Looking for stocks to buy for March is a tall, tall task. It seems tough to believe the market has any further gains to give following its heroic 3.7% gain last month — especially given Thursday’s weakness and Friday’s tepid follow-up.
But veteran traders know anything is possible, and wise traders have learned the “expect it when you least expect it” lesson more than once. It’s entirely possible some stocks will be able to tack on more gains in March.
And as it turns out, some stocks are more likely to dish out gains this month than others.
Here’s a closer look at the five best blue-chip stocks to buy based on their history of a strong performance in March. Wherever possible, preference has been given to names that aren’t starting the new month dangerously overbought and ripe for profit-taking.
In no certain order …
5 Stocks to Buy for March: Walmart (WMT)
Click to Enlarge Calling a spade a spade, Wal-Mart Stores Inc (NYSE:WMT) was lost in the wilderness for the better part of the past decade, learning the hard way that customers won’t tolerate empty shelves, poor service and tattered stores.
As of its most recently completed quarter, however, the world’s biggest retailer is starting to find its way. Sales of $130.9 billion and the profit of $1.30 per share were both better than expected.
Better still, same-store sales were up 1.8%. That was the best same-store sales reading the company’s produced since the middle of 2012.
All of a sudden, WMT stock is a decent bet again. The odds are made even better knowing that Walmart shares gain an average of 5.2% in the month of March — and that’s just part of a very solid first seven months of the year for this ticker.
5 Stocks to Buy for March: Coca-Cola (KO)
Click to Enlarge If there’s such a thing as a “steady Eddie” stock anymore, The Coca-Cola Co (NYSE:KO). But the month of March is an especially bullish time for KO shares. The 4.8% advance it tends to dish out in the third month for the year is outstanding.
The kicker: Coca-Cola isn’t starting the month out in an alarmingly overbought condition like so many other well-known names are.
And that’s not the only reason KO has earned a spot on a list of stocks to buy here.
Consumers’ aversion to sugary sodas and growing preference for healthier drinks isn’t exactly a secret; Coke has taken its lumps in that regard, too. The company is finally fighting back with a good answer, though, reporting organic growth of 6% last quarter, and presenting a compelling plan to rekindle flagging soda sales.
5 Stocks to Buy for March: Home Depot (HD)
But the market rarely does anything that obvious.
Rather, sensing a seasonal heyday is around the corner, HD becomes one of the hot stocks to buy before it stores become terribly busy. Home Depot shares gain an average of 5.2% during the month of March.
And if the company’s recently published outlook is any indication, this year’s seasonal swell is going to be plenty lucrative in 2017.
Morgan Stanley analyst Simeon Gutman recently explained, “The data suggests the housing recovery is in the middle innings, not the 8th/9th which the market believes.” And the company just announced it would be hiring 80,000 seasonal workers to tackle the spring influx of customers.
5 Stocks to Buy for March: Adobe Systems (ADBE)
Ask the average person what else Adobe does, and you may not get any answer at all.
Too bad, since ADBE has found a winning formula in providing a robust suite of cloud-based software, and renting it rather than selling it.
The proof of the pudding is in the numbers. Last quarter, revenue was up 23%, and income was higher to the tune of 79%. That has been par for the course for a while now, and that pace is expected to persist through the foreseeable future.
With that as the backdrop, it’s much easier to be bullish on a seemingly overbought ADBE stock here … even more so knowing the stock averages a gain of 10.3% in the month of March. For that matter, March’s bullishness usually lasts through April.
5 Stocks to Buy for March: Capital One (COF)
Click to Enlarge Finally, the financial sector does better than most during the month of March, and among the best of the financial stocks to buy for the month is credit card player Capital One Financial Corp. (NYSE:COF). It advances 6%, on average for the month, and that momentum tends to last through April as well.
This one comes with a warning, though.
Capital One just disclosed it was being investigated by the New York District Attorney’s Office, the Justice Department and the financial crimes arm of the Treasury Department. The concern? Capital One’s relationship with a check cashing client that may have been involved in money laundering activity.
But when it’s all said and done, that probe has more sound and less substance. COF is still one of the top stocks to buy for the month that just got underway.
As of this writing, James Brumley did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.