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Nasdaq Bear Market: These 3 Stocks Are Trading Below Their Book Values

By David Jagielski,

2023-03-14

The collapse of SVB Financial's Silicon Valley Bank last week likely threw a monkey wrench into the macroeconomic machinery that was working to end the current bear market. Investors should expect the market to remain volatile, at least in the near term, as it absorbs this latest news. But that doesn't mean you need to wait to find good deals, particularly among stocks trading on the Nasdaq Composite index, which is down about 12.6% over the past year.

Three Nasdaq stocks that look like potential bargains and that investors don't even have to pay book value for right now are Viatris (NASDAQ: VTRS) , Warner Bros. Discovery (NASDAQ: WBD) , and Kraft Heinz (NASDAQ: KHC) . Here's a look at why investors may be discounting these three stocks, and why they could make for great buys today.

1. Viatris

Generic and branded drugmaker Viatris has consistently been trading below its book value over the past year. And at a price-to-book (P/B) multiple of around 0.60, investors are significantly discounting the stock. One reason for that is Viatris has significant debt on its books, totaling $19.5 billion as of the end of last year, putting it at a debt-to-equity (D/E) ratio of 0.9.

To its credit, Viatris has been reducing its debt level, which a year ago totaled more than $23 billion. However, that may still appear to be too risky for a business that in 2022 reported net revenue of $16.2 billion and which declined 9% year over year. However, much of that drop was due to foreign exchange headwinds. Factoring out currency exchange, sales were down just 2%.

The healthcare company anticipates more softness this year, projecting revenue between $15.5 billion and $16 billion for 2023. But the positive is that it projects free cash flow of at least $2.3 billion, which can ensure that it has money to pay its dividend (the company spent $581.6 million on it last year) while still being able to reduce its debt.

There's some risk with Viatris but the company's operations are encouraging given the challenging macroeconomic conditions that exist today. Overall, this could make for a good stock to buy as it offers a yield of 4.7% and analysts see the stock rising by at least 30%, with Viatris' consensus stock price target set at $13.50.

2. Warner Bros. Discovery

It's been nearly a year since Discovery and WarnerMedia merged, with the latter spinning off from AT&T . Unfortunately, it hasn't been a smooth ride for the stock over that span and shares of Warner Bros. Discovery falling more than 40% in value. And at 0.72 times its book value, this is another discounted stock investors can buy today.

Warner Bros. Discovery, which owns HBO and has some excellent entertainment and media content in its portfolio, struggled of late. For the quarter ending Dec. 31, 2022, the company's revenue totaled just over $11 billion and was down 11% year over year. The drop improves to 9% when factoring out foreign exchange headwinds. It also incurred a sizable net loss of $2.1 billion, which included $1.2 billion in restructuring expenses.

Those underwhelming results and the company's high debt load are a couple of reasons investors may be wary of buying Warner Bros. Discovery stock right now. At $49 billion, the company has more debt than Viatris and its D/E ratio is just over 1.

Although there's risk with Warner Bros. Discovery stock, the discount it's trading at does appear to be significant, especially given the growth opportunities it has in the long run as it continues to market its top-quality content. A prime example of its strong content is the success of Hogwarts Legacy , which has become the best-selling Harry Potter video game ever despite only being released earlier this year, and it has the potential to be one of the hottest games of 2023.

With some strong brands and content in its portfolio, I'm optimistic that the company can generate some good growth in the future. And Wall Street analysts agree, seeing an upside of more than 55% for the stock over the next 12 to 18 months.

3. Kraft Heinz

Consumer goods company Kraft Heinz has a strong business with name brands that remain in demand even amid outsized inflation. Last month, the company reported encouraging fourth-quarter numbers with net sales of $7.4 billion. That was a 10% increase from the same period last year as price increases more than offset declines in volume mix.

The stock is trading at 0.97 times its book value, so it isn't as significantly discounted as the other stocks on this list. But it still offers some solid value for investors, and its D/E ratio of 0.4 is the lowest among the stocks listed here.

There's still risk with Kraft Heinz, however. The longer elevated inflation continues, the more likely it is that even price increases won't be able to offset declines in demand as shoppers potentially swap out big-name brands for cheaper options. Plus, the company hasn't always been the most stable of dividend stocks, with Kraft slashing its payout back in 2019.

That is a valid concern as the company's earnings per share totaled $1.91 last year, which puts its payout ratio at a relatively high 83%. If its financial situation deteriorates, a cut to the 4.2% dividend yield may not be out of the question for Kraft.

However, while it's a risky stock in the short term, Kraft is still a solid investment to hang on to for the long haul given its strong brands. Even though it has a higher valuation than the other stocks on this list, analysts generally still see the Warren Buffett stock rising by at least 10% from where it is today.

SVB Financial provides credit and banking services to The Motley Fool. David Jagielski has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends SVB Financial and Warner Bros. Discovery. The Motley Fool recommends Kraft Heinz, Nasdaq, and Viatris. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy .

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