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It's not often that you get to see, in real time, how some of the analysts you follow are performing. With our CAPS system, that's now possible. Even more rare is the ability to get real-time updates on what analysts are buying and selling -- all for free.
But that's exactly what we offer at The Motley Fool, through our Real-Money Stock Picking program. Eleven of the Fool's in-house analysts are making real purchases with the Fool's money. I've highlighted three of those buys, and the reasoning behind them. At the end, I'll offer up access to a special premium report on one of the three companies.
Clean Harbors (NYSE: CLH )
The goal of this company is to help clean up messes -- usually physical, environmental ones -- caused by today's businesses. Even more importantly, Clean Harbors has an eye toward preventing those messes in the first place. For those reasons, the company was an easy selection for Alyce Lomax, who is building out a portfolio of "Prosocial" companies.
Recently, Clean Harbors' stock hasn't been performing too well. The market hasn't been too crazy about the company's acquisition of Safety-Kleen, which refines and recycles used oils. But though things might not look great for the short term on the balance sheet, Alyce thinks this represents a business that will be integral in supporting sustainability across many industries.
The other thing that has shares down right now, oddly enough, is the lack of serious major disasters. That might sound backwards, and maybe it is, but when there's not too much to clean up, there's less business. Just goes to show that not all "prosocial" companies are designed to do well when things are good.
Still, Alyce thinks now is a good time to buy: "Times of weakness are the best times to buy, and in my opinion, Clean Harbors' recent share price weakness has been overdone."
Most people think that because of the death of the PC -- and the rise of smartphone, tablets, and other cloud-based systems -- hard-disk-drives will soon be a thing of the past. Not so, says Jim. Instead, he points to the fact that these cloud-based pieces of information -- think of all those pictures on Facebook -- have to be stored somewhere, and hard-disk drives are still the cheapest and most effective ways of doing so.
Nearly 90% of the market is controlled by Western Digital and Seagate Technology (NASDAQ: STX ) , but Jim is convinced that Western Digital is in a far better position with its balance sheet to reward investors over the long run.
Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL )
Finally, we have a stock that, based on PEG ratio, is one of the cheapest stocks on the market. Like Jim Mueller before him, Fool analyst Anand Chokkavelu already owns shares of Apple, but he doesn't mind going back in for more.
From where Anand sits, Apple's recent slide has a lot to do with the future: worries over competition, margin compression, and attempts to grow an already gargantuan business. While those concerns are certainly real, Anand simply thinks Apple deserves more than the forward P/E of just 9 that the company is sporting.
As he says:
Those are the multiples that a lagging, second-tier company deserves -- not a revolutionary, best-in-class company with three-year compounded sales and EPS growth rates north of 50%. Like In-N-Out Burger or the Beatles, Apple creates things that people line up for. Unlike just about every other large company on the planet, Apple's having trouble making its products fast enough to meet consumer demand.
If you'd like further consideration as to whether Apple remains a buy, we have just the thing for you. The Motley Fool's senior technology analyst and managing bureau chief, Eric Bleeker, is prepared to fill you in on both reasons to buy and reasons to sell Apple, and what opportunities are left for the company (and your portfolio) going forward. To get instant access to his latest thinking on Apple, simply click here now.