You have to get two things right to successfully invest in stocks. First, you must have a decent idea of a company’s long-term growth potential and the associated odds. Second, you must pay a price that is reasonable based on those odds.
Over the past couple of years, many investors forgot that second part. It didn’t matter until it did. With rising interest rates and recession fears putting a chill on valuations, the priciest growth stocks have been decimated in the true sense of the word.
A value stock is not simply a cheap stock, it’s a stock with a valuation that doesn’t fully reflect the underlying company’s growth potential. Walt Disney (DIS 0.38%) and Intel (INTC -0.07%) are two prime examples.
1. A media and entertainment juggernaut
It’s tough to value Disney right now because the company is going through a transition that’s knocking down profits. The media giant is pouring billions into its streaming businesses, and if you look at subscriber counts, that strategy is working like a charm. But the cost of that success is steep.
Disney now has over 210 million streaming subscribers spread across its various services. Disney+, which launched just three years ago, has attracted 164.2 million paying customers. The company’s unmatched portfolio of intellectual property, which includes Marvel and Star Wars, gives it an endless source of ideas for streaming content.
Disney has used rock-bottom prices to juice its subscriber gains. Excluding Disney+ Hotstar, the average customer pays just $5.96 per month for the service. Disney will likely use the same strategy it uses for its parks: raise prices over time to reflect the value and unique nature of what it can offer its customers. Right now, the streaming business is losing around $4 billion annually. Disney has pricing power, and it can flex it to turn streaming into a wildly profitable business in the long run.
Disney’s stock doesn’t look particularly cheap on the surface. The company generated adjusted EPS of $3.53 in fiscal 2022, putting the price-to-earnings ratio at around 26. But it’s not Disney’s current results that are important; it’s the company’s long-term potential. The optionality Disney’s IP portfolio provides should not be underestimated. Disney’s performance is messy right now, but this is an iconic company that should grow stronger over time.
2. A chip giant with a plan
Intel is one of the last remaining semiconductor companies that both designs and manufacturers logic chips. The company is investing heavily to build out its own foundry business, aiming to take a big chunk of the global foundry market by selling its manufacturing capacity and expertise.
That’s part of Intel’s comeback plan. The other part is to retake the performance and efficiency crowns from rival AMD in its core PC and server CPU markets. Intel has already succeeded in PCs — the company’s Raptor Lake chips beat the competition in nearly every measure. It’s going to take a while in the server market — while Intel suffered delay after delay with its Sapphire Rapids chips, AMD was stealing market share and putting out superior products.
Intel’s market share losses and the heavy spending necessary to build its foundry business have weighed on the stock. Like Disney, simply looking at the P/E ratio as it stands today isn’t all that meaningful. The company expects to produce adjusted earnings per share of $1.95 this year, putting the P/E ratio at roughly 15.
Earnings will be depressed as Intel invests heavily in manufacturing and executes on its roadmap to take back the server market share that it’s lost. A weak PC market isn’t helping, although billions in cost cuts over the next three years should offset some of the pain.
The best-case scenario for Intel is for it to start to reverse AMD’s market share gains in the PC and server chip markets while winning foundry customers that have become overly dependent on market leader TSMC. Being a U.S.-based manufacturer is a big advantage. TSMC is based in Taiwan, which is caught in the middle of tense relations between the U.S. and China.
Relative to sales, Intel stock is about the cheapest it’s been in decades. That’s not enough of a reason on its own to buy the stock, but it gives a sense of how pessimistic the market has become on the semiconductor giant. The reason to buy Intel is its potential to reclaim its dominance in PC and server chips while building a multi-billion-dollar foundry business that benefits from the growth of the broader semiconductor market.
The next few years will be messy for Intel as it cuts costs, brings new server chips to market, and continues to lay the foundation of its foundry business. But if the company succeeds even partially, the stock could be worth a lot more down the road.
Timothy Green has positions in Intel and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Advanced Micro Devices, Intel, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool recommends the following options: long January 2023 $57.50 calls on Intel, long January 2024 $145 calls on Walt Disney, long January 2025 $45 calls on Intel, short January 2024 $155 calls on Walt Disney, and short January 2025 $45 puts on Intel. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.