So far, 2022 has not been a very good year for stocks. We’ve been engulfed in a bear market with multiple geopolitical and monetary negative catalysts weighing on equities. Dow stocks, though, have weathered the storm a little better than others, and it is possible to find good Dow stocks to buy.
Before today’s action, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down “just” 14.9% in 2022. While that would be a horrendous performance by most standards, the Dow has performed the best of the four major U.S. stock indices in 2022.
For comparison, the S&P 500 had fallen 18.5% in 2022, while the Nasdaq and Russell 2000 were down 26.6% and 20.4%, respectively. The “risk-on” assets that make up much of the Russell and the Nasdaq are clearly getting battered, while investors are flocking to many of the blue-chip stocks that are more prevalent in the Dow and the S&P 500.
While the S&P 500 has lagged the Dow this year, it’s important to note that the former has 500 stocks in its index, while the latter has just 30.
Let’s focus on three Dow stocks to buy during a potential, upcoming market crash.
Dow Stocks to Buy: Apple (AAPL)
It should be no surprise that we’re kicking off this list with Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL). It’s the biggest publicly traded company out there with a $2.5 trillion market capitalization, and it’s one of the few tech stocks that is holding up amid the bear market.
The caveat with this stock is that investors may get another shot at buying it near its 2022 lows. Recently, Apple has been one of the better performing stocks in tech. While the market continues to gyrate, AAPL stock has held up relatively well.
But as much as I (and seemingly every investor) love Apple, we must be realistic about it. Analysts, on average, expect its sales to climb just 7.3% this year. In fiscal 2023, the mean estimate calls for a deceleration to just 5% revenue growth.
A similar slowdown is forecast for earnings, with the average estimate calling for 8.7% growth in 2022 and an increase of just 5.7% in 2023. At its current prices, that leaves Apple stock trading at roughly 25 times this year’s earnings. However, if the stock revisits its low, that valuation will drop to about 21 times its earnings, provided analysts’ earnings estimates for AAPL don’t decline as well.
Apple is not invincible. But the growth of the firm’s Services unit, which has double the gross margins of its Products business, is outpacing its overall revenue increases. Moreover, Apple’s free cash flow remains immense, and it is still buying back an enormous number of its shares. Given these points, we can only ignore AAPL for so long.
Dow Stocks to Buy: Microsoft (MSFT)
I hate to be so predictable as to choose another mega-cap tech stock, but with Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) $1.83 trillion market cap, it’s hard to ignore.
Microsoft not only has a fortress balance sheet, but it owns a great business. It’s now firmly considered a conglomerate. Although Windows remains the heartbeat of its business, it also has notable assets in enterprise/office sales, cloud, gaming, social media (with LinkedIn) and more.
Perhaps the most notable thing that flies under the radar about Microsoft is the fact that it generates better operating margins than any of the FAANG stocks.
While the FAANG names seem to get all the headlines and attention, Microsoft has somewhat quietly accumulated a massive valuation while generating enormous profits. The best part is that analysts expect the company to continue posting similarly huge bottom lines.
Analysts’ average expectations call for 11.4% revenue growth this year and an acceleration to 14% topline growth in 2023. On the earnings front, their outlook is similar, with the mean estimates calling for 10% growth this year and 18% growth in 2023.
While the market swoons, investors can protect themselves by finding excellent, blue-chip Dow stocks to buy like Microsoft.
I went back and forth trying to choose the last name on this list. Ultimately though, I probably settled on what will probably be my most controversial pick: Salesforce (NYSE:CRM).
As much as I love the long-term outlooks of Nike (NYSE:NKE), Disney (NYSE:DIS) and others, I can’t ignore the combination of growth and value that Salesforce provides. The shares are making new lows as we speak, and they are down more than 50% from their highs.
However, Salesforce’s management just said that it expects fiscal 2026 revenue of $50 billion. For what it’s worth, that’s about $5 billion more than the average estimate. That’s insane, given that its FY22 revenue was “just” $26.5 billion.
Salesforce’s recent guidance called for $30.9 billion to $31 billion of revenue in FY 23. But it’s staggering that the company believes its revenue is poised to increase that much in a few years.
Analysts, on average, expect roughly flat earnings growth for Salesforce and a 17% increase in its revenue. Even if its earnings do stay flat, we’re talking about 31 times this year’s earnings and 26 times next year’s mean estimate. If the stock declines sharply — say, to $125 a share — CRM stock will trade at 26 times this year’s average estimate and 22 times next year’s mean estimate.
On the date of publication, Bret Kenwell 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.