostic investors should give BTI a second look before dismissing it. Yes, it suffered a loss of almost 28% last year, which isn’t encouraging. However, it does enjoy a moderate buy rating with a $38 average price target, possibly making it one of the stocks with comeback potential.
Now, you’ve surely heard that global smoking statics have declined over the past several years, possibly making BTI less relevant. While it’s true that smoking has declined overall, the total number of tobacco users remains high due to population growth. Also, not all countries have witnessed a decline; some have actually seen growth in smoking prevalence.
Plus, the most important factor is vaping. That’s a wildly popular subsegment of the personal liberties space and it will likely only rise. Therefore, BTI easily ranks among the underappreciated comeback stocks to consider.
SSR Mining (SSRM)
Another enterprise that doesn’t require much guessing as to its main operations, SSR Mining (NASDAQ:SSRM) focuses on precious metals. In addition to gold and silver, SSR also produces copper, lead and zinc. However, the market doesn’t see much point in SSRM, which dropped almost 34% of equity value in 2023. Nevertheless, analysts are warm to it being one of the comeback stocks, pegging it a moderate buy. Also, the price target stands at $16.38.
To be completely upfront, SSRM obviously ranks among the speculative prospects for comeback stocks. Investors should be under no illusions here. That said, if the Federal Reserve reduces interest rates this year – an action that it hinted at recently – then SSRM could entice. After all, the international markets price gold and other commodities in dollars. If the greenback becomes devalued, commodities should rise.
To sweeten the pot, shares trade at 10.64X trailing-year earnings. In contrast, the sector median value comes in at a loftier 16.66X. If you’re looking for a speculative discount, SSRM could be one of the compelling comeback stocks.
ZTO Express (ZTO)
Based in China, ZTO Express (NYSE:ZTO) represents one of its home market’s leading express delivery companies. Unfortunately, due to pressures impacting the Chinese consumer, the market hasn’t been friendly to ZTO, sending it down nearly 23% last year. However, analysts expect shares to rank among the comeback stocks of 2024, rating ZTO a consensus strong buy. Moreover, the average price target clocks in at $58.98.
As with SSR Mining, ZTO Express represents a speculative idea among stocks with comeback potential. Here, the risks center on the viability of the Chinese economy. As an export-driven economy, if the greenback drops in value, that could add pressure to China. At the same time, a stabilized outlook in the U.S. should also be a net positive for the Asian juggernaut.
Admittedly, it’s not an easy idea to propose. That said, ZTO trades at a forward rate of return of 16.7%, ranked better than 60.89% of its peers. It’s an attribute to consider if you’re seeking stocks with comeback potential.
On the date of publication, Josh Enomoto did not have (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.