This year has served as a reminder to new and tenured investors that stocks can go down just as easily as they can climb. As recently as last week, the iconic Dow Jones Industrial Average and widely followed S&P 500 were both in correction territory (down at least 10% from their respective all-time closing highs), while the growth-focused Nasdaq Composite was in a bear market.
Although the velocity of moves lower in the market can be scary at times, history has conclusively shown that corrections are the ideal time to put your money to work in stocks. Despite never knowing ahead of time how long a correction will last or how steep the decline will be, we do know that every previous market decline was eventually erased by a bull market rally.
Best of all, you don’t need a mountain of cash to begin building wealth on Wall Street. With most online brokerages doing away with commission fees and minimum deposit requirements, any amount of cash — even $100 — can be the perfect amount to invest.
If you have $100 at the ready, which won’t be needed for bills or emergencies, the following three stocks would make for no-brainer buys during the ongoing market sell-off.
Bank of America
Generally, bank stocks aren’t a great place to seek refuge during a downturn in the broader market. But things are genuinely different this time around, which is why money-center giant Bank of America ( BAC -0.05% ) makes for such a no-brainer buy.
Pretty much all financial stocks are cyclical. This means they perform well during periods of economic expansion and struggle under the weight of higher loan losses when contractions and recessions arise. What makes the existing situation so unique for bank stocks is that the Federal Reserve is shifting toward tighter monetary policy while the stock market is correcting lower. With the nation’s central bank looking to raise its benchmark lending rate up to seven times in 2022, bank stocks with outstanding variable-rate loans are set for a windfall of extra net interest income.
Though virtually all banks, big and small, should benefit to some degree from a rising-rate environment, no money-center bank is better positioned than Bank of America. Among big banks, it’s the most interest-sensitive. Following the release of its fourth-quarter operating results, BofA noted that a 100-basis-point parallel shift in the interest rate yield curve would yield an estimated $6.5 billion in additional net interest income over the coming 12 months. With the Fed expecting up to 175 basis points in hikes (if not more), BofA is about to experience a surge in net income.
Another point to consider with BofA is that when profits go up, CEO Brian Moynihan looks to reward shareholders. Although money-center bank capital return plans need the approval of the Fed, Moynihan has been no stranger to raising Bank of America’s dividend or buying back a significant number of shares (when allowed to do so).
Lastly, give credit where credit is due on the digital banking front. While BofA isn’t exactly the first bank stock that probably comes to mind when you think of digital banking, the company ended 2021 with 41 million digital active customers and saw 49% of all sales completed digitally in the fourth quarter, up from 31% in the comparable quarter three years prior. Online and mobile transactions are considerably cheaper than in-person and phone-based interactions, which has allowed Bank of America to lower its costs by consolidating some of its branches.
A second no-brainer stock investors can confidently buy with $100 during the market sell-off is small-cap cannabis company Jushi Holdings ( JUSHF 1.59% ).
Over the past 13 months, marijuana stocks have been nothing short of a buzzkill. Canadian pot stocks have been clobbered by COVID-19 restrictions, and U.S. multi-state operators (MSOs) like Jushi have been beaten down by a lack of cannabis reforms at the federal level. But with regard to the latter, it’s important to recognize that approximately three-quarters of all U.S. states have legalized cannabis in some capacity. As long as the federal Department of Justice maintains a hands-off policy, MSOs like Jushi have plenty of pathways to succeed.
One of the things that makes Jushi so intriguing is its focus on a handful of limited-license markets, such as Pennsylvania, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Virginia. Regulators in limited-license markets purposely cap how many retail licenses they issue in total and/or to individual businesses. Doing so promotes competition, as well as allowing smaller MSOs like Jushi the time to build up their brand(s) and gain a following without the fear of being overrun by a larger competitor with deeper pockets.
Despite its relatively small size, Jushi has also prudently deployed some of its capital to enter lucrative markets. Last year, it acquired two dispensaries in California, the largest weed market in the country by annual sales. And just last week, it completed its acquisition of a dispensary in Las Vegas, Nevada, which increased its permitted U.S. retail footprint to 39 locations.
As a Jushi shareholder, I’ve come to appreciate insiders having skin in the game as well. Roughly $45 million of the first $250 million in capital raised by the company came from execs and insiders. When the financial fortunes of insiders align with investors, good things happen more often than not.
With Wall Street expecting the company to more than double its sales over the next two years and reach recurring profitability this year, it looks like a screaming bargain.
The third and final no-brainer stock to buy with $100 during this sell-off is Detroit auto kingpin General Motors ( GM 1.30% ).
The big issue for auto stocks at the moment is their supply chains. Semiconductor chips and other key parts for next-gen vehicles are in low supply due to a combination of COVID-19 disrupting production in various parts of the world and the Russia-Ukraine war reducing the availability of certain materials.
But what’s important to note is that this near-term weakness isn’t demand-based. Supply issues are eventually going to be resolved, and when they do the auto industry is going to benefit from a multidecade vehicle replacement cycle as consumer vehicles and enterprise fleets go green.
For General Motors, the electrification of next-gen vehicles is the shot in the arm of organic growth Wall Street has been seemingly waiting two decades for. Last year, GM upped its allotted spending on electric vehicles (EVs), autonomous vehicles, and batteries for EVs to $35 billion. The goal is to have two battery production facilities up and running by 2023, with North American EV output topping 1 million annually by the end of 2025. Ultimately, 30 new EVs are to be launched globally by mid-decade.
While there’s plenty of chatter about the growth potential of EVs, we’re beginning to see tangible results. GM CEO Mary Barra noted in her year-end letter to shareholders that more than 110,000 deposits of $100 had been taken in a couple of weeks for the Chevy Silverado EV. This comes atop the nearly 59,000 reservations for the 2022 GMC Hummer EV.
General Motors is also in great shape to benefit from China’s EV push. In each of the past two years, GM has delivered 2.9 million vehicles (mostly combustion-engine vehicles) in China, which gives it the brand awareness that’ll be necessary to gobble up EV share in the largest auto market in the world.
Even if General Motors’ 2022 earnings forecast comes down a bit due to supply chain challenges, shares are still valued at a historically inexpensive profit multiple of around seven. Given the huge catalyst on the company’s doorstep, now is the time to buy.
This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis – even one of our own – helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.