5 Stocks to Buy Now for Your Retirement Portfolio

With growth stocks being hit hard, now is the time to look at these five stocks to buy.

Apr 12, 2014 at 10:30AM

Hold your breath, Fools. I'm doing something today that I've never done before: talking about not one or two great stocks to buy now ... but five.

Why am I doing that? It all started three years ago, when I publicly pledged to put $40,000 of my own money behind a total of 10 stocks for my retirement portfolio. Following my recommendations, that amount has grown to $61,560 -- an amount I'm certainly not disappointed with.

But measured against the broader market, this portfolio is -- for the first time since its inception -- floating dangerously close to falling behind the S&P 500.


Publication Date


Vs. S&P 500 (Percentage Points)













Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ:ISRG)




National Oilwell Varco (NYSE:NOV)








Whole Foods Market












Johnson & Johnson 









Source: YCharts. Prices accurate as of mid-day April 10, 2014.

As recently as December, this portfolio was outperforming the broader market by 16 percentage points. One way to look at its current performance is with disappointment -- but that wouldn't be very productive.

Instead, I think it's altogether better to look at this as a great buying opportunity. So here are the five stocks I think are definitely worthy of your consideration, broken into two subgroups.

3 stocks to buy now with sustainable competitive advantages
Sustainable competitive advantages offer shareholders more safety than other riskier choices. So here are three options that have this type of safety.



Baidu is China's largest search engine. The company's 64% market share of search in China is a huge and sustainable competitive advantage that should only improve as Baidu moves to dominate the mobile industry.

Though its stock is up over 70% in the past year, there's still a lot of incentive to buy shares. The company is the dominant search engine in China, and China is one of the world's fastest-growing large economies. As it stands now, there are still 744 million Chinese citizens who aren't using the Internet. As that number shrinks, Baidu stands to benefit.



Amazon has built out a network of expensive fulfillment centers that would make it impossible for any company to profitable match its scale. CEO Jeff Bezos has shown that he's not afraid to enter new markets and undercut the competition on price. In the end, his main goal is to create the number one company in the world when it comes to customer service.

As it stands now, e-commerce is growing like gangbusters, but according to Forrester Research, it still accounts for only 8% of all retail purchases. Amazon's stock is 20% off its yearly highs, and with so much room for growth in e-commerce, I think this is a great long-term bet.


Source: National Oilwell Varco. 

National Oilwell Varco, or NOV, which will soon be splitting into two separate businesses, is so ubiquitous that many refer to it as "No Other Vendor." That alone should tell you just how sustainable this company's competitive advantages are. As long as the world is looking for energy underground, NOV will be a force to be reckoned with.

But for a while now, Wall Street hasn't been showing the company much love. Instead of complaining, though, we can take advantage of it. NOV's backlog is at a record $16.2 billion, and demand for both floating and land rigs is strong, especially abroad.

2 riskier stocks to buy now
The reason these companies earn a "riskier" designation is because their advantages aren't quite as sustainable or stable.



First, we have Apple. The company has yet to come out with a new product or product line that really "wows" us since Steve Jobs passed away.

That being said, the company is trading for dirt cheap right now. The iPhone 6 is likely around the corner, CEO Tim Cook keeps tell us that big things are on the horizon, and aggressive buybacks and a nice dividend are added bonuses. If you believe the days of innovation at Apple are still alive, now's a good time to buy.


Source: Intuitive Surgical.

Finally we have Intuitive Surgical, maker of the da Vinci surgical robotic system. The company has been hit hard lately, as some have begun to question the efficacy of using the da Vinci in hysterectomies -- a major operation for the company -- and hospitals have become wary of spending millions on new machines in the era of the Affordable Care Act.

But da Vinci's new Xi machine, with the improved maneuverability of four pivoting arms and 3-D high definition imaging could eventually become a game-changer. Right now, urology and gynecology are the heavy hitters for the company, but that could easily expand into thoracic and head/neck surgeries in the coming years.

It's a risky stock because the company's success depends on doctors' continued adoption of the machine. If it really does help outcomes and recovery, it could be a big win. While that's still a big "if," it's one I think is worth investigating.

3 more stocks to own for the rest of your life
Back when I started this portfolio, my goal was to select 10 "hold-for-life" stocks.  Though it may not play out that way, everyone deserves the piece of mind that comes from such holdings.  

You know what stocks I think are great long-term candidates, but you search doesn't need to end there. Our CEO, legendary investor Tom Gardner, has permitted us to reveal The Motley Fool's 3 Stocks to Own Forever. These picks are free today! Just click here now to uncover the three companies we love. 

John Mackey, co-CEO of Whole Foods Market, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors.

Brian Stoffel owns shares of Amazon.com, Apple, Baidu, Google (C and A shares), Intuitive Surgical, Johnson & Johnson, National Oilwell Varco, PriceSmart, Starbucks, and Whole Foods Market. The Motley Fool recommends Amazon.com, Apple, Baidu, Google (A shares and C shares), Intuitive Surgical, Johnson & Johnson, National Oilwell Varco, PriceSmart, Starbucks, and Whole Foods Market and owns shares of Amazon.com, Apple, Baidu, Google (A and C shares), Intuitive Surgical, Johnson & Johnson, National Oilwell Varco, Starbucks, and Whole Foods Market. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

1 Key Step to Get Rich

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better. Whether that’s helping people overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we can help.

Feb 1, 2016 at 4:54PM

To be perfectly clear, this is not a get-rich action that my Foolish colleagues and I came up with. But we wouldn't argue with the approach.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich" rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

"The Motley Fool aims to build a strong investment community, which it does by providing a variety of resources: the website, books, a newspaper column, a radio [show], and [newsletters]," wrote (the clearly insightful and talented) money reporter Kathleen Elkins. "This site has something for every type of investor, from basic lessons for beginners to investing commentary on mutual funds, stock sectors, and value for the more advanced."

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better, so it's nice to receive that kind of recognition. It lets us know we're doing our job.

Whether that's helping the entirely uninitiated overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we want to provide our readers with a boost to the next step on their journey to financial independence.

Articles and beyond

As Business Insider wrote, there are a number of resources available from the Fool for investors of all levels and styles.

In addition to the dozens of free articles we publish every day on our website, I want to highlight two must-see spots in your tour of fool.com.

For the beginning investor

Investing can seem like a Big Deal to those who have yet to buy their first stock. Many investment professionals try to infuse the conversation with jargon in order to deter individual investors from tackling it on their own (and to justify their often sky-high fees).

But the individual investor can beat the market. The real secret to investing is that it doesn't take tons of money, endless hours, or super-secret formulas that only experts possess.

That's why we created a best-selling guide that walks investors-to-be through everything they need to know to get started. And because we're so dedicated to our mission, we've made that available for free.

If you're just starting out (or want to help out someone who is), go to www.fool.com/beginners, drop in your email address, and you'll be able to instantly access the quick-read guide ... for free.

For the listener

Whether it's on the stationary exercise bike or during my daily commute, I spend a lot of time going nowhere. But I've found a way to make that time benefit me.

The Motley Fool offers five podcasts that I refer to as "binge-worthy financial information."

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. It's also featured on several dozen radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable ... and I don't say that simply because the hosts all sit within a Nerf-gun shot of my desk. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers contain timeless advice, so you might want to go back to the beginning with those. The other three take their cues from the market, so you'll want to listen to the most recent first. All are available at www.fool.com/podcasts.

But wait, there's more

The book and the podcasts – both free ... both awesome – also come with an ongoing benefit. If you download the book, or if you enter your email address in the magical box at the podcasts page, you'll get ongoing market coverage sent straight to your inbox.

Investor Insights is valuable and enjoyable coverage of everything from macroeconomic events to investing strategies to our analyst's travels around the world to find the next big thing. Also free.

Get the book. Listen to a podcast. Sign up for Investor Insights. I'm not saying that any of those things will make you rich ... but Business Insider seems to think so.

Compare Brokers