The stock market was scorching higher in January, a move that didn’t pan out well when the S&P 500 fell by roughly 10% in 10 days in February. Slowly but surely though, the stock market has clawed back those losses and is now hovering near all-time highs. It’s left investors wondering, “what are the best stocks to invest in now?”
That’s not as easy of a question to answer given that many stocks have posted large moves over the past few weeks or months, and they too are hovering near all-time highs. No one wants to buy the top in any security.
So here are a few of the best stocks to invest in now, based on the current market. Not all of them will fit every investors’ portfolio needs, but they are at least worth a look.
Best Stocks to Invest In Now: Bank of America (BAC)
Will the financial stocks get some love with the two-day Federal Reserve meeting coming up late this month? It could be a buy the rumor, sell the news event. Meaning that, with anticipation of a rate hike later this month, the banks might rally into the event.
Either way, you can make a case for owning Bank of America (NYSE:BAC). The company has great growth and a solid valuation in a rising rate environment. On top of that, it’s operating against an economic backdrop that is humming right along. American businesses are strong, and so too are its consumers.
Specifically, BAC trades at just 12 times this year’s earnings, which are forecast to grow 38%. For 2019, estimates call for 14% growth. On the sales front, analysts are looking for 3% and 4.7% growth this year and next year, respectively.
With solid growth and a low valuation, it’s hard to dislike BAC here.
Best Stocks to Invest In Now: JPMorgan (JPM)
We have to stick with the financials for our next stock. They’re simply too hard to dislike and JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) is one of the best.
Like BAC, JPM trades at about 12 times this year’s earnings. Analysts expect 31% earnings growth this year and 9% next year. On the revenue front, they expect sales to grow 7.4% this year and 4.5% in 2019.
All of these are respectable figures, particularly given the valuation here. But what makes JPMorgan even more attractive is its capital allocation. In late-June, JPMorgan boosted its annual dividend by more than 40% to $3.20 per share. That gives the stock a respectable 2.8% yield.
Double-digit earnings growth, a low valuation and near-3% yield makes it hard not to like JPMorgan. Throw in the fact that it can repurchase $20.7 billion worth of stock between now and June 30, 2019 and it’s even better.
The one snag with the financials? The shrinking spread between long-term debt and short-term debt. As the yield curve flattens, it’s harder for the banks to make money. We’ll have to keep an eye on this going into the fourth quarter.
Best Stocks to Invest In Now: Home Depot (HD)
Home Depot (NYSE:HD) is finally getting some respect. It’s the only retailer I know that can grow both earnings and sales without opening new locations and report monster same-store sales…and see its stock decline.
On Tuesday, shares made a clean breakout. If we can get any kind of hesitation or pullback in the stock, but see that prior breakout zone hold, HD could set up as a big-time buy.
As we just said about the banks, the consumer is strong and the economy is doing well. People are putting money into their houses and contractors are back to work. If you’ve been to a Home Depot or a Lowe’s (NYSE:LOW) over the past few months, then you know what I mean. The stores are a madhouse on the weekend.
HD is humming and there’s no reason to bet against it right now. Last quarter, same-store sales grew 8%, ahead of the 6.5% estimate. Management boosted its full-year revenue guidance to +7%, while the underlying metrics continue to look strong.
If the breakout fails, investors should wait for a better chance. But for now, as long as that level holds, HD is a buy.
Best Stocks to Invest In Now: Box (BOX)
As long as you know going in that Box (NASDAQ:BOX) almost always sells off post-earnings, then you’ll be fine.
Other than that, this company is doing great. The momentum in the cloud continues and as has been my long-time belief, that momentum will continue going forward. Sporting a market cap of just $3.6 billion, Box has upside on its own or potential of being acquired.
Revenue estimates call for 20% growth this year and next year, along with positive earnings per share results next year.
In the most recent quarter, BOX beat on earnings and revenue expectations. It’s also free-cash flow positive over the trailing 12 months, a metric that continues to climb. Detractors will point to Box being unprofitable, but that didn’t stop many of the market’s greatest performing stocks in years past. I don’t expect it to stop Box, either.
$24 was a big breakout level that Box is now below. Conservative bulls can wait for Box to move back over this mark. Bulls can also consider buying now, hoping that this $23 to $24 range acts as support, along with the 200-day.