3 Smart Tech stocks to buy in 2022 and beyond
The past year has been brutal, especially for tech investors. The Nasdaq Composite remains in bearish territory, down 22% in the past 12 months and about 30% off its all-time high.
Things were even worse for many individual tech stocks. Many quality companies are discarded indiscriminately, creating opportunities for the patient, long-term investor. Three smart buys right now are Alphabet (GOOGL 0.87%) (GOOG 0.56%), To block (SQ -5.92%)and Doximity (DOCS -3.29%). Here’s why.
Alphabet: a tech titan too cheap to ignore
Alphabet, parent of the Google Internet search engine, needs no introduction. It is one of the largest and most powerful organizations. Over the past two-plus decades, Google’s digital advertising-powered empire has managed to grow steadily through good times and bad.
Nonetheless, Alphabet stock is down 27% over the past year and has fallen more than 30% from its all-time high. It’s a top name in the tech world, so what’s going on at Google? Investors fear a recession could spell trouble for the internet giant. As demonstrated in 2008 and 2020, an economic downturn means lower ad activity and lower ad monetization. In short, a recession would likely lead to lower revenues for Alphabet.
However, the company has also demonstrated that Internet search ads are quite resilient, even in times of recession. Digital marketing has an easy switch to flip. Since many brands will start to die if they keep the switch on, even a recession can’t sustain marketing activity for too long. When Alphabet experienced a drop in revenue during past recessions, it turned out to be very short-lived.
This advertising empire has other challenges to contend with, such as growing regulatory scrutiny of its online business and accusations of suppressing competition. Removing the competition or not, some of Google’s peers like The trading post (TTD -3.88%) progress. But Alphabet benefits from its participation in a massive and growing digital ads industry, and it’s more diverse than it has ever been in the past. A gargantuan balance sheet with nearly $120 billion in cash and short-term investments net of debt doesn’t hurt either.
Alphabet shares now trade for just 20 times free cash flow over 12 months. That seems very cheap to me for a sustainably growing company that is so deeply embedded in the fabric of the global economy. I am a buyer.
Block: Surprise! The block is actually profitable in this key metric
Block, the company formerly known as Square, has continued its steady expansion into the financial industry. Starting with merchants with its ecosystem of digitally integrated point-of-sale solutions and financial management services, Block has made rapid strides with consumers in recent years with Cash App. Nonetheless, the stock has fallen 76% over the past year.
Some investors dispute the company’s bets on Bitcoin (BTC -0.95%) as a future Internet-based currency. However, Bitcoin hasn’t been all that bad for Block. Enabling Bitcoin trading has helped Cash App quickly onboard millions of users during the pandemic. Once in the ecosystem, Cash App can promote even more valuable services to these new users. Now a commonly used fintech in the United States, the merchant services segment and Cash App are now making a concerted push internationally, where Block has few users and a lot of untapped potential.
The company recently acquired Afterpay (which has a strong presence outside of the US) to help strengthen the ties between its merchant and consumer apps. And Block just announced a new partnership with the international digital payments superstar Adyen (ADYE.Y -1.19%) to add Cash App Pay as a payment option to large Adyen US merchants. Perhaps this will also pave the way for deeper integration abroad. Time will tell us.
Despite spending heavily to expand its roster of capabilities and marketing, Block is now profitable on a free cash flow basis. In fact, Block has generated good free cash flow per share returns for shareholders over the past five years. The stock now trades at just under 60 times enterprise value to free cash flow. I’m not saying it’s a “cheap” stock. But given the strong execution of the company’s expansion, now looks like a fantastic time to buy long-term.
Doximity: Dedicated to growth, but above all to profitable growth
Let’s visit the healthcare sector, often seen as a stable place to stash cash in times of uncertainty. However, even healthcare stocks have taken it on the chin during the current bear market. As measured by the Vanguard Health ETFs (VHT 0.08%)US healthcare stocks are down 13% from all-time highs.
However, health tech is faring much worse, including Doximity. This small company that connects healthcare professionals, pharmaceutical companies and patients through a unified app has seen a big drop this year. The stock has fallen about 70% since its fall 2021 peak.
However, while Doximity had a strong bounty last year, there’s still a lot to love about this company right now. Management has always focused on profitable growth. While the growth trajectory is slowing this year due to macroeconomic factors (revenue is now expected to grow 25% in fiscal 2023), it remains a very profitable business. Free cash flow profit margin was 36% in the last 12 months.
What’s remarkable about this is that tech companies have been able to successfully break into America’s massive but incredibly complex healthcare industry. Where many have failed, Doximity succeeds quite well. The stock now trades at 39 times enterprise value to free cash flow. Again, it’s not a cheap title, but it’s not a bad price if you think Doximity will continue to grow revenue and bottom line with its healthcare-focused app. the communications. For my part, I think it will and I’m still a buyer.
Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a board member of The Motley Fool. Nicholas Rossolillo and his clients have positions in Alphabet (C-shares), Bitcoin, Block, Inc., Doximity, Inc., The Trade Desk and Vanguard Health Care ETF. The Motley Fool owns and recommends Adyen NV, Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), Bitcoin, Block, Inc., Doximity, Inc. and The Trade Desk. The Motley Fool recommends Adyen. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.