Want solid returns you can depend on? Here are stocks we love

Sure, traders can make a fast profit. But many people following the money on Reddit with their Robinhood accounts are engaging in speculative, risky behavior. This isn’t long-term investing a la Warren Buffett and others.

So if you’re looking to generate solid returns in a longer-term portfolio — something you can depend on — then you need to do some good old-fashioned fundamental analysis to find stocks with solid growth potential that are trading at a reasonable price.

That’s why CNN Business runs a stock screen around Valentine’s Day to identify some of the stocks that you can count on year in and year out.

Last year’s list included Facebook (FB), Take-Two Interactive (TTWO) and Dollar General (DG) among five others.

This year, we’ve found eight other stocks that should satisfy a sweet tooth for safety and stability.

Google/Alphabet (GOOGL (GOOG)): Alphabet shares are near an all-time high thanks to booming demand for search and video advertising. YouTube remains dominant, despite antitrust concerns and allegations that it (and other social media firms) have helped spread misinformation.
But the numbers don’t lie. Alphabet is expected to continue to post healthy gains in earnings and revenue from its core business as well as its rapidly growing Google Cloud platform, which competes with Microsoft (MSFT) and Amazon (AMZN).
Analog Devices (ADI (ADI)): Analog Devices makes chips used in phones, cars and many different types of industrial equipment.
The company is already an industry leader in these rapidly growing segments. But it’s about to become an even bigger player in supplying chips for 5G networks and communications devices, thanks to its pending purchase of rival Maxim Integrated Products (MXIM) for more than $20 billion.
Regeneron (REGN (REGN)): This biotech has been on the news thanks to its treatment for Covid-19. Former President Trump received the company’s drug cocktail when he was diagnosed with coronavirus last year.
Regeneron’s drug has been given emergency use approval by the US Food and Drug Administration for Covid-19 patients. But the rapidly growing company also is generating strong growth from drugs it makes to treat various cancers as well as inflammatory diseases.
Pulte (PHM (PHM)): The housing market is showing no signs of slowing down. And that’s great news for builders like Pulte, which does construction in hot real estate markets such as Arizona, California, Florida and North Carolina.
Interest rates remain low, which keeps mortgages affordable for borrowers — even as housing prices continue to soar thanks to many people looking to buy bigger houses in the suburbs. Rival builder D.R. Horton (DHI), which was on the 2020 Stocks to Love list, made it through our screening process again this year.
CBRE (CBRE (CBRE)): Despite the pandemic, some experts are betting on a comeback for commercial real estate. And several companies, such as leading office real estate firm CBRE, are already doing well. The company said in a recent report that Silicon Valley continues to be a strong market for office space, thanks in large part to the tech boom.

Healthy demand from pandemic-era online shopping is good news for commercial real estate too. CBRE said last month that demand for industrial buildings of all sizes last year was higher than in 2019 but that the most activity was for so-called mega-distribution facilities of 1 million square feet or more used for e-commerce warehouses.

JB Hunt (JBHT (JBHT)): Keep on truckin’! Increased freight volume is good news for logistics company JB Hunt. Solid demand for food and medical equipment deliveries during the pandemic helped boost revenue and profits during the end of 2020.
JB Hunt is also embracing the future of transportation, announcing last month that it plans to test hydrogen fuel cell trucks from GM (GM) and Navistar (NAV) starting in 2022. That news follows JB Hunt’s trial run using a Daimler (DDAIF) electric truck for a delivery of goods for Walmart (WMT) last year.
Ollie’s Bargain Outlet (OLLI (OLLI)): Deep discounter Ollie’s is resonating with consumers — and investors. The company caters to people looking for big bargains and the strategy has been a successful one. Ollie’s, which specializes in so-called closeout merchandise, is a dream destination for consumers on a budget.
Sales at stores open at least a year surged more than 15% in its most recent quarter. And Ollie’s has taken advantage of the uncertain retail environment to grow its brand further. The retailer bought a dozen old Toys R Us locations following that chain’s bankruptcy.
Sleep Number (SNBR (SNBR)): If you’re looking for a stock that can help you sleep well at night, this might be the one, literally. The popular maker of high-end adjustable mattresses and beds has consistently posted strong earnings and sales.
Analysts expect the momentum to continue as well, with Wall Street experts forecasting an average annual earnings increase of 20% for the next few years. That’s a big reason why Sleep Number stock has outperformed rivals Tempur Sealy (TPX) and Casper (CSPR) over the past 12 months.

And isn’t a great night’s sleep the most precious commodity in these trying times?

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