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Last Friday, we learned that Warren Buffett made $15 per second on the investment in Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS ) that he initiated during the depths of the financial crisis. That's a pretty good result for a two-and-a-half year investment, though it's highly unlikely anyone else would have received similar terms. For better or worse, our Rising Star analysts, like ordinary retail investors everywhere, must earn their money the old-fashioned way: by identifying great companies at good prices. Below, you'll find summaries of four brand-new stock recommendations from the team.
Rising Star Buy: Johnson & Johnson
Rising Star Anand Chokkavelu believes that investors now have an opportunity to buy shares in one of the all-time great companies that is trading at a cheap price. Putting his money where his mouth is, Anand purchased shares of Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ ) for his portfolio this week.
J&J, a leading player in consumer products, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices, is well-known to most investors and consumers. And right now, this bluest of blue chips is trading at a mere 11.5 times next year's earnings, despite having solid cash flows and a strong balance sheet. Anand sums up his case succinctly, saying that J&J is a "great company selling for cheap." What could possibly be wrong with that? For more of Anand's thinking, read his complete analysis.
Rising Star Buy: Clean Harbors
Looking for greener, cleaner investment ideas? Rising Star Alyce Lomax thinks she has found one in Clean Harbors (NYSE: CLH ) , so she went ahead and purchased shares of the company for her portfolio.
Clean Harbors, a provider of environmental, energy, and industrial services, is the largest hazardous-waste disposal provider in North America. Just recently, it helped out with the BP cleanup, and is now possibly headed to Japan to assist there.
Alyce, who is looking for socially responsible investments for her portfolio, likes the fact that Clean Harbors is focused on environmental cleanups and is also committed to running its business in a sustainable way. In addition to all of that, Alyce believes the company is trading at a very reasonable price, despite a recent run-up of the shares. For more of Alyce's thinking, read her entire article.
Rising Star Buy: Ascent Media
Rising Star Jim Royal is always on the hunt for special situations, and he believes he's uncovered an interesting one of late. So this week, he bought shares in Ascent Media (Nasdaq: ASCMA ) , a company that was spun off from Discovery Communications (Nasdaq: DISCA ) back in 2008.
Ascent Media, ironically, has gotten rid of all of its media operations, and has recently acquired Monitronics, a home security business. That's the business that Jim likes, and he believes that it's poised for big gains.
Monitronics has an impressive business model within a growing industry. Jim notes that Monitronics has grown its revenue at a compound rate of 22% per year from 1998 through 2010. Even with this stellar growth, Jim believes that Monitronics has room to run and that Ascent will be a good steward of the business. For more on Jim's thesis, read his piece.
Rising Star Buy: Higher One
Want to get in on a relatively young business that has promising growth prospects ahead of it? If so, then you might like Higher One (NYSE: ONE ) , which Rising Star Jason Moser recommended this week.
Higher One provides technology and payment services to colleges, but it isn't a bank and doesn't extend any credit to students. As someone who was the "Meadowlark" Lemon of check-bouncing when I was in college, that last point is important.
The real opportunity here lies in the fact that there are approximately 20 million college students in America, and they require servicing assistance with their student loans and cheap checking accounts for their banking needs. The potential here is enormous, and Jason believes "the growth prospects are impressive." To hear more of Jason's thinking, read his article.
Investing is easy
Invest in great companies at good prices. Perhaps investing is as simple as that.
To me, that sounds like a pretty compelling and straightforward approach to earning great returns, and it's not dependent on waiting for Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein to call you with a sweetheart offer to buy preferred shares of his company.
For more coverage of this week's outstanding investing ideas, click the links below: