Wondering what the best stocks to buy for next year are? Well, look no further than the 10 Best Stocks for 2012.
This InvestorPlace feature lists 10 long-term investments from a group of money managers, market experts and financial journalists. The 10 Best Stocks for 2012 is meant to provide buy-and-hold picks you can purchase now and sit on for a year — ideally, winding up richer on the other side.
The buy list this year is a diverse group of stocks — from banks to technology, from emerging markets to Dow components, from old favorites to a stock that went public just a few months ago.
Throughout the year, the writers will regularly offer updates on the good, the bad and the unexpected as it relates to their best stock for 2012. We’ll find out in a year who had the best pick — but first, let’s examine each writer’s recommendation and what made them pick their stock as the best investment for the New Year:
Best Stock for 2012: Caterpillar
Investor and CBS MoneyWatch columnist Dan Burrows picked industrial giant Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) as his best stock for 2012.
His reasons? Dan says CAT stock was oversold during the summer volatility, has good fundamentals (including retail sales that grew 31% in October) and a bargain valuation with a forward price-to-earnings ratio of about 10.
“Wall Street’s mean (and median) price target for Caterpillar currently stands at $114.50, according to Thomson Reuters data. Add in the 2% yield on the dividend, and the stock offers an implied return of 28% in the next 12 months or so,” writes Dan. “Not too shabby for a company with a market cap of more than $58 billion.”
Read Dan’s complete recommendation on Caterpillar.
Best Stock for 2012: FedEx
CNNMoney’s Paul R. La Monica said, “When I was asked to pick one stock to write about for InvestorPlace that I was confident would do well next year, I immediately started thinking of companies that should benefit from a steadily improving U.S. economy.”
At the end of his deliberation, Paul settled on FedEx (NYSE:FDX).
Don’t think this is just a play on a broad-based recovery, though. A discounted P/E ratio vs. rival UPS (NYSE:UPS), a strong dividend history, recent rate increases and the lack of competition from a U.S. Postal Service in disarray are all reasons to be bullish on FedEx.
“FedEx may not be flashy. But that’s kind of the point,” Paul writes. “In a market where volatility seems to be the new black, you could do a lot worse than a stable blue chip with steady earnings growth.”
Read Paul’s complete recommendation on FedEx.
Best Stock for 2012: Hershey
Renowned trader, journalist and money manager Jon Markman has a sweet play for you in 2012: confectioner Hershey (NYSE:HSY).
Why this consumer stock? Well, because in the short-term Jon is decidedly bearish on just about all corners of the market. The euro zone debt crisis will continue to rock Europe and subsequently affect nations that export goods there or rely on plush government subsidies from the content.
In fact, Jon thinks that in the short term, “the simplest trades next year will likely be short iShares Europe (NYSE:IEV), short iShares Emerging Markets (NYSE:EEM) and short solar energy equipment producers like First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR).”
But what does this mean for buy-and-hold investors? Simply put, get defensive with consumer staples stocks.
For those who think that chocolate is discretionary, Jon adds, “Well, try explaining to my daughter that chocolate isn’t a household staple.”
Read Jon’s complete recommendation on Hershey.
Best Stock for 2012: Capital One
Banks aren’t exactly super popular right now, so it might surprise you to see senior analyst Philip van Doorn of TheStreet picking Capital One Financial (NYSE:COF) as his best best for 2012.
But a closer look at the stock shows a lot to be bullish about, even as the rest of the financial sector melts down. Namely, strong fundamentals and a historically low valuation and book value.
Capital One also has two very important mergers in the works that will provide future growth beyond its generally well-run banking operations.
Philip is adamant that this is not just a dumpster dive, saying “the most important factor in Capital One’s strong performance this year is its outstanding earnings performance.” Compared with the big banks on Wall Street, COF is in a class of its own.
Read Philip’s complete recommendation on Capital One.
Best Stock for 2012: Mako Surgical
David Gardner knows a thing or two about picking stocks. As co-founder of The Motley Fool, he is the brains behind the innovative Motley Fool CAPS rating system. And from his own research and what other investors are saying, David thinks he has a quite a pick for 2012 in Mako Surgical (NASDAQ:MAKO).
What makes Mako special? It’s an innovative medical device company that has revolutionized joint replacement. It’s not profitable yet, but the potential is huge, and stories of treatments and recovery are quite dramatic.
“It’s a long way from here to there, but for the speculative portion of your portfolio, MAKO could richly reward a little patience,” David writes.
If you don’t mind taking a little risk with your investments in 2012, consider this up-and-coming medical company.
Read Dave’s complete recommendation on Mako.
Best Stock for 2012: Microsoft
Blogger, author and founder of Stockpickr James Altucher joined a similar InvestorPlace.com feature in the beginning of 2011, picking one stock to buy and hold all year. Back then, he picked Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) — and his choice is the same a year later.
Similar to his previous write-up, the highlights of this year’s recommendation include:
- 8x earnings
- Huge stock buybacks
- Secret weapon: Skype replaces all smartphones within next five years
The idea of Skype taking over the mobile market is intriguing, considering voice represents so little of what we can do with our smartphones these days.
Read James’ complete recommendation on Microsoft.
Best Stock for 2012: Arcos Dorados
Josh Brown, adviser at Fusion Analytics and the author of The Reformed Broker blog, picked freshly minted Arcos Dorados (NYSE:ARCO) as his top pick for 2012. ARCO is the largest McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) franchisee in the world with more than 1,750 locations, largely in Latin America.
Arcos Dorados went public in April and has been up and down ever since — not a newsflash, considering the volatility of the market in general. But in the new year, Josh is expecting the stock to take off due to four factors:
- Expanding consumer spending in Latin America
- The ferocity of McDonald’s as a global brand
- Growth within a defensive sector
- The comeback potential for emerging-market equities in 2012
If you’re sick of trying to bargain hunt in struggling U.S. blue chips, and if you aren’t afraid of looking for growth abroad, ARCO could be your best bet in the new year.
Read Josh’s complete recommendation on ARCO.
Best Stock for 2012: Turkcell
Money manager and stock picker Charles Sizemore, CFA, picked Visa (NYSE:V) as the single-best stock to buy and hold for all of 2011 — and thanks to market-trouncing returns of 40% year-to-date, his Visa pick was the winner among 10 picks in our similar contest last year.
This year, Charles gets a purer play on emerging markets with telecom stock Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri AS (NYSE:TKC), a mobile phone operator more commonly known just as “Turkcell.”
Yes, there is unrest in the Middle East and in the euro zone right now. But as Charles writes, this means you can buy a great company at a fire-sale price.
“If you believe, as I do, that Turkey has one of the brightest futures of any country on the planet, then the crises on Turkey’s borders should be viewed as a phenomenal opportunity to buy shares of some of Turkey’s finest companies,” Charles writes. “And my choice for 2012 is Turkcell.”
Read Charles’ complete recommendation on Turkcell.
Best Stock for 2012: Alcoa
As with previous picks Caterpillar and FedEx, InvestorPlace.com editor Jeff Reeves has leaned in favor of broad economic recovery with his recommendation of aluminum giant Alcoa (NYSE:AA).
Not only will growth in demand and higher prices result in bigger Alcoa profits, but overly negative sentiment has provided a great entry point, Jeff writes.
“Yes, big problems persist in the global economy, and aluminum demand and prices remain weak as a result,” he writes. “However, Alcoa hasn’t seen the $9 level since spring 2009. Are the macroeconomic fears really worse now than in 2009?”
In addition to valuation, Jeff likes Alcoa’s improving earnings, dividend potential, streamlined operations and hope for better margins in 2012.
Read Jeff’s complete recommendation on Alcoa.
Best Stock for 2012: Banco Santander
According to longtime stock picker, financial columnist and money manager Jim Jubak, your best bet for 2012 is a European bank. Really!
It’s an aggressive play, but Jim’s faith in Banco Santander (NYSE:STD) comes from a lot of number crunching — and the idea that as bad as things are over in the euro zone, they aren’t as bad as you think.
“The worry about European banks right now is that they can’t raise capital in the financial markets,” Jim writes. “During the past two quarters, Banco Santander has very clearly demonstrated that this bank doesn’t fit that profile of worries.”
It has attractive assets to sell if it has to, Jim says, and that’s on top of accessing credit markets just fine at the present — on top of $8 billion in free cash flow that shows a nice cushion for STD. The only catch is that Banco Santander holds almost $50 billion in Spanish government debt.
“If you think Spain will have to write off part of that debt, then Banco Santander sure isn’t the pick for you,” Jim writes. “If you think Spain is in better shape than Italy (or Greece), I think that in Banco Santander you’re looking at one of the best performers in 2012.”
Read Jim’s complete recommendation on Banco Santander.