Our latest list of best stocks to buy now gives you five companies ready to put a lot more cash in your pocket.
- The world's most valuable company, which has moved beyond gadgets to unleash the real profit potential of the Information Age.
- One of China's Internet pioneers that continues to innovate, meaning it's not too late to capitalize on the Asian tech boom.
- A play on a previously untapped market in the legal marijuana sector, opened up by a recent acquisition.
- The company behind a new drug set for FDA approval and could help a half-million epilepsy sufferers in the United States.
- Finally, a leader in human capital management technology that'll let you profit from the growing American workforce.
Here are our five latest best stocks to buy now...
Best Stocks to Buy Now, No. 1: This Fab Five Giant's Stock Price Could Double on Its Continuing Reinvention
The path to riches used to orbit around two activities: mining and manufacturing.
That is, either you pulled stuff out of the ground, or you used that stuff to make new, more useful stuff.
We no longer live in a stuff-based economy. This is the Information Age. The stuff we have is now secondary to the connections, content, and data that passes between us every day.
But, you might protest, the top company in the world is still one that makes stuff.
We're talking about Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL). And yes, it's true that people still get excited about its stuff: iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, and so on.
But Apple is not a stuff-based company - not anymore. It's much more than that. And Apple's expansion to the world beyond stuff is what makes it one of the world's most exciting options for those investing for the future.
First, there's Apple's services, including Apple Music, iTunes, iCloud, and Apple Pay. Services revenue climbed 22% in the third quarter, to an annualized figure of nearly $30 billion.
If Apple's services division was its own company, it would be in the Fortune 100.
The key is that the devices Apple makes are no longer the company's prime focus, but rather vehicles to tap into a larger vision. So, instead of relying on a new line of products flying off the shelves during the holidays, CEO Tim Cook's team is figuring out ways to make its devices more useful in a wider variety of environments.
Case in point: Apple has quietly been making moves to become a major player in the healthcare field.
"Apple's move into the medical field... may be the single largest corporate reinvention of the last 50 years."
In 2015, Apple launched the HealthKit and ResearchKit platforms for large-scale medical data collection on Apple devices. A few months ago, it was reported that Apple was in talks with Aetna Inc. (NYSE: AET) to provide Apple Watches to more than 23 million of the insurer's customers in order to track health information.
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Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald wrote that Apple's move into the medical field, particularly the $3 trillion healthcare information sector, "may be the single largest corporate reinvention of the last 50 years."
Analysts are still bickering over projected iPhone sales this holiday season, and many are speculating about when the tech giant will hit a $1 trillion valuation - meaning a stock price of $194.77.
Pay it no mind. In the Information Age, it's not Apple's stuff we should be focusing on. With the company's broader vision in place, Keith says the long-term price potential for Apple stock is more like $400.
Best Stocks to Buy Now, No. 2: How This Chinese Tech Pioneer Is Handing You Easy Gains
Every investor who held out on investing in China has been missing out on one of the great growth stories of all time, now that companies like Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE: BABA) and Tencent Holdings Ltd. (OTCMKTS: TCEHY) are soaring to valuations that rival our own "Fab Five" tech stocks in the United States.
Good news: It's not too late.
Yearly growth in Chinese Internet users is around 6%. That's impressive in any country, but it's much more impressive when you consider that in China that means over 40 million new Internet users every year. That's more than the entire population of Canada or Australia.
Plus, that user base still only represents 54.3% of the world's most populous country. Compare that to 74.6% in the United States.
So there's every reason to believe that this growth can hold up for years to come, which means there's still plenty of untapped upside for Chinese tech companies to take advantage of.
That's just one of the reasons to be excited about this next company - one of the major Internet pioneers in Asia.
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In addition to providing e-mail, e-commerce, and a slew of other Internet services, NetEase Inc. (Nasdaq: NTES) is also one of the largest gaming companies in the world.
In partnership with U.S.-based Activision Blizzard Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) - one of our Money Morning Top 10 Outperformers - NetEase offers Chinese gamers international hit games like "World of Warcraft" and "Diablo III" using a new micro-transaction model. China represents 25% of the world's $100 billion gaming market, so NetEase is in an ideal position to provide big returns for years to come.
Already, NTES has increased its earnings per share (EPS) by nearly 400% since 2010. The stock has soared in that time, from about $35 to over $325 as of mid-November. But that doesn't mean you can't still get in on this company's soaring potential.
"NTES is one of my longtime favorite Asian Internet technology plays," Keith wrote in October. Look for it in the coming years to expand its footprint well beyond China - into Japan, Southeast Asia, and other markets.
Best Stocks to Buy Now, No. 3: This Beverage Maker Just Gave Cannabis Investing Its Tipping Point
The marijuana "Green Rush" is no longer a Wild West limited to only the most adventurous of investors.
The tipping point, as Keith told us recently, was a major acquisition that signals a major new profit potential in the $6.7 billion North American cannabis industry.
Constellation Brands Inc. (NYSE: STZ), a Fortune 500 company that produces drinks such as Corona, Negra Modelo, and Svedka vodka, just purchased a share in Canadian marijuana company Canopy Growth Corp. (OTCMKTS: TWMJF) for $191 million.
The deal paves the way for a product that so far has been underrepresented in the weed business: cannabis-infused drinks.
When Canada legalizes marijuana - expected to be no later than next summer - beverages will not be included in the permissible forms. But as the government aims to wipe out the black market, cannabis-infused drinks will almost certainly be phased into the legal, regulated industry. And Constellation is making its bid to be the first mover in that market.
This move shows that big business is starting to understand that widespread legalization is inevitable.
This is a major shift, because alcohol producers have typically been among the most vocal opponents to legal marijuana. They didn't want the competition.
Constellation has indicated that it has no plans to sell cannabis products in the United States. 29 states have legalized marijuana for medical use, and eight have approved it for recreational use. But with the federal ban still in place, companies involved in cannabis production have to tread carefully.
Nevertheless, with Canada on a path toward full legalization and 64% of Americans in favor of lifting the ban (according to a Gallup poll in October), it makes sense that alcohol companies would rather cash in on the trend than fight it.
For investors who have been waiting for a signal that marijuana investing can be both safe and profitable, this is your green light.
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Constellation is a great pick for investors looking to get in on the marijuana legalization trend while sticking with a large, trusted brand. According to Keith, Constellation's latest acquisition changes marijuana stocks from speculative undertakings to quality investments "that can produce windfall profits year after year."
"Pot stocks are riding a huge wave of wealth," Keith says. And Constellation provides a great opportunity to catch it.
Best Stocks to Buy Now, No. 4: Not Just for Fun - This Cannabis Producer Is Leading the Way to Improve People's Lives
As exciting as the recreational marijuana market is, it's medical marijuana whose potential is truly transformative.
WebMD lists more than a half-dozen ailments that can be treated with cannabis, including Crohn's disease, glaucoma, and nausea for chemotherapy patients. It can also be effective in treating pain, which has huge implications in a nation that is currently suffering from an opioid epidemic.
And thanks to a UK-based pharmaceutical company, the next illness we tackle with cannabis may be epilepsy.
GW Pharmaceuticals Plc. (Nasdaq ADR: GWPH) has already released a cannabis-based mouth spray called Sativex to treat pain in multiple sclerosis patients. The drug was approved in the United Kingdom in 2010.
GW's newest product, Epidiolex, is a potential breakthrough to benefit the 3 million Americans who suffer from epilepsy. The FDA fast-tracked the drug candidate to treat newborn children with the disease.
In studies involving 750 children since 2015, 50% have shown a decrease in seizures - with limited side effects. GW is preparing to apply for FDA approval, setting the stage for a major windfall as this new drug changes lives - and changes attitudes about cannabis' medical applications.
How Medical Marijuana Could End the U.S. Opioid Crisis
Money Morning Director of Technology & Venture Capital Research Michael Robinson has been recommending GW Pharmaceuticals since 2014. Readers who took his advice back then have enjoyed 93% gains, compared to a 39.6% return for the S&P 500.
"I'm recommending it once more today," Michael wrote on Nov. 7, "because I think there's every reason for it to keep on delivering."
Best Stocks to Buy Now, No. 5: This Human Resources Technology Company's Profits Are Skyrocketing as It Racks Up a Stellar Client List
Since the recession of 2009, the economy has been climbing reliably. GDP grew by 3.1% in the second quarter, and the unemployment rate is down to 4.4%, compared to 5.8% three years ago and 10% in late 2009.
With more employees in the workforce, human capital management (HCM) is in ever higher demand. The Gartner Group projects that HCM will be a $12.6 billion market by 2019.
And there's one company that stands out as a dominant presence in HCM technology.
Workday Inc. (Nasdaq: WDAY) was founded by the same team that built PeopleSoft Inc., a formidable software company that was eventually acquired by Oracle Corp. (NYSE: ORCL). The new company has put together an enviable client list...
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) signed up for multiple software modules by Workday in January, in a contract that analysts at Drexel Hamilton say could bring in up to $200 million per year. Wal-Mart follows Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), which uses Workday's full suite, and, notably, is planning on increasing its workforce by a third over the next year and half.
The company is on pace to increase its EPS by nearly 600% this year, and the stock is up 65% in 2017 so far. Aside from growing demand in the United States, Workday is also increasing its international presence. More than 20% of sales in the last quarter came from outside the United States, a number that is likely to grow.
"Workday is a stock you want in your portfolio," Michael says. "Get in now - before that unemployment number starts getting better again."
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About the Author
Stephen Mack has been writing about economics and finance since 2011. He contributed material for the best-selling books Aftershock and The Aftershock Investor. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland.