Perhaps it's fitting that the day after we celebrated Worldwide Invest Better Day, I'm here to tell you exactly what stocks I'm considering investing in. You see, every month, I publicly call out five stocks that I'm considering adding to my Roth IRA; on Friday, I'll let you know which stock made the cut.
So far, my monthly picks have returned about 11%, matching the S&P 500 return over the same time frame. Read below to find out what five stocks I'm thinking about buying and why, and at the end I'll be offering up access to a special free report on the one energy stock you need to own before 2014.
One big dividend
Veolia Environnement (NYSE: VE ) was my pick as 2012's top dividend stock. The company specializes in waste- and water-management systems, with operations in Europe, Asia, and North America.
So far this year, it's been a roller coaster. CEO Antoine Frerot -- who is trying to fix the debt problems he inherited upon taking the reins -- survived a rumored coup attempt. In my opinion, this was pivotal, as he's trying to make the company leaner and more focused on providing water solutions.
Back when I bought the company, I thought its focus on our world's most important commodity (water), its price, and its dividend were all very appealing. Today, Veolia trades at just 65% of its book value, and still offers up a nice 6.3% dividend.
Hockey great Wayne Gretzky once said the difference between him and everyone else was that he skated to where the puck was going to be, not where it was. In investing, it pays to invest where technology is moving, and not where it is right now.
That's why I think both Stratasys (Nasdaq: SSYS ) and Intuitive Surgical (Nasdaq: ISRG ) are worth a look right now. I'll admit, neither of these companies is cheap by traditional metrics, but there's more to the story than just a company's price-to-earnings ratio.
Intuitive Surgical is the maker of the da Vinci robotic surgical system. Though the machine has historically been used for prostatectomies and hysterectomies, doctors are constantly tinkering -- seeing where technology could be used in other procedures.
Currently, the stock trades at roughly 36 times earnings. That's not cheap, but it is over 10% off the high the company hit back in May.
And if you think Intuitive is expensive, Stratasys shares are trading hands at roughly 64 times earnings! Though that's pretty high, consider the revolutionary technology Stratasys offers: 3-D printing.
I've detailed what 3-D printing actually is before, but in a nutshell, it's a process whereby a machine can make a three-dimensional object that is functional for everyday life. A 3-D printer simply needs the specs for a product and the necessary materials (think metal, silicon, or rubber, for example), and a few hours later -- presto! You have what you need.
Some people believe this represents the future of manufacturing. If that's true, then today's market cap of $1.2 billion is going to seem pretty small 10 years from now.
A big bet on natural gas
When it comes to investing in natural gas, there are two simple ways to approach the field. One is to invest in the actual companies that extract the natural gas. The other is to focus on the companies that benefit from a natural gas conversion, no matter what company is doing the extracting.
Because I'm more comfortable with it and it's easier for me to follow, I choose the latter. Two companies with their hands in natural gas are Westport Innovations (Nasdaq: WPRT ) and Heckmann (NYSE: HEK ) .
Westport designs engines that can run solely on natural gas, and has major partnerships in place with several companies like Cummins. Revenue grew by 134% in the first half of 2012 for the company, but it has yet to turn a profit as it invests for its future.
Heckmann, on the other hand, is focused on meeting the water demands required by energy extraction, especially fracking methods. The company has already posted impressive growth in revenue, as it's shot up 154% over the first six months of 2012. But it was the recent announcement that Heckmann was acquiring Power Fuels that really got the market excited.
Obviously, I think there's a lot of opportunity in natural gas. But if you'd like to focus on the companies that actually get the stuff out of the ground, our analysts have found one must-own stock. Check out our special free report: "The One Energy Stock You Must Own Before 2014." Inside, you'll get the name and ticker symbol of the company. Get your copy today, absolutely free!