Another year is almost over, and that means that not only are we moving closer to crowning our Best Stocks for 2017 winner, but it’s also time to unveil the choices for next year’s contest.
It can be tough to figure out what the coming year will hold. Will the growth continue apace? Is there a correction on the horizon? What political situations will put their thumbs on the scales? Is bitcoin a bubble?
Some of our experts have looked to beaten-down sectors for coming winners, while others have chosen individual companies in the midst of their own turnaround stories. Some are betting on new growth drivers to … well, drive growth in their picks. The game plans are many, but the goals are all the same — to pick the best stock for 2018.
This year’s contenders are:
Best Stocks for 2018 Contest: Amazon (AMZN)
Investor: Readers’ Choice
Taking these in alphabetical order, we start with the readers’ choice pick for 2018, Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN).
This is the second year in a row that Amazon has been the readers’ pick, and it’s not difficult to understand why. Amazon continues to surprise investors not only with its individual choices — hello Whole Foods — but with strong upward momentum. It’s a disruptive force in a growing number of sectors and has most of the market looking over its shoulders in case that dreaded shadow may fall over them.
Can 2018 be more of the same? As always, only time will tell, but right now, it looks like Amazon is set up for success.
Best Stocks for 2018 Contest: Broadridge Financial Solutions (BR)
Investor: Matt McCall
Bitcoin has turned a lot of heads in the markets this year, but for Matt McCall, the founder and president of Penn Financial Group, what’s more interesting is blockchain: the technology behind cryptocurrency. That’s why he has chosen Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc. (NYSE:BR) as his pick for the Best Stocks of 2018 contest.
According to McCall, “Broadridge has emerged as a standout name in this budding trend, completing a successful pilot test of a blockchain-based technology in the repurchase agreement market in collaboration with two large European banks in October.”
With the fundamentals looking solid and the technical picture seemingly prepped for its next bullish breakout, it looks like Broadridge should be a strong candidate for the Best Stocks for 2018 winner.
Best Stocks for 2018 Contest: Chipotle (CMG)
Investor: Kyle Woodley
Sometimes it’s plain to see why a company might be a contender for the coming year’s best stock. But in the case of Kyle Woodley’s pick Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG), the reasons are a little more speculative.
As he points out, there is a lot of potential in Chipotle if it can get its act together. And despite all the pain thanks to a number of outbreaks of illness at some of its locations and a menu that has become fairly stagnant, the actual numbers still aren’t that terrible.
“For all of its problems, analysts still believe the company is on pace to finish the year with 15% sales growth and a massive rebound in profits, from 77-cents-per-share to $6.66,” wrote Woodley. “They see that continuing in 2018, too, projecting still-favorable 9% top-line growth and 40% profit expansion.”
If Chipotle is willing to try a few new things and can keep the stores healthy, it could capitalize on the potential and become one of the year’s best stocks.
Best Stocks for 2018 Contest: Enterprise Partners (EPD)
Investor: Charles Sizemore
Charles Sizemore, CFA, the chief investment officer of Sizemore Capital Management, has decided on Enterprise Product Partners L.P. (NYSE:EPD) as his pick for this year’s Best Stocks contest.
This infrastructure company owns oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids pipelines in North America along with processing and storage facilities. It’s a cautious, stable company with an attractive dividend yield. Nothing nearly as risky as some of the other picks on the list, but that’s the point.
“I’m not quite ready to call a market top here, but I think it makes sense to be cautious at this stage of the bull and to focus on the few pockets of the market that are still cheap,” Sizemore wrote.
But depending on how 2018 shakes out, a strong company with a good yield could be just what it takes to win the Best Stocks for 2018 title.
Best Stocks for 2018 Contest: Etsy (ETSY)
Investor: Tracey Ryniec
Tracey Ryniec, an Equity Strategist and Portfolio Manager at Zacks Investment Research who manages the Insider Trader and Value Investor services, thinks that 2018 could be a breakout year for Etsy Inc (NASDAQ:ETSY).
While the company has not had a great run since its IPO in 2015, things are starting to look up as ETSY has slimmed down and refocused itself.
“In another positive sign, the Board of Directors authorized a $100 million share buyback, a first for the company, in November,” Ryniec added.
Analysts think Etsy will make a profit in 2017 for the first time, and that trend should continue into 2018.
Best Stocks for 2018 Contest: Mosaic (MOS)
Investor: Charles Payne
Charles Payne brings his considerable experience to bear in the Best Stocks contest again, and this time he has chosen to back Mosaic Co (NYSE:MOS).
Mosaic is the biggest producer of concentrated phosphate and potash in the world — and that industry looks poised to make a serious comeback in 2018 as agriculture is growing. Payne writes:
“I suspect a lot of this is driven by demand for farm-to-table and organic groceries, and that trend should continue to drive pricing power in 2018. The world’s population is only growing and America continues to take on a larger percentage to feed.”
More food means more demand for MOS stock’s products, which can only mean good things for investors in 2018.
Best Stocks for 2018 Contest: Nvidia (NVDA)
Investor: Louis Navellier
Louis Navellier, one of Wall Street’s renowned growth investors with an exceptional long-term track record, decided to double down on Nvidia Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA). It did really well for him in 2017, and he thinks there’s every chance it continues to outperform in 2018.
For instance, he points out that in the fourth quarter, “The analyst community is looking for 22.4% annual sales growth and 16.2% annual earnings growth. And analysts are constantly upping earnings per share estimates. Estimates have been revised more than 17% higher in the past month alone!”
Nvidia is working closely with auto manufacturers and has its hand in AI. The future still looks bright for this computer graphics company.
Best Stocks for 2018 Contest: Market Vectors Rare Earth ETF (REMX)
Investor: John Jagerson and Wade Hansen
When considering the potential best stocks for 2018, John Jagerson and Wade Hansen picked the Vaneck Vectors Rare Earth Strategic Metals ETF (NYSEARCA:REMX) based on the strength of demand for the lithium produced by many of its top holdings.
This exchange-traded fund gives them a great position on the sector, which is roaring thanks to increasing demand for electric vehicles. As they wrote, “According to a forecast from JPMorgan Chase, automotive demand for lithium is expected to grow by 35% each year through 2021.”
Sounds as though this ETF could have its foot on the gas through 2018.
Best Stocks for 2018 Contest: Smucker (SJM)
Investor: Hilary Kramer
Successful author and equity analyst Hilary Kramer hopes to find sweet success with maker of fruit spreads, coffees and other such foodstuffs J M Smucker Co (NYSE:SJM).
Kramer says that the market should realize that SJM stock is a great value prospect, saying:
“What you’re getting is a $13 billion company that trades at a significant discount to the market as a whole — barely 14.7X anticipated forward earnings, compared to 18.3X on the S&P 500 — and pays a significant 2.65% dividend.”
Smucker should also see some serious help from President Donald Trump’s tax plan as well. It looks like SJM has a serious shot at being one of the best stocks next year.
Best Stocks for 2018 Contest: Twitter (TWTR)
Investor: Jason Moser
Some people might be surprised to see Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) on this list, but Moser, a senior analyst for The Motley Fool’s flagship real-money portfolio service, Million Dollar Portfolio, sees positive changes at the social media company.
“Recent releases such as doubling the character count to 280 as well as threads show that there are no sacred cows and that leadership is quite open to change when the data support it,” he pointed out.
All in all, Twitter’s not only not dead yet, it has a path forward and it could be setting the stage for a run to the top of the best stocks for 2018.
Jessica Loder is an assistant editor for InvestorPlace.com. As of this writing, she did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.