Why Our Top Stocks to Watch Now Are Home Depot, Apple, and SoftBank

Today's new stocks to watch list gives you three profit opportunities:

  • First, Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD) makes a deal with two energy powerhouses to bring solar power to its stores.
  • Then, after conquering Silicon Valley, Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) sets its sights on Hollywood.
  • And finally, SoftBank Group Corp.'s (OTCMKTS: SFTBY) gigantic private equity fund makes a push into the Indian e-commerce market.

Stocks to Watch Now No. 1: Home Depot's Solar Push Brings Together Three Companies That Can Carry Your Portfolio into the Next Generation

Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD) announced last week that it will convert the rooftops of 50 of its stores into solar farms.

Each rooftop can accommodate an average of 1,000 solar panels. That can reduce electricity grid demand by 30% to 35% annually at the outfitted stores. The total energy saved would be enough to power 2,300 homes.

Current, a subsidiary of General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE), will provide the installations for Home Depot stores in the Mid-Atlantic, between Connecticut and Washington, D.C., as well as in California. Six stores in New York and California will also employ the Powerpack energy storage system designed by Tesla Inc. (Nasdaq: TSLA).

The 50 stores are a small percentage of the 2,300 Home Depots across North America. But this is the beginning of a larger plan to install 135 megawatts of clean energy - enough to power more than 25,000 homes - at Home Depot stores by 2020.

The move brings together three companies with long-term profit potential:


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Any one of these companies gives you a stock built for the long haul, especially as Home Depot and other companies continue to implement clean energy technology.

Stocks to Watch Now No. 2: Apple Makes a $1 Billion Bid to Become "Lead Dog" in Hollywood

Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) is getting into the TV business.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that Apple will invest $1 billion over the next year to acquire and produce original media content. The company is expected to produce up to 10 TV shows in the near future.

Apple's video sales and rental service held a market share of more than 50% in 2012. But that number has slipped below 35% thanks in large part to the popularity of subscription services such as Netflix and HBO. The move to produce high-quality Hollywood content is part of an overall shift in focus toward services. Apple executives hope to double the company's total services revenue by 2020.

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Apple's original content spending is dwarfed by Netflix's $6 billion content budget, and it's only half of what HBO spent on content in 2016. It's also a tiny fraction of Apple's cash hoard of over $250 billion. Still, Apple's brand recognition and user base can help as it dips its feet into a new industry.

Shah Gilani points out that Apple is often a late entrant into industries, as it was with MP3 players, smartphones, and streaming music. But when it does enter a new field, "it becomes the lead dog," Shah says.

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Shah suggests keeping an eye not just on Apple but on Hollywood studios, as he suspects an acquisition may be Apple's next move.

We'll see if the move to Hollywood pays off for AAPL. But as Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald said in July, "it's going to be very hard to go wrong with that company."

Stocks to Watch Now No. 3: SoftBank Is Your Entry into the Emerging Indian E-Commerce Market

Indian e-commerce company Flipkart confirmed on Aug. 10 that SoftBank Group Corp.'s (OTCMKTS: SFTBY) $100 billion Vision Fund, the world's largest private equity fund, has become one of the company's largest shareholders.

Until a few weeks ago, Flipkart was in talks to acquire its rival Snapdeal. SoftBank, Snapdeal's largest investor, was reportedly keen on closing a deal that would bring Flipkart into the mix. But Snapdeal's two co-founders fought to keep the deal from going through and eventually won.

Now SoftBank gets a piece of Flipkart through Vision Fund. Neither side has confirmed the size of the deal. But they have said it's the largest private investment in an Indian tech company ever, which means it's at least $1.5 billion. Rumors put the deal at as high as $2.5 billion.

The deal represents an extension of the $1.4 billion financing round Flipkart announced in April. Investors in that round included Tencent Holdings Ltd. (OTCMKTS: TCTZF), eBay Inc. (Nasdaq: EBAY), and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), putting Flipkart's total valuation at $11.6 billion at the time.

SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son called Flipkart "pioneers in Indian e-commerce." The company is still not traded publicly, but SoftBank is. And with Vision Fund still loaded with cash to play with, SFTBY is your best bet to get in on the ground floor of some of the world's up-and-coming tech companies.

Son has proven his ability to pick winners in the past with investments like his $20 million gamble on Alibaba Holding Group Ltd. (NYSE: BABA) back in 2000. His stake is currently estimated to be worth over $100 billion.

"You know what Son's track record is and what his plans are," Keith Fitz-Gerald wrote in May. "There is little doubt in my mind that you've got a legacy holding on your hands" if you buy SoftBank.

For those following along with our Money Morning Top 10 Outperformers, here's the latest list:

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