For some, the price plunge was entirely self-inflicted, while for others external forces conspired to bring down their prospects.
However, with NSW now reaching 80% double-vaccination coverage and about to end quarantine for incoming travellers, will these ASX shares return to their pre-COVID glory?
One market commentator certainly thinks there are some beaten-up ASX shares that might reward long-term investors.
“Patience is an asset,” said Switzer Financial Group founder Peter Switzer on Youtube.
“You can try and trade by buying a stock and flipping it once you’re happy with the gain that you’ve made. But timing can be tricky, just like betting on the four-legged lottery on Melbourne Cup day.”
Here are 3 punished stocks that Switzer holds out hope for.
‘Huge customers’ and ‘certainly believable’ potential
Nuix Ltd (ASX: NXL) only listed in December but its shareholders might feel like they’ve lived through a lifetime this year.
After an initial public offering (IPO) that saw Nuix shares issued at $5.31, the software company shot up above $11 in January before a series of financial downgrades and governance scandals deflated momentum.
On Friday, Nuix shares finished the session at $2.58 but Switzer suspects this low might be a buying opportunity.
“Analysts believe the company has a target price that suggests it could go up 156%,” he said.
“Even if they’re only half-right, I’d be happy with half of 156%.”
Nuix provides analytics software that allows large institutions, like law enforcement, to make sense of huge troves of unstructured data, such as emails.
“It has huge customers in both the public and the private domain and it was a hugely successful company until all this misreporting really lowered the boom,” said Switzer.
“The potential for the company still is certainly believable.”
ASX share with 77% upside potential
Machine learning services provider Appen Ltd (ASX: APX) has seen its shares drop 73% over the past year.
The company has lost revenue from its mainly US-based clients, who have withdrawn non-essential spending since the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic.
But Switzer still has faith in Appen’s long-term prospects.
“This is a company that’s really well-positioned for the future of business, because it’s in artificial intelligence, it’s in machine learning — and it’s got some pretty big customers out there,” he said.
“This is a company that, when business gets back to normal, it’ll actually start to improve.”
According to Switzer, 4 of the big broking houses have a target price well above Friday’s closing share price of $9.65. The lowest is $11 from Credit Suisse, while Citi is the most bullish at $17.
If Appen reaches Citi’s price target, investors buying at Friday’s price will gain 76%.
Give this stock one more year before you give up
Of course, long-term investing doesn’t mean one should recklessly hold onto a stock out of blind faith.
Sometimes, if a business has changed for the worse, you have to cut it loose to prevent further damage to the portfolio.
A2 Milk Company Ltd (ASX: A2M) shares have lost 66% since their July 2020 highs due to the company’s Chinese sales channel plummeting because of international travel bans.
But Switzer reckons shareholders should give it a bit more time before completely condemning the stock.
“I don’t know when A2 Milk will be out of the woods but I am going to give it another year,” he said.
“This is a quality company … the future will look good for this company, but it just might take some time before that future comes to reality.”