10 Best Blue-Chip Stocks for Mid-Career Investors

These names offer a reasonable balance between reliability and growth

By James Brumley, InvestorPlace Feature Writer

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Workers in their 30s and 40s often find themselves in tricky situations, career-wise. They’re certainly beyond their trainee days, but not yet in positions only awarded to employees with a wealth of experience and proven acumen. It’s in this time of life when workers find themselves on a clear path to some sort of senior position, or realize it’s just not going to happen.

Investment portfolios for this mid-career crowd are also at critical junctures. With retirement in sight and gains on past contributions starting to mean more than the contributions of new funds do, this crowd has to aim for a balance between safety and growth.

With that as the backdrop, here’s a look at ten blue-chip stocks to buy if you’re around the age of 40. They’re not the wild gambles you can afford to take in your 20’s, but they’re not a complete abandonment of growth either. Perhaps best of all, they’re names that don’t require constant baby-sitting, letting mid-career investors focus on other things like work, kids and aging parents.

Best-Blue Chip Stocks for Mid-Career Investors:

google stock
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Alphabet (GOOGL)

Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has recently been criticized for the ever-shrinking price of clicks that it sells. The western world’s biggest search engine is now on the receiving end of political and social scrutiny, as it’s not entirely clear it’s performing a public service in a fair, unbiased way.

But the funny thing is, Google continues to grow the top and bottom line. Not once in the past ten years has its trailing-twelve-month revenue tally turned negative, and its operating income has grown almost as reliably.

The fact of the matter is, Alphabet’s Google practically owns the most lucrative part of the web, criticisms or not. And, even though technology has turned increasingly mobile, Alphabet has proven it dominates that market too. Globally, 88% of smartphones are powered by its Android operating system.

Blue-Chip Stocks for Mid-Career Investors:

Amazon
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Cardinal Health (CAH)

The past several years have been tough ones for the healthcare sector. Already facing pushback for a sheer lack of affordability and inefficiency, the well-intended introduction of the Affordable Care Act may have only made things worse. Now desperate, providers of all sorts are scrambling to forge partnerships that will cull costs… saving they can pass along to consumers.

On the surface, that trend would appear to be problematic for an outfit like Cardinal Health (NYSE:CAH). Cardinal Health is, in simplest terms, a middleman.

Under the surface though, the healthcare industry has become such a logistical nightmare that hospitals have to lean on the experts to find much-needed efficiencies. That’s what last quarter’s results suggest anyway. Operating earnings of $1.01 per share handily beat expectations of 93 cents, with the bottom line being boosted by healthy revenue growth of 7%.

Blue-Chip Stocks for Mid-Career Investors:

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Walmart (WMT)

Admittedly, Walmart (NYSE:WMT) has had its problems in the past. Along with the ugly reality that it let Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) flourish into a monster-sized competitor right under its nose, the company’s faced inventory and customer service challenges.

Time and deep pockets, however, have turned Walmart back into a beast in its own right… a beast that could remain alive for decades now that it’s got a firm footing.

Chief among those evolutions, of course, is the creation of an e-commerce machine that truly can rival Amazon’s. While last quarter’s 40% improvement in the company’s e-commerce revenue is a head-turner, just as compelling is the quality of the websites it’s incubating after acquiring them. Its Moosejaw venue for instance — already a premium brand — added to its upscale scratch by adding products from Eddie Bauer and Patagonia. The strategy appears to be working.

Blue-Chip Stocks for Mid-Career Investors:

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Adobe Systems (ADBE)

If you think Adobe Systems (NASDAQ:ADBE) is just PDFs and photo-editing software, think again. It’s much, much more than that now. The company has become a full-blown business software provider without any real peers, making it one of the top stocks to invest in for the 40-ish crowd.

It’s called Experience Cloud, offering business access to a stunningly-detailed amount of useful data about their customers. The end result is a custom-built customer ‘experience’ that maximizes satisfaction and minimizes friction. Online, offline, pre-purchase and post-purchase, Adobe offers businesses a way to connect with customers that wasn’t even imaginable just a few years ago, without those customers even realizing all that’s happening for their benefit behind the scenes.

The real upside for ADBE shareholders is that Adobe’s platforms are increasingly cloud-based subscriptions, which translates into recurring revenue. As of last quarter, 90% of the company’s revenue is subscription-based, making Adobe a cash machine built to last. It also makes it one of the market’s top blue-chip stocks to buy.

Blue-Chip Stocks for Mid-Career Investors:

Time to Buy Microsoft Corporation Amid Tech Stock Rout?
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Microsoft (MSFT)

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) isn’t cheap by anybody’s standards. But, sometimes you have to pay for quality. Microsoft is worth the premium.

The company needs no introduction. It’s the maker of the world’s most popular computer operating system, though it’s hardly wholly dependent on its PC software business any longer. The company also does a lot of cloud computing business, leveraging the power of its Azure platform, and video gaming is becoming a pretty big deal too. It’s even wading into artificial intelligence waters, perhaps without even fully knowing what sort of products or services its AI work may bear.

The end results is a highly-diversified (and proven) company that’s prepared for a variety of possible futures.

The trailing P/E of 28.9 and forward-looking P/E of 26.2 is a big pill for some investors to swallow, but that’s the going price for reliable growth.

Blue-Chip Stocks for Mid-Career Investors:

This Is Your Last Chance to Buy Nvidia Corporation (NVDA) Stock
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Nvidia (NVDA)

While Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD) has admittedly stolen the show of late within the computer hardware arena, a bit of context is needed. AMD’s stocks recent rally is the result of a turnaround few expected to see take shape. Although it does appear AMD is cutting into market share once owned by rival CPU maker Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), it’s still playing second-fiddle to Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) on the GPU front.

Nvidia is apt to keep that lead too, and not necessarily just because video gamers and high-performance computer users still prefer Nvidia’s graphic cards. Nvidia has become the go-to provider of artificial intelligence computing hardware, tweaking its graphics cards into an off-the-shelf AI product.

Given that we’ve only scratched the surface of artificial intelligence, and that the AI hardware market alone could be worth more than $100 billion per year by 2025, Nvidia is well-positioned for growth.

Blue-Chip Stocks for Mid-Career Investors:

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American Tower (AMT)

Don’t sweat it if you haven’t heard of American Tower (NYSE:AMT). Many investors haven’t. It’s in the background, so to speak, though if it ever pulled the plug on the service it provides the world would most definitely notice its absence.

American Tower, in short, owns and operates 170,000 cell phone towers, spread out all over the world. Given how dependent we’ve become on our mobile devices, it’s difficult to imagine there ever not being a market for such a service. Indeed, the advent of the Internet of Things and the ongoing proliferation smartphones will fan the flames of steady growth for American Tower.

Better still, American Tower is structured as a REIT, making it a tax-advantaged way for the company to dish out the dividend it’s paying.

Blue-Chip Stocks for Mid-Career Investors:

Mastercard (MA)

One would think a payment-processing middleman like Mastercard (NYSE:MA) wouldn’t be reliable enough to be named as a blue-chip stock a mid-career investor could tuck away for the long haul. Aside from facing brutal credit card competition, it’s also dealing with more peer-to-peer competitors like PayPal (NASDAQ:PYPL). Never even mind its cyclical risk.

The thing is, Mastercard’s sales and profit growth trends sailed through 2008’s subprime mortgage crisis like it wasn’t even happening.

And as for competition, Mastercard has risen to the occasion, and will continue to do so. While most investors and not even most Mastercard users don’t realize it, the company has an entire division — called Mastercard Labs — devoted to innovation. This arm has improved the company’s capacity to make buying and selling groceries easier, created an identity-check app, and even come up with a food-ordering platform.

It’s got staying power.

Blue-Chip Stocks for Mid-Career Investors:

For AMBA Stock, the Future Can’t Come Soon Enough
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Qorvo (QRVO)

Qorvo (NASDAQ:QRVO) isn’t a name many investors are familiar with, if they’ve heard of it at all. It’s safe to say, however, that like American Tower, if Qorvo were to suddenly close shop, the world would quickly take notice.

The company makes a variety of transistors, Internet of Things controllers, amplifiers, modulators, capacitors and more… all of the little pieces you see attached to a circuit board, but are never quite sure what they do. Suffice it to say if they weren’t attached, your electronic devices wouldn’t function like they do.

Sexy? Not in the least. But the company’s got a reliably marketable product lineup, and that’s enough to maintain steady growth. Sales are on pace to grow a little more than 9% this year, and a little more than 8% next year. It’s not red hot, but it’s consistent progress.

Blue-Chip Stocks for Mid-Career Investors:

merck stock
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Merck (MRK)

Last but not least, add Merck (NYSE:MRK) to the list of blue-chip stocks to buy if you’re in your 30’s or 40’s.

It’s not a name that needs an introduction. Merck has been around in a form we would recognize for well over a hundred years, and barring any unforeseeable events, should be around for at least another hundred. From vaccines to cancer treatments to animal health products, the company’s got a wide foundation that provides a firm, stable foundation.

That’s not to suggest the company is always making forward progress. Between 2012 and 2015 Merck fell off the same patent cliff many other drugmakers did, leading to a prolonged period of declining sales. Singulair was its big loss, though hardly the only one. In some regards though, that pain provided an important lesson for Merck — don’t get lazy with your pipeline. The cultivation of its Keytruda cancer drug, built around the relatively recent understanding of a cell protein called PDL1, says the company’s being proactive again.

As of this writing, James Brumley did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. You can follow him on Twitter, at @jbrumley.


Article printed from InvestorPlace Media, https://investorplace.com/2018/09/10-best-blue-chip-stocks-for-mid-career-investors/.

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