Retail stocks are trouncing the broad market this year. Yet these three retailers look like they’re just getting started, making them great stocks to buy now.
Stocks to Buy Now
Marina and I will soon board a plane for another trip to Europe.
We are off to Frankfurt, where I have meetings on European natural gas import costs; meanwhile, my better half gets to spoil our grandchildren, who live just outside the city.
My responsibility is to address the energy balance problems emerging for the continent. The focus may be on Germany and the rest of Western Europe, but these problems are emerging elsewhere around the world.
With Berlin opting to phase out nuclear power, the continent's largest economy now has a daunting task to assemble an energy mix that meets expected demand.
This started as a political tradeoff, but it is likely to become the major concern in the broader national strategy to stave off recession. A similar tradeoff is developing in the United States.
A much-ballyhooed German venture into solar and wind has hit a brick wall. There is now a played-down move to import additional nuclear-generated power from neighbors, but now the country is doing the unthinkable to meet its energy demands.
This environmentally conscious country, with one of the strongest green political movements in Europe, is now importing more coal than at any point in the past decade.
The options are limited, along with the time to decide on how to implement all of it. That is likely to result in a political tradeoff distasteful to just about every political party and interest group in Germany.
However, the problems do not end there.
This defense company is way off Wall Street's radar screen. In fact, some investors have been selling, afraid the sequester would hurt the share price. But they're missing something big.
There's a story out of England I heard recently that's one of the most ironic tales of how developments in technology - cybersecurity, in particular - need to be taken more seriously.
The story started in 2009, when 18-year-old Nicholas Webber was arrested for using fraudulent credit card details to pay for a penthouse suite at the Hilton Hotel in Park Lane, Central London.
When police examined Webber's laptop, they found details of 100,000 stolen credit cards linked to losses totaling 16.2 million pounds ($24.6 million)
Turns out Webber ran the Internet crime forum GhostMarket. The site allowed hackers to meet up virtually, create computer viruses and share stolen IDs and private credit card data.
In 2011 Webber was sentenced to five years in prison. Once in prison Webber was allowed to participate in a computer class.
And earlier this year, he hacked the prison computer system.
The company this week had to recall yoga pants made with fabric known as Luon because it was overly transparent - meaning Lululemon customers were walking around with see-through pants.
The products make up about 17% of all "bottoms' sold by the company. According to The New York Times, the recall is expected to account for about $60 million in lost sales.
Lululemon investors saw the stock take a 10% hit this week after the pants debacle.
And now, with some of its most popular products off shelves, the company has opened up the window for another "trendy" fitness chain to play to pantsless consumers.
That's one of the dangers of investing in a fad stock - it's not going to be popular forever.
And even though Lululemon's shares have soared more than 340% in five years - beating returns of both Apple and Google - its success isn't based on solid company fundamentals, but on trends and investor hype.
Here are a couple other "fad" stocks that might not be able to deliver for investors on consumer enthusiasm alone.
Insurance companies have failed to perform as strongly as other sectors, but these two are among the stocks to buy now. In fact, they're almosttoo cheap to pass up.
Most biotech stocks are growth plays, so you'll almost never find one that pays anything more than a bare bones dividend. But this company has a distinct advantage that allows it to reward its shareholders - big-time. Michael Robinson explains.
Information technology companies have trailed broader market gains recently. Through Feb. 22, the infotech sector was only up 2% compared to a 6.6% rise in the S&P 500. But now there's a huge catalyst coming that makes these among the top stocks to buy. It has to do with Obamacare...
The Canadian oil and gas industry has endured difficult conditions for the past few years and it is more than reflected in the share price of leading producers in that country.
It appears, however, we may have reached a point where a turnaround is imminent and investors can reap the rewards of this reversal if they know the best stocks to buy.
The problems facing Canadian energy companies have included a pricing differential in favor of the rest of the world, as well as roadblocks in getting their products to the marketplace.
Attempts to develop non-U.S. markets, build new pipelines and increase refining capacity have been met with strong opposition from environmental groups in Canada. Technological advances like fracking in countries like the United States have provided stiff competition for traditional methods and are far cheaper than oil sands projects that are a large part of the Canadian energy landscape.
There is a good chance that many Canadian oil and gas producers have reached what legendary investor John Templeton used to call the point of maximum pessimism.
But Canada is starting to take action to reignite the industry.
I know that for more than a few of you, as soon as you hear the word "nanotech" your eyes glaze over and you fumble for the mouse.
But don't touch that mouse. Nanotech has come a long way and is becoming one of the most incredible technology stories of the decade, if not the century.
For example, what if I were to tell you that there's a microbe that has been discovered that actually produces gold? Nuts, right?
Well thanks to our ability to see how microbes interact with their environment, stunning stories like this one from Nature Chemical Biology in New Scientist are showing up:
Sure, the Dow has reached record highs. That doesn't mean investing has gotten any easier. Quite the opposite...
When the markets make a major move higher, investors always run the risk of buying at the top and getting crushed as the market retreats.
It's called chasing momentum, and it can be fatal to your portfolio. Just ask Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) shareholders who jumped in at $700 only to watch as the price dropped to less than $420/share. With little change in the company's outlook, Apple investors who bought near the peak managed to lose 40% in a bull market.
Today I want to tall you about a safer and more lucrative approach.
I call it "heirloom investing," because you'll pass these stocks on to your grandchildren.
It's been a great year for anyone interested in dividend stocks - and it looks like it'll get even better.
Corporations in the S&P 500 are expected to pay at least $300 billion in dividends in 2013, up from last year's $282 billion, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices.
And some of the dividend hikes represent a healthy payout boost.
For example, one of the latest in a string of companies to boost dividends, QUALCOMM Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM), recently announced a 40% increase in its dividend.
Besides QUALCOMM, Hess Corp. (NYSE: HES) hiked its dividend 150%, HollyFrontier Corp. (NYSE: HFC) 50%, The Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD) 34%, The TJX Cos. Inc. (NYSE: TJX) 26% and Applied Materials Inc. (Nasdaq: AMAT) 11%, to name just a handful.
The good news: If you haven't yet joined the payout party, you can expect even more dividend increases in the weeks ahead.
Farm incomes are expected to climb to an all-time high this year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The expected increase - to a net farm income total of $128.3 billion, up from $112.8 billion in 2012 - is good news, not only for farmers but for fertilizer companies. Especially these three...
U.S. gun sales are at an all-time high. Ammo is flying off store shelves as well.
And that bodes well for companies in the firearms industry, putting the three mentioned below on many investors' "stocks to buy" list.
Fact is, demand for guns and ammo over the past few months is breaking all records. Just take a look at statistics compiled by the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
In February, NCIS recorded 2,309,393 background checks - 32% higher than February 2012. December 2012 saw the most background checks in any month in U.S. history, when nearly 2.8 million background checks were performed.
Altogether, the FBI recorded more than 16.8 million background checks for gun purchases in 2012, the highest number since they began publishing the data in 1998.
What's more, the actual number of weapons sold could be even higher because customers can purchase multiple guns for each check, USA Today reports.
In fact, demand is so high, the companies that make these products are having a hard time keeping up.
Dale Raby, manager at Gus's Guns shops in Green Bay, WI, told The New York Times his inventory of guns and ammunition was almost wiped out, especially AR-15 military assault rifles.
"I almost had fistfights over...that type of gun," Raby said.
"If I had 1,000 AR-15s I could sell them in a week," Jack Smith, an independent gun dealer in Des Moines told the Times.
Around the country, many guns are simply out of stock and prices are skyrocketing.