- Now that the fourth-quarter earnings season is behind us and we’re entering a “dead zone” for news and analyst estimates, it’s
the perfect time to take stock of your current holdings. Macro economic news will probably be driving the market for a few weeks, and could provide
a great buying opportunity in the new market leaders that are about to break out this spring.
To help you capitalize on this trend, we’ve asked a wide range of advisors to give their top picks for the month. Their varied strategies
and market outlooks are sure to help you find a new pick that would be perfect for whatever your individual strategy is. Each expert has also provided
a “buy below” price to help you enter these stocks at the best price.
Here are the seven stock picks for March across our InvestorPlace experts:
Top Small-Cap Stock – Priceline.com (PCLN)
“Buy Below” price: $222
Picked by: Louis Navellier, editor of Emerging
Strategy: Small-cap growth stocks
Priceline.com (PCLN) allows buyers to name their own price for everything from airline tickets to rental cars to cruises. You may
not think that travel spending is very high right now, but the bottom line is that value-conscious consumers really love Priceline’s ability to ‘haggle’
on prices. This has allowed the website to become an oasis for cash-strapped consumers and generate huge numbers even during the recession.
Need proof? Consider that a few weeks ago Priceline posted Q4 profit that was more than double the previous year’s performance! Sales also
grew at a healthy pace, up 33% over last year.
Top Asia Stock – China Nepstar (NPD)
“Buy Below” price: $7.50
Picked by: Robert Hsu, editor of China Strategy
Strategy: The hottest Asian stocks
Based in Shenzhen, China Nepstar Chain Drugstore (NPD) is China’s version of Walgreens. About 15 years ago, the
company brought the chain pharmacy idea to China, growing from a single shop to the biggest retail drugstore chain in the country. Today, it has more
than 2,300 drugstores in 63 cities, offering more than 1,000 private label products. Nepstar’s strategy of centralized procurement, competitive pricing,
customer loyalty programs and private label offerings has enabled the company to capitalize on the robust economic growth in China.
NPD just reported fourth-quarter and full-year results on March 3, including a 11% jump in same-store sales, a 13% jump in revenue and a 13% jump
in operating income over the previous year. I expect this company’s success to continue as it remains the go-to pharmacy chain in the People’s
Republic of China.
Top Dividend Stock – Dupont (DD)
“Buy Below” price: $35
Picked by: Brian Perry, editor of Cash Machine
Strategy: High-income dividend investing
Some of the biggest winners in a recovering economy are those companies engaged in the basic businesses of resins, sealants, coatings, industrial
chemicals, plastics, adhesives, soybean and corn seed and Tyvek building wrap. Price increases implemented along the way usually translate into phenomenal
earnings surprises, setting stocks like DuPont E I Neumours (DD) in motion higher.
Dupont has seen steadily improving numbers for each of the last four quarters, topping earnings estimates each time by as much as 15%. That bodes
very well for the company’s next earnings report on April 27. With a hefty 4.8% dividend yield and a strong track record of boosting payouts,
this is a great stock for income investors.
Top Blue Chip Stock – Ford (F)
“Buy Below” price: $15
Picked by: Louis Navellier, editor of Blue Chip
Strategy: Large-cap growth stocks
Everyone knows that Ford (F) is one of the world’s largest makers of cars and trucks. And thanks to the bankruptcy of GM
and Chrysler, coupled with Toyota’s recent recall woes, this Detroit automaker is a great comeback success story. In January, the company posted
its first annual profit in four years and has been gobbling up market share from its competitors ever since.
Here’s the kicker: Ford’s 2009 net income of 86 cents per share was infinitely better than forecasts of a -31 cents LOSS a share. When you post
profits that big on a loss projection that substantial, people really take notice. I expect Wall Street will set the bar low yet again for this stock
this spring, and Ford should surge on another strong earnings report.
Top Penny Stock – Playboy (PLA)
“Buy Below” price: $4
Picked by: Jamie Dlugosch, editor of Penny Stock
Strategy: Inexpensive microcaps that deliver huge returns
Undervalued adult entertainment company Playboy (PLA) has been struggling for years, but still provides a lot of opportunity for
aggressive investors looking for a cheap stock with huge upside potential. There is a long list of management mistakes, including falling behind changes
in technology and the publishing industry, that kept this company from developing its true value. And from a brand perspective, this stock is clearly
If run correctly, PLA should be dominating the space. In addition, the value of its assets, including the Playboy mansion, is far greater than the
stock price. Eventually PLA will figure out how to fully leverage its position as a leader in the industry. If it doesn’t, expect a suitor to come
calling. Buy PLA up to $4 per share. My target is $10!
Top Low-Risk Stock – JP Morgan Chase (JPM)
“Buy Below” price: $46
Picked by: Richard Band, editor of Profitable Investing
Strategy: Low-risk retirement investing that beats the market
I don’t like it any more than you do, but one clear result of the financial meltdown is that America’s banking business is now concentrated
in fewer hands. Fewer rivals mean fatter profit margins for the survivors. Among the big commercial banks, none has played a shrewder game than J.P.
Morgan Chase (JPM).
This strength was on display in the fourth quarter: $3.3 billion in earnings, or 74 cents a share on revenue of $25.2 billion. For the full-year
2009, net income totaled $11.7 billion, or $2.26 per share. That topped Wall Street forecasts by more than 20%. Not a bad year, considering the mayhem
2009 caused for other stocks. Things will only get better for JPM as the economy improves (albeit slowly) across 2010.
Top Stock Under $10 – Mindspeed (MSPD)
“Buy Below” price: $7.75
Picked by: Nancy Zambell, editor of Treasures Under
Strategy: Fundamentally strong yet undervalued companies of all sizes
Focusing on communications, Mindspeed Technologies (MSPD) designs and develops semiconductor solutions for communications companies.
MSPD stands to really benefit from the strength of the tech sector and could see a leap in shares once consumer spending improves. Its top customers
are household names that read like a “who’s who of personal electronics” listing: Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, Ericsson, China Telecom,
China Unicom, Nokia, and Nortel are just a few.
Mindspeed has seen an impressive return to profitability over the last year, topping earnings expectations by 100% in the third quarter as it broke
even and topping estimates by 17% in its latest report. Now that the company is back in the black, I expect Wall Street to take notice and send shares
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