Good Stocks to Buy

Why Income Investors Will Love These Preferred Stocks to Buy Now

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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.

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How the Stock Market Today is Following Up Friday's Big Rally

Investors took a breather in the stock market today after driving the Dow Jones Industrial Average 207.5 points higher on Friday.

Just before noon, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 1.26, or 0.01%, to 15,249.38. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index added 1.10 to 1,644.48. The Nasdaq tacked on 9.19 to hit 3,478.41

Friday saw the Dow's second-biggest gain of 2013, after investors cheered a "Goldilocks" jobs report: not too hot, not too cold. For the week, the Dow added 132.55 points, or 0.88%.

There was plenty of news to sway the stock market today despite its muted open.

The world's largest credit rating agency Standard & Poor's boosted its credit outlook for the United States to "stable" from "negative" and reduced the threat of further downgrades.

Citing receding fiscal risks, S&P said the chance of a ratings downgrade is now "less than one in three."

"It was a quite shocking event for the markets when the U.S. was downgraded to negative, so to have that rating repaired is meaningful," Lawrence Creaturea, a Rochester, NY-based manager at Federated Investors Inc. told Bloomberg News. "Economic data has been improving gradually and S&P's upgrade is a recognition of that."

Overseas news was mixed.

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How to Find the Best Undervalued Stocks to Buy Now

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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.

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Stocks to Buy: These Returns Nearly Tripled the S&P 500's

hot penny stocks to buy today

Barron's recently published its annual list of the 500 top U.S. and Canadian companies based on sales growth, cash flow, and return on investment, delivering juicy choices for investors on the hunt for stocks to buy.

Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) took the top spot, with Wesco International (NYSE: WCC) snagging second. Western Digital Corp (Nasdaq: WDC) grabbed No. 3. and DaVita HealthCare Partners Inc. (NYSE: DVA) was No. 4. C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc. (Nasdaq: CHRW) rounded out the top five.

Landing a spot on the coveted roster is indeed an accomplishment. But it hasn't always been a reliable judge of how a company's shares will perform in the future.

So, for the second consecutive year, Barron's teamed with financial data and software company FactSet Research Systems Inc. to find the cheapest stocks among its 500 list. FactSet used price/earnings ratios based on earnings estimates for each company's current fiscal year.

Last year's "cheap" list of 30, tracked for a year, averaged a 42% return over the period ended April 26. That's nearly triple the 15.6% gain over the same period for the Standard & Poor's 500 Index.

A trio of energy refiners, all posting triple-digits returns, led the group to lofty gains: Tesoro Corp. (NYSE: TSO); Alon USA Energy Inc. (NYSE: ALJ); and Marathon Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: MPC).

Just two stocks, Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) and Exelis Inc. (NYSE: XLS), fell.

This year's bargains are a mixed lot. Here's a closer look at the lowest priced stocks to buy among the Barron's 500.

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Stocks to Buy: Why Warren Buffett Is Hunting in Europe

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Investment guru Warren Buffett is looking for stocks to buy now in struggling Europe- a region many investors refuse to touch thanks to the destructive Eurozone debt crisis.  

But the Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK.A; BRK.B) CEO told CNBC he's bought a couple smaller businesses in Europe over the last 12 months and also took positions in some European equities.

"We've bought some European stocks," Buffett said. "And the fact that there are troubles in Europe, and there are plenty of troubles, and they're not going away fast, does not mean you don't buy stocks. We bought stocks when the United States was in trouble, in 2008 and it was in huge trouble, and we spent $15.5 billion in three weeks in between September 15 and October 10."

One reason for Buffett's interest in Europe: plenty of cheap buys.

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