The stock market has been sloppy this year. We are not in a broad-based rally where a rising tide is lifting all boats. Instead, we’re seeing some stocks climb while others languish or fall to new lows. However, a select few stocks to buy have been outperforming to a large degree, posting huge gains and hitting one all-time high after another.
These stocks seem unstoppable and many of them are defying the expectations of both Wall Street and Main Street investors. People lucky enough to have these stocks in their portfolio are enjoying big gains despite the uneven stock market that is seeing money rotate in and out of value and growth securities.
If you’re looking to power up your portfolio, consider these seven unstoppable stocks to buy:
- Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA)
- Square (NYSE:SQ)
- Nike (NYSE:NKE)
- Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA)
- Cloudflare (NYSE:NET)
- Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD)
- Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS)
Stocks to Buy: Moderna (MRNA)
Boston-based biotech company Moderna has been a runaway train. MRNA stock rose 96% in one month and is up more than 250% year-to-date (YTD). It reached a recent high above $480 per share and has since fallen to a price around $383.
That makes Moderna one of the best-performing stocks in the S&P 500 Index so far in 2021. By comparison, the S&P 500 is up 18% through the first seven months of this year. And despite a drop from its recent high, MRNA stock has shown few signs of slowing down. In the past month, the company’s stock has risen about 65%.
There appear to have been several catalysts for the mammoth gains in MRNA stock. The stock’s recent addition to the S&P 500 index and stellar quarterly results have given it a boost. Additionally, clinical trials that show Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine is effective against the highly contagious Delta variant of the respiratory disease. The company is also raising the price it charges for its Covid-19 inoculations.
All of these factors have propelled Moderna’s stock higher. However, its rise has also resulted in several recent downgrades by analysts who are screaming that it is now grossly overvalued.
The median price target on MRNA stock is $271.50 per share, which would imply a 29% decline from its current share price. But while the price has decreased considerably from its recent high, MRNA stock has several catalysts in its favor and is still on a bullish trend. The dip may even be a buying opportunity for investors.
Financial technology (fintech) company Square is another stock that can do no wrong lately. SQ stock has risen nearly 15% in the past month and is up 25% YTD to about $270 per share. Its recent boost came after the company reported strong quarterly results and announced it is buying Australian fintech company Afterpay in a $29 billion all-stock deal. The deal should close in early 2022.
Afterpay allows its 16 million customers to pay for items in four interest-free installments. They pay a fee only if they miss a payment. After the deal is completed, customers will be able to manage these payments directly through Square’s equally-popular Cash App.
Wall Street’s reaction to the Afterpay deal was euphoric. Analysts praised Square for moving into installment loans that are popular with people age 35 and younger.
Additionally, Square has announced that it is building a Bitcoin hardware wallet. The company’s goal is to “make Bitcoin custody more mainstream,” according to Square hardware lead Jesse Dorogusker.
The company’s continued forays into cryptocurrency are also winning it new customers and praise from retail traders. The median price target on SQ stock calls for the company’s share price to move above $300 within the next 12 months.
Stocks to Buy: Nike (NKE)
Sneaker and athletic apparel giant Nike’s share price has been running hot lately. NKE stock jumped 15% the day it released its latest quarterly results in June and has risen almost 7% over the past month. Year-to-date, the company’s shares are up more than 20% at about $172 a piece.
Wall Street liked Nike’s full-year sales guidance that forecasts the company’s revenue will exceed $50 billion. The optimistic outlook comes as Nike’s North American business rebounds from the global pandemic.
A minimum of 12 brokerages raised their price targets on Nike shares immediately after its quarterly release. The median price target for NKE stock on CNN Business is now $181.50 with a high estimate of $214 per share. The median target implies a 5% increase even after the company’s recent bull run.
Nike is also scoring points for continuing to push its digital sales to new heights. In its latest earnings, the Beaverton, Oregon-based company reported its digital sales were up 41% year-over-year (YOY) and rose 147% compared to the same quarter in 2019.
Most stocks take a breather after they split, but not Nvidia. The Santa Clara-based semiconductor and graphics processing unit (GPU) developer has seen its share price increase 10% since NVDA stock completed a 4-to-1 split on July 20. So far this year, the stock has climbed nearly 50% higher on a split-adjusted basis to a price of $196.48.
Many analysts feel the company has further room to run in the coming months. Analysts at Citigroup, Argus and Oppenheimer Holdings each raised their share price target for Nvidia stock recently, with Argus slapping a $230 target and a “buy” rating on the stock.
Nvidia’s bull run comes despite the continued worldwide shortage of semiconductors and microchips. Also, the company is still trying to finalize its $40 billion acquisition of British microchip designer Arm. Regulators in the United Kingdom are considering blocking the deal on national security grounds.
Whether that will actually happen remains to be seen. But the regulatory hurdles have not been enough to hold back NVDA stock, which continues to chug higher despite the headwinds the company faces.
Stocks to Buy: Cloudflare (NET)
San Francisco-based Cloudflare is the little engine that could among cybersecurity firms. While smaller than rivals such as CrowdStrike (NASDAQ:CRWD) and NortonLifeLock (NASDAQ:NLOK), Cloudflare’s stock has managed to put together an excellent run this year.
Through the first seven months of 2021, NET stock has gained 51% and now changes hands for $118 per share. Since July 1, the company’s stock has risen more than 10% and given no indications of cooling off.
NET stock has been on an upward trajectory since mid-May when the U.S. was hit with several high-profile cyberattacks. Since the country’s energy and agriculture sectors were targeted, Cloudflare’s stock has run up more than 75%.
Investors appear to be banking on strong demand for Cloudflare’s website security among individuals, major corporations and government agencies. The median price target on the company’s stock is $130, suggesting a further 5% gain from here.
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD)
After years of underperforming, shares of semiconductor company Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) have finally broken out in a big way. After languishing between $70 and $90 for most of this year, AMD stock has vaulted nearly 18% higher in the past month. It now sits just below $110 per share.
The stock rose as high as $122.49 on Aug. 4 before pulling back. For AMD shareholders who have been waiting patiently for the stock to breakout, the last month has been fantastic.
The company’s second quarter results trounced Wall Street expectations and pushed AMD stock to new heights. The company’s pending acquisition of Xilinx (NASDAQ:XLNX), which is expected to close by the end of this year, has also boosted its stock price.
Once the Xilinx purchase is finalized, many analysts expect AMD shares to run even higher as the company increases efficiency and grabs market share. And, as with its rival Nvidia, the global semiconductor shortage appears to be nothing more than a speed bump for AMD.
Stocks to Buy: Goldman Sachs (GS)
Nothing stops Goldman Sachs. The leading Wall Street investment bank manages to make money and post record profits in every type of market. Likewise, GS stock continues to reach new highs.
The bank’s share price just breached the $400 level and is now up 54% YTD. In the past month, the stock has run up 11% during its latest breakout. The New York-based investment firm tends to lead the charge for shares of all U.S. lenders.
Goldman Sachs’ second quarter earnings were yet another victory lap for the company. The bank posted revenue of $15.39 billion compared to $12.17 billion as expected by analysts. It saw earnings per share (EPS) of $15.02 versus the $10.24 EPS that had been anticipated by Wall Street. A year earlier, the company’s EPS was $6.26.
While Goldman Sachs’ trading business slowed, its investment banking segment made up for it with a boost from its equity underwriting business. Again, Goldman Sachs finds a way.
The median price target on GS stock is $425 per share, implying a further 3% gain from its current level. The high target on the stock is $533.
On the date of publication, Joel Baglole held long positions in C, SQ, NVDA and NET. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.
Joel Baglole has been a business journalist for 20 years. He spent five years as a staff reporter at The Wall Street Journal, and has also written for The Washington Post and Toronto Star newspapers, as well as financial websites such as The Motley Fool and Investopedia.