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More than two years ago, I identified 10 companies that I would be putting $40,000 of my own retirement money behind. This was, has been, and will continue to be my way of helping the world to invest better.

Since then, that sum of money has grown to $53,880 -- a 34.7% increase, and $3,280 better than if I had just invested the money in the S&P 500.

Every month, I look over these stocks to see which three are tempting. I call these my "Buy Now" stocks because I think they're pretty good deals.

Read the chart below to see how the whole portfolio has performed, check out my best buys and, at the end, I'll offer up access to a special free report.


Publication Date


Vs. S&P 500 (percentage points)

Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL  )








Baidu (NASDAQ: BIDU  ) *




Intuitive Surgical 




National Oilwell Varco








Whole Foods 







Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  )




Johnson & Johnson 









Source: YCharts. Prices include dividends reinvested and are accurate as of market open, July 1, 2013. *BIDU replaced ATVI on Sept. 15, 2012. Returns reflect combined positions.

Although the portfolio is actually down from last month, it significantly increased its lead over the S&P 500. And with the market down recently, there are deals to be had. Below are my three favorites.

With the price of Apple stock now sitting below $400, there's a lot of pessimism priced in. I don't fault the market for pricing Apple so low right now compared to other technology heavyweights -- it simply doesn't have the same competitive advantages as Google does with its search engine or Amazon does with its network of fulfillment centers.

Add into the fray the fact that Apple hasn't come out with any new breakthrough technologies since Steve Jobs passed, and it makes sense the stock is down more than 40% since last September.

But two things could change this course. First, if Apple were to come out with a new device -- as CEO Tim Cook keeps promising -- it would reassure investors that the company still has its innovative edge. And second, because of recent changes in how it spends its money, I'm relatively certain that Apple is purchasing backs millions of dollars of its shares while prices are so low -- a move that benefits shareholders.

Another month gone by, another chance for Baidu shareholders to bemoan the stock's perplexing stagnation. There's no doubt that earnings growth is slowing considerably for China's largest search engine, as it faces the three-headed dragon of competition from Qihoo 360, shrinking margins while it builds out its mobile advertising strategy, and a stalling Chinese economy.

But all of these factors aren't as devastating as I think they could be. Sure, they might stop Baidu from appreciating another 1,000% as it did between 2009 and 2012, but that doesn't mean there's not still tons of room for growth. Chinese citizens are still coming online by the hundreds of millions. Baidu still has the dominant market share. Keep your eyes peeled to see what management has to say when earnings come out at the end of the month.

Yes, Google stock has been on a tear recently -- up 50% in the past year.  And, yes, shares are now trading hands for more richly valued 26 times earnings.  But I simply think Google's best days are still ahead of it.

Google's leadership and culture of innovation are factors that can't really be quantified. The company's "20% time," which allows employees to spend a fifth of their working hours on independent projects, has yielded amazing results, and I don't see that changing anytime soon.

With global Internet usage continuing to rise, a dominant market share, an Android system that's on fire, and several periphery revenue channels coming online (e.g., YouTube), Google stock is a good buy for long-term, buy-to-hold investors.

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