Here Are the Best Stocks to Buy Now

The stock market is back on the upswing after a rough end to 2018. Since the massive drop on Dec. 24, the S&P 500 has risen 18% to 2,775.

best stocks to buy nowIf you've been sitting on the sidelines waiting for buying opportunities, it's not too late to jump back in. So we've got five stocks we like today...

  • Amid the nail-biting over iPhone sales, Apple's next move is going to keep it a profit powerhouse for years to come.
  • A unique mutual fund specializes in an arcane investing art that works no matter what the markets are doing.
  • While one legendary American company gets hammered, its top competitor is going strong - and is available at a steep discount (the best time to buy).
  • Our country's healthcare demand is only going to grow - and a leading Big Data provider to the healthcare industry is a great way to profit from it.
  • Cybersecurity is growing rapidly to keep up with ever more sophisticated criminals. Find out the best way to ride this multi-trillion-dollar trend.

Here are all the names of our best stocks to buy now...

Best Stocks to Buy Now, No. 5: When It Comes to Apple, Separate the Signal from the Noise

Anyone who has doubted the ability of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) to keep producing big returns probably hasn't been following us.

Now, to be fair, analysts might have been right to be concerned about iPhone sales, which had been declining before the company decided to stop reporting unit sales beginning this year.

But as Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald told readers in October 2017, Apple is no longer a device company. In fact, it hasn't been a device company for years.

Over the last several years, Apple has been putting its services more front and center. And while iPhone sales have stalled, Apple's revenue from services has consistently shined quarter after quarter - not to mention dwarfed those of competitors like Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX).

In fact, last quarter, the company nearly hit the $10 billion mark in services revenue for the first time. (Technically it was $9.98 billion.)

As exciting as that is, the real story - and the real money to be made - is Apple's next step. That's a step into the healthcare market, which Keith calls the "most lucrative market in the world."

Keith was telling readers about this transition over a year ago. And on Jan. 8 of this year, Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a CNBC interview that "improving people's health will be Apple's greatest contribution to mankind."

The company has hired dozens of doctors spread across multiple divisions to aid this new venture. And it has already unveiled ResearchKit and CareKit, frameworks for developers to create new research and healthcare apps. And the Apple Watch is already able to monitor a user's heart rate and detect any irregularities.

But that's just the beginning. There are more innovations on the way from Tim Cook and company - including a likely move into insurance. Which is why any hand-wringing over iPhone sales is completely missing the point.

It's also why, as successful as Apple has been - it's beaten the S&P 500 by over 125% since late 2013 - it's still undervalued. And it's still a stock to buy.

"The sooner you focus on what Cook is saying," Keith says, "the sooner you'll start lining up profits of your own."

Best Stocks to Buy Now, No. 4: This Fund Will Deliver Absolute Gains Regardless of What the Stock Market Does

Regardless of whether the stock market goes up, down, or sideways, there will always be movements that create profit opportunities.

That's especially true when it comes to mergers.

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You've probably seen how announcements, or even just rumors, of merger deals can move the stock prices of both companies involved, usually in predictable directions. Whether or not the deal goes through plays a big role in where those stock prices will settle relative to each other.

If you can reliably predict whether the merger will go through or not, you can make a boatload of money no matter what's going on in the rest of the market.

It's called "merger arbitrage." And if it sounds difficult to do the research and calculation that it entails, that's okay. That's why we've got a pick that handles all that - and hands you the profits.

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That would be GDL Fund (NYSE: GDL), managed by Mario Gabelli.

Gabelli wrote the book on merger arbitrage - literally. Along with co-author Kate Welling, Gabelli published Merger Masters: Tales of Arbitrage in late 2018. We highly recommend it for anyone who wants to learn more about this arcane art.

In the meantime, GDL Fund is a great way to enjoy the "absolute returns" - that is, positive performance independent of trends in securities markets - that come with successful arbitrage. And because arbitrage involves trades that hedge each other, the risk is relatively low, too.

What's important to note here is that GDL is a closed-end fund, and its price sometimes deviates from the value of the assets under management. And right now you can pick up shares of GDL at a substantial discount to its assets - just over 17%.

That's even more exciting when you consider that the fund's Board of Trustees announced in November that it would take active steps to bring the fund's trading price closer to its asset value.

So, as Money Morning Special Situation Strategist Tim Melvin says, this is a chance to do a little arbitrage yourself. GDL is now trading close to $9.30. If you buy it under $10.25, you can look forward to market-beating gains and take advantage of an inefficiency in the market.

Collecting a 4.32% yield certainly doesn't hurt either.

Best Stocks to Buy, No. 3: Here's One American Icon to Avoid - and a Competitor to Grab at a Discount

American icon Harley-Davidson Inc. (NYSE: HOG) is foundering. But no, this is not a "buy the dip" situation.

The truth is there isn't much hope for Harley at this point. Sales have been dropping over the last several years, and what measly growth the company might see over the next few years isn't worth your trouble.

For the motorcycle behemoth's top competitor, though, the story is just the opposite.

Where Harley is losing customers, Polaris Industries Inc. (NYSE: PII) is gaining them, making it one of our top stocks to buy now.

That has a lot to do with Polaris's 2011 acquisition of another iconic brand: Indian Motorcycles.

After several failed attempts by other companies to revive the brand, Polaris's Indian lineup has been surprisingly successful. It beat the rest of the industry by 15% in retail growth in 2017.

Then again, it's not surprising when you consider the quality and economy that Polaris brings to its whole fleet of vehicles.

That includes everything from snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles to custom warehouse vehicles and even pontoons. And as Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald says, many of these vehicles are "offered at far lower price points and, dare I say it, far higher quality with far better engineering than Harley."

Polaris's AIXAM brand of electric cars, for example, can be driven around cities in France without a driver's license. Not only do they emit no carbon emission, but nearly 100% of the vehicle components are recyclable.

Or you might have seen one of the eye-catching, three-wheeled Slingshots zipping around your area. Basem Wasef of AutoBlog called driving one of these futuristic vehicles "unfiltered fun."

Then there are off-road vehicles like the Sportsman XP 1000, which is straddled like a motorcycle but is steady through even the toughest terrains, whether in the forest, the mountains, or the swamplands.

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Though all these vehicles are highly affordable, those who want to ride but not buy can turn to Polaris Adventures. Just over a year old, this segment of the company is already delivering more than 25,000 experiences annually, such as treks around the Grand Canyon, the Adirondack Mountains, or the Maui Coast.

After peaking around $130 in June, shares of PII slid to just over $70 by the end of 2018. But the stock is already showing signs of bouncing back: It's up to $84.88 at the time of writing.

Expect that rise to continue. Net income for 2018 was up 28% from the year before, and sales are consistently growing by double-digit percentages year after year.

Plus, PII offers a yield of 2.90% - nearly three and a half times the industry average.

Whatever metric you look at, there's every reason to believe that Polaris is due to bounce back. Which is unfortunately more than we can say for Harley-Davidson.

Best Stocks to Buy, No. 2: Healthcare Plus Big Data Equals Major Profits for You

We've already talked about Apple's foray into healthcare. But there's another company that's making profits on the combination of healthcare and Big Data.

That's VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW).

While VMware provides solutions for a number of industries, its healthcare products are particularly attractive in today's environment. Its software is a godsend for practitioners and institutions, enabling services like analytics, artificial intelligence, automation, the Internet of Things, virtual healthcare, and instant access to patient data all via a mobile phone.

This is the kind of efficiency-boosting product that will keep VMware in strong shape even when the economy suffers.

Case in point: In spite of the global slowdown in many industries, in November, VMware upped its guidance for annual revenue to $8.9 billion, which would represent a 12.5% jump from last year. The company also increased its earnings per share guidance for the next quarter from $6.14 to $6.22.

Expect that kind of strength to continue as Big Data becomes an even bigger part of our economy - and a bigger part of our healthcare system.

Of course, any time we're talking about Big Data, there's a dark side. The collection - and possible abuse - of our personal information has been a big topic in recent years. And the concerns are only heightened when we're talking about sensitive medical information.

Consider that, according to many security experts, medical information is probably about 10 times more valuable than credit card information. That's because criminals can use the data to buy prescription drugs or file false claims with insurers.

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That's why VMware offers sophisticated security measures to prevent breaches. If a healthcare practitioner's mobile phone is lost, for example, VMware can wipe it clean in an instant and get a replacement set up right away.

That might not stop the more mundane practice of health insurers collecting more health-related data about us than we might like. As Keith Fitz-Gerald says, "Eat that extra donut in the morning... watch your healthcare premiums go up that afternoon."

VMware's tools can be used for good and for ill. While that battle plays out, though, there's every reason to believe that the stock will become significantly more valuable.

Keith expects VMW to more than double, to at least $322, within the next year or two as this segment grows.

And if you're especially interested data security - and the profits that come with it - we've got a pick for that too...

Best Stocks to Buy, No. 1: Here's the Best Way to Get In on Cybersecurity's Growth

Research firm Cybersecurity Ventures projects that cybercrime will account for $6 trillion in yearly damages by 2021 - double what it was in 2016.

As hacking, phishing, ransomware, and other forms of cybercrime become more sophisticated, organizations of all types really have no choice but to beef up their security.

That's why spending on cybersecurity is expected to total $1 trillion in the five years between 2017 and 2021.

There are plenty of great companies providing these services. Instead of picking just one or two, we recommend the ETFMG Prime Cyber Security ETF (NYSE: HACK), which holds 52 different companies covering every corner of the industry.

That includes industry giants like Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) and Symantec Corp. (NASDAQ: SYMC). But it also includes a healthy mix of smaller and mid-cap cybersecurity firms poised for aggressive growth (and which could be stocks to buy in their own right).

Here are a few standouts:

  • Mimecast Ltd.(NASDAQ: MIME) offers protection against phishing scams to 15,000 users around the world. Its sophisticated software performs real-time scanning of each and every web address in incoming and archived e-mails, preventing against fresh attacks but also against old attacks from resurfacing.
  • Palo Alto Networks Inc.(NYSE: PANW) offers protection for IT systems and data "for all users on any device across any network." This is must-have technology for modern companies whose employees are frequently accessing company data through their personal devices.
  • Qualys Inc.(NASDAQ: QLYS) runs a cloud-based security platform that integrates with all of the major cloud providers. The platform continuously monitors a network's security, with two-second global visibility and a minimal footprint. The company handles more than a trillion security actions a year for more than a thousand global customers.

After a strong first three quarters, HACK suffered a bit with the rest of the stock market in late 2018, dropping from about $40 to $32 per share. But it has rebounded back above $35, and Money Morning Defense and Tech Specialist Michael Robinson expects a strong 2019 and beyond.

It's hard to argue with that, given the prevalence of cybercrime - which is only going to get worse.

You're probably using some of these companies' products already. You might as well profit from it at the same time.

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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.

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