As robust as the stock market has been in recent times — the Dow Jones Industrial Average, for example, has achieved more than 70 new record closing highs since the 2016 election — it’s tempting to think the current bull market will last indefinitely. But history shows that’s not likely to be the case. Careful investing and well-researched stock selection remain key elements of investment success. These eight solid companies make great additions to a portfolio as 2018 approaches — especially for investors interested in tech stocks, growth stocks and dividend stocks. Consider these good stocks to buy now.
1. Dollar General (NYSE: DG)
- Quarterly Revenue Growth Year Over Year: 11 percent, to $5.9 billion
- Quarterly Net Income Growth Year Over Year: 7.7 percent, to $253 million
- Stock Price 52-Week Range: $65.97 to $96.60
In an era when many brick-and-mortar retailers are suffering due to competition from online retailers, this discount chain opened 900 new stores in 2017 with plans to do the same in 2018. The chain now has more than 14,000 stores across 44 states. The company’s business model is simple: It offers inexpensive merchandise in modestly sized stores.
During the economic recession, customers flocked to Dollar General and other discount retailers to save money. As the economy has improved, these customers have remained loyal.
In the third quarter of 2017, same-store sales were up an impressive 4.3 percent over the same quarter in 2016. This is one of the stocks that pay dividends. The board of directors declared a $0.26 per share dividend for the fourth quarter.
2. Cubic (NYSE: CUB)
- Quarterly Revenue Growth Year Over Year: Increase of 9 percent, to $445.6 million
- Quarterly Earnings Growth Year Over Year: Net income $13.2 million 2017, loss of $7.5 million 2016
- Stock Price 52-Week Range: $39.58 to $64.95
Cubic — which provides defense combat training, electronic mission support and transportation — should do well given the current administration’s emphasis on strengthening the military defense, as 66 percent of sales were generated from domestic governments.
In addition to defense training and systems, the company considers itself “the leading integrator of payment and information solutions and related services for intelligent travel applications,” according to its website. A savvy investor would consider Cubic one of the best stocks to buy now.
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3. Thor Industries (NYSE: THO)
- Quarterly Revenue Growth Year Over Year: 30.6 percent, to a record $2.23 billion
- Quarterly Net Income Growth Year Over Year: 63.1 percent, to a record $128.4 billion
- Stock Price 52-Week Range: $87.96 to $156.86
Thor Industries is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of recreational vehicles, under well-known brand names such as Airstream, Jayco and Keystone. Sales were outstanding in the first quarter, 2018 fiscal year — up 33.7 percent for towable RVs and 22.8 percent for motorized ones over the same quarter last year.
The company has outperformed security analysts’ consensus earnings estimates for seven of the last eight quarters. This is a growth stock in an industry segment that many investors might not associate with rapid growth. Investing in stocks such as Thor Industries diversifies an investment portfolio.
4. Applied Materials (NYSE: AMAT)
- Quarterly Revenue Growth Year Over Year: 20 percent, to $3.97 billion
- Quarterly Earnings Growth Year Over Year: 61 percent
- Stock Price 52-Week Range: $31.66 to $60.89
The demand for computer chips is soaring as more and more products depend on those chips, both domestically and internationally. Chip manufacturer Applied Materials has a number of differentiated products and a high market share. It has established itself in China as the premier source for semiconductor chips, at the same time diversifying into more technologically advanced products. The stock price has nearly doubled in the previous 52 weeks.
5. Chipotle (NYSE: CMG)
- Quarterly Revenue Growth Year Over Year: 8.8 percent to $1.13 billion
- Quarterly Earnings Growth Year Over Year: 155 percent
- Stock Price 52-Week Range: $263 to $499
Chipotle brought higher quality food made with wholesome ingredients to the otherwise mundane fast food industry and now operates over 2,300 restaurants.
This company was a high flyer on the New York Stock Exchange, peaking at nearly $500 per share, but Chipotle shares tumbled in the past year due to the effect of a food safety scandal that scared customers away. Although customers have come back to some extent, the stock price has not yet rebounded to previous lofty levels. But because the core business model that caused the company’s rise to prominence with investors is still in place, investor sentiment is expected to rebound along with customer traffic.
6. Hubspot (NYSE: HUBS)
- Quarterly Revenue Growth Year Over Year: Up 37 percent, to $89.1 million
- Quarterly Earnings Growth Year Over Year: A loss of $9.5 million compared to a loss of $11.1 million for 2016
- Stock Price 52-Week Range: $44.90 to $88.50
Hubspot provides marketing software for businesses to gain traffic and convert visitors to buyers. Given that most businesses have websites but might not have the technical knowledge to draw visitors, the market is huge.
Thirty-four thousand customers in 90 countries currently use Hubspot. The company is positioned to increase client subscriptions and upgrade those subscriptions to higher paying levels while improving margins. Hubspot is a good choice when it comes to tech stocks to buy.
7. Cedar Fair Entertainment Company (NYSE: FUN)
- Quarterly Revenue Growth Year Over Year: 1 percent, to a record $653 million
- Quarterly Net Income Growth Year Over Year: 9 percent, to $191 million
- Stock Price 52-Week Range: $59.66 to $72.56
It’s hard to resist a company whose stock symbol is FUN, and Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, a leading operator of amusement parks, provides fun for its customers and, in the form of excellent operating results, for its shareholders as well. “Our commitment to providing a compelling experience for audiences of all ages is the foundation of our growth strategy,” said Matt Ouimet, Cedar Fair’s chief executive officer.
The company has a lower leverage ratio than its competitors, indicating prudent financial management. This dividend stock has an attractive cash yield of 5.5 percent; the board of directors increased the dividend to an annual rate of $3.56 per unit.
8. Facebook (NASDAQ: FB)
- Quarterly Revenue Growth Year Over Year: Up 47 percent, to $10.33 billion
- Quarterly Net Income Growth Year Over Year: Up 79 percent, to $4.71 billion
- Stock Price 52-Week Range: $114.77 to $184.25
Facebook has virtually no competition. The key to its success is three-fold: First, it’s a network that encourages friends, and friends of friends, to sign up to see what’s going on. Second, the data voluntarily supplied by its members makes micro-targeting ads a cinch. Third, the site has over 2 billion users per month and is still growing. As a bonus, Facebook also owns Instagram, WhatsApp and Oculus VR. Facebook could still be considered a growth stock, even though its share price is a bit high.
Time for a Portfolio Review
At the close of the year, it’s always good to take a look at your stock portfolio’s performance and see if it is time to replace one or more stocks with new ones. Keeping a list of potential additions like these eight good stocks to buy right now can help you build a strong portfolio in the upcoming year.