As the calendar turns to 2020, investors need to appraise the stock markets in a new light. 2019 came and went with three interest-rate cuts - not the hikes many suspected at the start of the year - and the longest economic recovery of the postwar era continued. The market has subsequently shot to sky-high prices, setting up a 2020 in which value stocks should be ... well, valued.
The S&P 500 trades at more than 23 times its trailing 12-month earnings - a level seen only a few times in the market's history. The index also trades at a sky-high 19 times analysts' estimates for future earnings. That's sustainable as long as investors have enough reasons to be bullish. But several things - another breakdown in trade relations, the U.S. entering recession and more - could spark an exodus from expensive stocks.
It's not all bad. The market's best value stocks - which often have defensive qualities, including paying significant amounts of dividend income - would likely thrive in a flight to quality.
Here are 10 of the best value stocks to buy heading into 2020. It's a short list, to be sure, as 2019's rally has driven a wide swath of stocks into frothy territory. But each of these stock picks offers value and a favorable fundamental outlook heading into the new year.SEE ALSO: 20 Best Retirement Stocks to Buy in 2020