good stocks to buy now
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When considering stocks to buy, sometimes cheaper (and smaller) is better.
Most retail investors are better off taking a pass on those splashy household names and looking for stocks to buy that go for more modest prices - stocks that trade for less than five bucks a share.
Stocks trading for $5 or less often are considered riskier, but offer more upside than their bigger, pricier brethren.
That's because stocks of small companies are less liquid and more volatile relative to the rest of the market. Typically, their prices tend to be move in bigger chunks, making for bigger gains (or losses).
Simply put, these stocks can provide more bang for your buck.
Here's what you need to know...
Why Income Investors Will Love These Preferred Stocks to Buy Now
If you're looking for new types of stocks to buy now to ramp up your portfolio yield, have you considered preferred stocks?
Preferred stocks ("preferreds") trade like regular stock but they are more like bonds in that they provide a higher fixed-dividend payment than their common stock counterparts and they generally have less upside potential.
They're called "preferred" because they have higher claim on the assets and earnings of the company.
Preferred stocks are an oft-overlooked option for snagging income in today's yield-challenged markets, but several preferred stocks in industries like banking, real estate and energy can bring stability to a portfolio. And preferred stocks that have been issued recently in this lower rate environment can provide better value.
A Huge LNG Energy Boom Has Begun
Oh, the law of unintended consequences and the opportunities it brings.
Thanks to the new standard of Keynesian Abenomics, the Nikkei has blasted 47% higher since November. The Yen has lost about 25% against the U.S. dollar in the same time.
While we don't know what the future will hold for these trends, there's something else going on that will not fade quickly: The weak Yen has made imports to Japan a whole lot more expensive...including energy.
Since the Fukishima-Daiichi nuclear disasters in March 2011, Japan has compensated for its offline nuclear power plants by importing copious amounts of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). It was the fastest way to keep electricity output stable in an economy reliant on non-domestic energy suppliers.
Energy now accounts for about one-third of all Japanese imports. In March, those imports were valued at $17 billion Yen for the month. The following month, that number hit $22 billion.
Not surprisingly, in April Japan set a new record for spending on LNG imports. To be sure, a foundering Yen has contributed greatly. But this nation built on exports needs to keep the lights on. If all of Japan's nuclear plants were up and running at capacity, they'd supply 30% of the country's electricity needs. Instead, they account for just 2%.
And Japan is not alone.
How to Invest in the U.S. Natural Gas Revolution
It's no secret America has been in the midst of a natural gas revolution.
The technological advancement of fracking is causing nothing less than a full on shale boom, opening up amazing new profit opportunities if you know how to invest in natural gas - which I'll get to later.
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), shale's share of U.S. oil & gas production will soar over the next 20 years. By 2035, the agency expects as much as 25% of U.S. oil and 50% of U.S. gas production will come from this source alone.
Thanks to the complexity and time involved, fracking a well is expensive, with costs running up to $10 million per well. It also requires a lot of room, a number of vehicles, and sophisticated and powerful equipment to get the job done.
But finding, drilling, and production costs are coming down as efficiencies are being gained. And this phenomenon will accelerate the rate at which supply hits the market.
Since late 2010, the time to drill a Bakken well has fallen dramatically - from 36 to 22 days currently.
Two Turnaround Stocks to Buy Now that Most Investors Will Miss
One style of investing that is underutilized by most investors hunting for stocks to buy is picking up "turnarounds."
You see, we all know investors who have gotten caught up with buying what is popular, at the height of its popularity. The Peter Lynch adage about buying what you know has investors chasing stocks like Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) or Lululemon Athletica Inc. (Nasdaq: LULU) because they like the products regardless of valuation.
Buying stocks of companies that have experienced serious problems and fallen out of favor with Wall Street requires more work and attention than just buying the stocks talked about on TV or around the office - but it can be far more lucrative as well.
A stock that recovers from operational of financial difficulties can soar in price over a few years.
Two Natural Gas Stocks to Buy Now Before the Transportation Revolution
Exploration and drilling for oil in America's newfound shale fields has unleashed a game-changing byproduct - enormous pools of natural gas that could meet the nation's energy needs for the next century.
In fact, the discoveries are so colossal they're set to rattle energy markets around the planet.
"North America has set off a supply shock that is sending ripples throughout the world," the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its 2013 medium-term report.
But the first place to feel the effects will be right here at home.
You see, the supply surge will spur a massive switch away from smog-belching diesel engines to clean-burning, natural gas-powered vehicles.
How to Find the Best Undervalued Stocks to Buy Now
When looking for the best undervalued stocks to buy now, you can't just consider those that have lagged the broader market.
Many companies that are down for the year in what has been a strong stock market have declined for solid reason and the near and intermediate-term outlook is still weak.
While there is a tendency for these undervalued stocks to eventually revert to the mean, you can increase your odds of a successful contrarian investment by selecting those that are also cheap on one important valuation measure.
Stocks to Buy: This Cheap Metals Play Has 10-Bagger Potential
The recent selloff in metals has made some opportunities for investors to scoop up stocks to buy at record discounts, and it's not just in gold and silver-related plays.
Although it is not as heavily traded as the shinier metals or treated as a safe haven asset, copper has also been slipping.
Copper prices recently fell to a 17-month low as more efficient mining practices has increased supply and demand has slowed. According to the Bureau of Metal Statistics copper supply will top demand by 97,000 tons in 2013.
The rise in the dollar has also pressured prices as copper is priced and traded in dollars.
This has caused a price plunge in copper-related stocks, giving some huge upside potential.
In fact, this tumble may be creating a huge opportunity in a special situation stock that is owned by some of the world's most successful investors. It's a chance to own a company with large reserves of copper that are worth far more than the current stock price.
Stocks to Buy: This Defense Winner is in a Class of Its Own
If you think the sequester has taken all defense companies off the "stocks to buy" list, think again.
Indeed, there has been a cloud over defense stocks for some time thanks to the automatic spending cuts. The Department of Defense has to reduce its budget by $47 billion by the end of the summer.
That is in addition to almost $500 billion of cuts over the next decade that was passed back in 2011. All of the budget proposals currently circling Capitol Hill include additional cuts to defense spending.
Companies that work with the military and other defense agencies are feeling the pinch and many of their stock prices have reflected that.
But the truth is, while cuts will be made to some of the bigger, flashier programs, the military will still be in the business of protecting the country. Not all companies will slow spending.
And any industry that sees the type of investor distaste that has swept over defense frequently sees a wave of consolidation and takeover activity that lifts the valuation of companies in the sector.
That means it's time to go hunting for some undervalued stocks in defense.
Here's one we like.
Stocks to Buy, or Sell? Take Your Money and Run from these Huge Gainers
If you felt a shiver Wednesday afternoon as the stock market closed, it was Sam "The Grave Dancer" Zell walking over your portfolio.
Zell is a noted real estate investor who visited CNBC last week. He told viewers that the stock market was starting to remind him of the housing market back in 2006. No matter what happened economically or politically prices just kept going up every day, every week and every month to levels that no longer made sense.
Zell has made his billions by buying in times of distress and selling in times of irrationally high asset prices. He once commented on his nickname saying that he dances with the skeletons of other people's mistakes.
As the market appears to be at higher risk, it is more important than ever to not become one of the skeletons that enriches Zell and other sophisticated investors.
Zell's suggestion that stock prices are overheated make it time to examine some of your holdings, and figure out which ones are steadily climbing - and which ones have had a good run that's ending. It might be a good time to harvest profits from the market's strong upward move.
This is particularly true of consumer-oriented names, as there are a lot of reasons consumers could tighten up the purse strings in 2013.
Here are two of the year's biggest gainers, that might look like stocks to buy based on 2013 performance - but look unlikely to maintain their share prices. They're just like the kind of "skeletons" Zell was referring.