5 Stocks to Buy Now
These five picks cover markets from clean energy to financial services to online education.
The stock market has a new look for the second half of 2021. You’ll want to keep some of the classic large-company growth stocks that have led the market for years in your portfolio for their long-term prospects. But a tilt toward value-oriented shares, stocks that do well when the economy does and small- or midcap names is in order now. The five stocks below, among the best stocks to buy now, are a diverse group, benefitting from the recovering economy, strong housing market, changing job market and consumers ready to shop.
Founded in 1902, Archer-Daniels-Midland (symbol ADM, $67) purchases, transports, stores, processes and markets agricultural commodities and products worldwide, with about 55% of its revenue generated outside the U.S. Global demand for soybean products, including from China, is a plus. Argus Research rates the stock a “buy” and gives the shares a price target of $80 over the next 12 months.
Investment firm Stifel initiated coverage of the online education platform, which went public in March, with a “buy” rating and a $52-a-share price target. Coursera (COUR, $36) connects some 77 million learners with educational content from leading universities and industry providers. Digitization of the global economy and automation are driving demand for higher-education and skill-based content, according to Stifel analysts. “As the costs of traditional in-person instruction continue to rise, we expect a greater share of spending to shift to online platforms that are affordable, flexible and globally accessible,” they write.
First American Financial
The financial services firm is the third-biggest holding in Ariel Fund. First American Financial (FAF, $67) specializes in title insurance and provides closing, escrow and other services that facilitate real estate transactions. Given strong housing sales, “it’s been a really robust market for them,” says lead Ariel manager and firm founder John Rogers.
Jacobs Engineering Group
Research firm CFRA rates the stock a “strong buy” and recently raised its target price for the shares to $176. A global focus on green infrastructure initiatives provides opportunities for growth related to markets in which Jacobs Engineering Group (J, $140) is already a leader, such as energy storage and clean energy generation, transmission and distribution.
Levi Strauss & Co.
The market doesn’t fully appreciate the boost that earnings may get from the combined power of reopening, a resurgence in denim popularity, cost savings and investments in the brand, according to investment firm UBS. Analysts there forecast earnings per share of $1.40 in fiscal 2022—25% above pre-pandemic levels. UBS has a 12-month target of $34 a share, but that could be low given the potential for Levi Strauss & Co. (LEVI, $30) to command a premium price-earnings multiple, say the firm’s analysts.