The stock markets have had quite the year — but not in a good way, as was the case in 2014. Instead, the story of 2015 has been one of volatility and bursts of panic. Everyone wondered: Will the Federal Reserve raise rates? Has the market found a bottom? Should I move all my investments to cash?
In the last month or so, the market has found at least some footing. Investors breathed a sigh of relief as the Fed left rates unchanged, while the S&P 500 regained at least a little bit of ground in recent weeks.
Now, after three roller-coaster quarters, we’re heading into the homestretch of 2015 … and it’s safe to assume there is another question on just about every investor’s mind: Which stocks are going to keep chugging higher through the year-end?
So we’ve rounded up four that have the potential to soar in the fourth quarter. Check it out.
Year-End Stocks to Buy: American Airlines (AAL)
Falling oil prices might spell trouble for oil stocks this year, but it’s a dream come true for airline stocks like American Airlines (AAL).
Deutsche Bank isn’t alone in its optimism, either — AAL stock was just upgraded from “buy” to “strong buy” by Vetr. While shares have already soared this year thanks to the company’s merger, they’re still cheap by most metrics … and you can bet investors will notice.
Year-End Stocks to Buy: Home Depot (HD)
Home Depot (HD) already has double-digit gains in the books for 2015, but there’s plenty of reason to believe HD stock will keep climbing.
The first? Even after that climb, Home Depot stock still yields over 2% — which is even more appealing in the wake of the Fed continuing to kick the can down the road with regards to raising rates.
Those low rates could also help the housing market (which has returned to pre-recession strength) continue its steady improvement — another factor that bodes well for HD.
In fact, Home Depot is expected to grow earnings by nearly 16% for the full year, thanks to an estimate of $5.31 per share — a number that’s four pennies higher than it was three months ago and 73 cents better than last year’s numbers.
Add it up, and HD stock offers growth and yield — a combo that should keep shares moving higher through year-end.
Year-End Stocks to Buy: AutoZone (AZO)
Speaking of booming markets, the auto industry is looking good as well, with the latest numbers showing the fastest sales rate in a decade. And just as Home Depot offers a one-off consumer discretionary play on the housing market’s recovery, AutoZone (AZO) offers a retail pick to play strength in the auto sector.
Heading into the fourth quarter, AZO stock has momentum to say the least. Shares of AZO have gained 20% since the year started, and are sitting nicely above their short- and long-term moving averages.
Meanwhile, in another parallel with Home Depot, earnings estimates for the fourth quarter and full year are marching higher.
That optimism should continue fueling the AZO stock price.
Year-End Stocks to Buy: Amazon (AMZN)
Earnings are a part of the bullish thesis for this next pick as well — and that isn’t usually something said about Amazon (AMZN).
Historically, Amazon’s story has been that of sweet sales growth and nonexistent profits, which investors haven’t seemed to mind as evidenced by this year’s 60% gains.
But AMZN posted a surprise profit in the most recent quarter, and is expected to tally earnings of $1.57 per share for all of 2015 — quite the improvement from a 52-cent loss a year ago.
A strong chart — alongside more anecdotal evidence, like continued content success and ongoing technological innovation — is already good reason to think AMZN stock can keep the momentum up. Seeing results in the black could be the cherry on top for old and new Amazon stock fans.
Alyssa Oursler is based in San Francisco and writes about technology, investing, gender and entrepreneurship. Her work has appeared on Forbes, Business Insider, MSN Money and more. You can follow her on Twitter here or check out her personal site here.