September was tough, as many top stocks suffered. The trend is nothing new, as September is historically one of the worst months for the stock market.
Still, knowing you’re in the middle of a long-time marker cycle isn’t reassuring and peripheral factors like inflation and interest rates could keep the downward momentum going.
But that might not be the case for these ten top stocks to watch. Each of these top stocks has an aspect that makes it a viable addition to your portfolio as we close out 2023.
Being skittish or nervous about stocks’ prospects for the rest of the year is understandable, but remember the saying, “buy when there’s blood in the streets.” Now is plenty bloody, making today a good time to position your portfolio for 2024.
Nintendo (NTDOY, NTDOF)
In September, Nintendo stock saw three major news catalysts. First, and least consequential, tech investor Kevin Rose plugged the stock on a podcast episode. His thesis centered on the company’s IP. It focused on digging up old toy and gaming properties to monetize via film.
Rose’s thesis is sound, as Nintendo owns and could license hundreds of properties that are untapped in film.
But then things got weird. First, a rumor leaked that Nintendo and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG, NASDAQ:GOOGL) were teaming up to create a next-gen virtual reality console leveraging Google’s acquired micro-LED tech.
That rumor remains unconfirmed, but, the next week, leaked court documents revealed that Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) was seriously considering an expansive partnership with Nintendo – or even an acquisition.
Despite all the sentiment, Nintendo stock fell about 2% in September because none of these partnerships are confirmed. But Nintendo’s IP catalog licensing opportunity is undeniable, making it a viable long-term investment. If even a fraction of the reported partnership plans pan out, Q4 2023 could be a huge turning point for Nintendo stock.
Sharkninja (NYSE:SN) blew markets away in September, rising 30% over the same period the S&P 500 fell almost 5%. But, shockingly, Sharkninja’s runaway performance went largely unreported, making it among the top stocks to buy before everyone else does.
The consumer discretionary stock makes, markets, and sells a variety of home appliance products. The stock hit the market in late July after a spin-off from its prior owner, and shares have flown 70% since its debut.
With that kind of performance, it’s understandable if you think that Sharkninja won’t maintain its momentum.
But that might not be the case, as Sharkninja remains one of the top stocks in its sector.
The company has consistently grown, expanding sales by 20% annually since 2008. Its growth shows customer brand loyalty and implies consumers see the products as a need rather than a luxury.
Research firm Jefferies pegs Sharkninja’s fair price at $67 per share, 45% higher than today. So, despite its flyaway performance, Sharkninja still has room to run.
Palantir Technologies (PLTR)
Palantir (NYSE:PLTR), unfairly maligned as a meme stock, is having a great year, although it remains well below its 2021 pricing.
The stock is up 150% since January, and a slew of new contract prospects make it one of the top stocks to watch in the artificial intelligence space.
The company seems positioned to snag a $590 million contract with the UK’s health service. This rumor follows on the heels of a confirmed $250 million US Army contract to deliver artificial intelligence solutions to the military branch.
These deals and more will help Palantir finish strong in 2023. The company’s riding on the heels of three consecutive profitable quarters, showing that the tides have finally turned for Palantir – making it a meme stock no longer.
And, while this news alone shouldn’t influence your position considering her current track record, Cathie Wood is loading back up on Palantir and bought more than one million new shares in September.
If nothing else, renewed interest across the market based on Palantir’s growing strength will capture investor attention and bring the stock back into mainstream consciousness.
General Motors (GM)
General Motors (NYSE:GM) could go either way in Q4 2023, but it is one of the top stocks to watch for that exact reason.
Without rehashing the lengthy history, GM and other car companies face substantial pressure from labor unions amid ongoing strikes and shutdowns.
While labor negotiations undeniably benefit the workers keeping the company afloat, shutdowns hurt GM’s bottom line. From that perspective, GM could limp through the rest of the year if negotiations stall or terms don’t favor the manufacturer.
Shutdowns let GM buy precious time to reevaluate and realign their electric vehicle goals. After ambitious delivery guarantees, GM saw supply chain struggles, threatening to slash their planned production in half.
As worker strikes make development impossible even with parts on hand, GM can take a breather and work to fix its fundamental logistics trouble deliberately.
Either way, assuming GM doesn’t go totally bust from the strikes, the stock is strong long-term. GM is the second-largest electric vehicle producer nationally, and the largest union shop producer.
In a best-case scenario, workers and owners come to the table and reaffirm GM’s commitment to labor rights. This puts the top electric vehicle producer, Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA), in a sticky position considering past labor-based criticisms.
There’s a big group of consumers who like both labor unions and electric vehicles. GM could turn the strikes into a major win against its primary competitor if it plays its cards right.
iShares 20 Plus Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT)
Expense ratio: 0.15%, or $15 annually on a $10,000 investment
Okay, iShares 20 Plus Year Treasury Bond ETF (NASDAQ:TLT) is an ETF, but it’s worth adding to this list of top stocks.
Holding a basket of long-term US Treasury bonds, this ETF will be a major player for the rest of the year.
Long-term bonds and TLT, by extension, are nearing multi-decade lows as rising interest rates push bond pricing downward. The Fed has already affirmed that rates will remain higher for longer, contributing to this year’s bond bear market.
But money is flowing into TLT at an unprecedented rate. The ETF has enjoyed more than $15 billion in cash flowing into the fund since January despite lackluster performance.
This means that, as soon as even moderately dovish news comes from the Fed, long-term bonds and TLT will rally – hard. Past performance is never a guarantee of future potential, and the truism applies particularly to bonds in an era of constant monetary meddling.
Even a whiff of rate pauses could cause TLT to skyrocket. Just be prepared for further pain until then if you buy now.
iShares 0-3 Month Treasury Bond ETF (SGOV)
Expense ratio: 0.13%, or $13 annually on a $10,000 investment
Yes, iShares 0-3 Month Treasury Bond ETF (NYSEARCA:SGOV) invests exclusively in short-term, zero-coupon US Treasurys.
Today, the yield curve remains inverted, meaning shorter-term Treasurys have higher yields than long-term ones (it’s usually the opposite). This inversion is why your savings account is doing so well.
Your bank is simply taking your deposit and sticking it into short-term Treasury bills, much like SGOV, but there’s a caveat between the two.
Your savings account interest is taxed as federal and state income. Actual US Treasurys are exempt from state taxes. If you aren’t comfortable laddering bonds yourself, SGOV is a great alternative to generate yield on the cash you’re keeping on the sidelines.
Aside from the tax issue, savings accounts are fine. But you’re also forking over a portion of the yield to the bank for managing the account. But, with a 5.34% SEC yield, SGOV is the best overall alternative to your savings account and one of the top stocks to buy now.
Tilray Brands (TLRY)
Tilray Brands (NASDAQ:TLRY) is announcing earnings this week, and the news from its investor call could make it a major stock to watch for the rest of 2023.
While analysts aren’t optimistic about the actual earnings, news from the report could send shares skyrocketing.
Specifically, some expect management to address the cannabis company’s recent planned acquisition of eight craft beer brands from Anheuser-Busch (NYSE:BUD). The deal hasn’t closed yet, but reports indicate it will by year’s end.
If management confirms a deal date and indicates their future plans for the beer brands, shares could go stratospheric quickly.
Besides the obvious benefits from new revenue sources, remember that Tilray is also buying a slew of distribution routes and logistic capabilities.
So, while Tilray can enjoy new cash from the craft beer industry, they’re also positioning themselves for inevitable legalization.
Legalization isn’t yet here, and won’t be by year’s end. But legalization is all but inevitable. If Tilray’s earnings indicate some concrete plans and potential, investors will likely snap shares up to get ahead of the potential windfall early.
Onto Innovation (ONTO)
Artificial exuberance may be waning, but Onto Innovation (NYSE:ONTO) is one company to watch that will keep riding the wave no matter which specific semiconductor company wins out.
Onto offers a range of testing and proofing solutions for semiconductors and related peripherals, critical when even a microscopic flaw can crush millions of dollars worth of products.
Onto also services multiple production firms, including Nividia (NASDAQ:NVDA), which means it has a place in the industry no matter which major firm wins the AI arms race.
In a recent development, Onto Innovation made headlines by announcing a substantial order package valued at $100 million for its cutting-edge Dragonfly G3 inspection system.
This advanced system is designed to detect minuscule, sub-micron defects in semiconductor chips. Onto has reported a surge in orders, primarily driven by the growing demand for AI-powered GPUs and technology stacks.
Notably, the global GPU market boasted a valuation of approximately $2.4 billion last year. Beyond that, industry experts expect a staggering 35% CAGR that could propel the market to a staggering net worth of $25.5 billion by 2030.
This opportunity makes Onto a stock to watch as artificial intelligence developments accelerate.
This warehouse retail company is a top stock to watch for the rest of the year and beyond.
The bulk product behemoth embodies an investor-friendly stock. With an impressive 23% return on capital and a remarkable 150% surge in stock value over the past five years, Costco’s ascent began amidst the chaos of the pandemic.
But even as that event waned, Costco proved its mettle, solidifying its position as a consumer essential amid worsening economic conditions.
In the face of a challenging economic landscape characterized by rampant inflation in 2022, Costco achieved a remarkable 7% growth in membership last year.
This surge in new customer signups underscores the retail titan’s unmatched appeal to budget-conscious consumers seeking value-driven options.
Costco’s unwavering commitment to its customer base is a bulwark of member loyalty.
Despite persistent calls from various quarters to raise membership fees, Costco’s Chief Financial Officer pointed to inflationary pressures and tightening household budgets as valid reasons to maintain fee levels.
Even under shareholder pressure, Costco’s steadfast dedication to its core values exemplifies its commitment to its guiding principles.
WeWork (NYSE:WE) is a bit of a contrarian call, but this office-sharing company could be a top stock to watch if the stars align in its favor.
You doubtlessly know the (many) trials and tribulations facing WeWork. Questionable acquisitions, weird forays into childhood education, and more all served to make WeWork a distracted, spastic, and unfocused firm operationally.
These factors, and the pandemic, brought the stock to its knees.
WeWork’s core value proposition is valid and critical to worker well-being and productivity. Workers may have left the corporate office, but still seek a distraction-free alternative to sitting at home.
If major backers acquire WeWork, it’ll save the firm financially. But those institutional investors could bring focus and expertise to WeWork. That could realign WeWork with its core selling point instead of offshoots that waste time and money.
Investing in WeWork is a gamble. Nothing could come from the rumored acquisition. The company could go bankrupt, and others build a new firm from its ashes. But with today’s share price as low as it is and a 0.02 price-to-sales ratio, the upside potential far outweighs the comparatively little risk.
On the date of publication, Jeremy Flint held no positions in the securities mentioned. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.