HED: 13 Stocks to Start Investing With in 2013

PROMO: These stocks are a great place for beginners to start.

by Dan Caplinger

As 2013 begins, now's the perfect time to start checking things off your resolution list. In order to get your finances looking healthier, you really need to get your money off the sidelines and put it into better-performing investments. But with the risks involved in the stock market, you want stocks you can trust.

No stock is risk-free, but below, you'll find 13 ideas for beginning investors to get their feet wet in the market.

1. Disney (NYSE:DIS)This childhood favorite is a lot more than theme parks and cartoons. With ABC and sports powerhouse ESPN under its corporate umbrella, Disney has become a media giant. After buying Pixar and Marvel Entertainment over the past decade, Disney's recent pickup of Lucasfilm will give the House of Mouse access to the blockbuster Star Wars franchise for years to come.

2. IBM (NYSE:IBM)As the creator of the PC, IBM may be best known for its computer hardware. But the company has diversified to become a one-stop shop for IT services, and IBM has enjoyed better profits as a result of its strategic shift. As it gets more involved in the hot cloud-computing area, look for even more opportunities ahead.

3. ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM)You may well drive by the biggest U.S. energy company's gas stations every day, but the oil giant's operations go well beyond your corner. With extensive oil and gas exploration going on around the world, ExxonMobil is leaving no stone unturned looking for energy. Owning ExxonMobil lets you profit from those high prices you've been paying at the pump for so long.

4. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL)Apple products may never seem to be available at a discount, but Apple's shares are giving investors a bargain these days. With shares more than 25percent off their recent highs, some analysts fear that Apple's best growth may be over. But with the latest iPhone 5 along with new products in its iPad and Mac lines, Apple has enough future prospects to have value investors looking closely at the stock.

5. Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG)With dozens of products bringing in $1 billion or more in annual sales, Procter & Gamble is a household name around the world. Investors will especially like P&G's dividend record, with 56 straight years of payout increases giving shareholders consistent, reliable income.

6. Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ)Also ubiquitous in medicine cabinets everywhere is Johnson & Johnson, with everything from Band-Aids and Tylenol to high-end medical equipment and pharmaceutical development. Plagued by recalls in recent years, J&J has an impressive dividend yield of 3.5 percent and has given long-term investors half a century of annual dividend increases to boot.

7. Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO)Beverage giant Coca-Cola has the No. 1 brand in the world, and it's made the most of it by expanding across the globe to take advantage of new growth opportunities. Sales in North America have been less than stellar, but with emerging economies increasingly interested in consumer products that the developed world takes for granted, Coke has huge potential to become as popular around the world as it is domestically.

8. Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX)As a Starbucks shareholder, seeing lines around the corner for coffee will put a smile on your face. Consumers seem happy to spend big money on their java, and with new growth initiatives aimed at expanding to juices, tea, and baked goods, Starbucks is aiming to grab customers by the stomach as well as the wallet.

9. Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-A) (NYSE:BRK-B)Oracle of Omaha Warren Buffett may be in his 80s, but he's still a force to be reckoned with in the investing world. With the company's recent decision to repurchase shares near their current price, new shareholders can feel confident that the stock's a good value right now in Buffett's eyes.

10. 3M (NYSE:MMM)Well-known for innovations like Post-it Notes, 3M is actually a massive conglomerate doing business in defense, health care, and electronics as well as office supplies. With its 2.5 percent dividend yield and 54 years of consecutive annual payout increases, shareholders will like the way 3M treats them.

11. Diageo (NYSE:DEO)This name may not be familiar to you, but liquor brands Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff, and Captain Morgan may well be. This British company has some of the strongest brand presence in the world and has been expanding its reach across the globe to find new growth opportunities. In a recession-resistant business, Diageo is a powerhouse.

12. McDonald's (NYSE:MCD)McDonald's has been the king of fast food for decades, but the company has also been nimble, getting into smoothies and premium coffee at exactly the right time. The stock has historically done well during tough times, so owning it gives your portfolio some protection from a possible downturn.

13. Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ:WFM)Dubbed "Whole Paycheck" by many, Whole Foods has nevertheless captured a loyal customer base with its organic food and other healthy offerings. The stock isn't cheap either, but with plenty of untapped growth potential, Whole Foods is worth paying a little extra for.

Start investing today
Get 2013 off on the right foot by putting your money to work. The stock market will have its ups and downs in 2013, but over the long haul, stocks have a great chance of outperforming the near-zero returns you're getting from your savings account.

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Motley Fool contributor Dan Caplinger owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway. You can follow him on Twitter @DanCaplingerThe Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Berkshire Hathaway, Disney, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, McDonald's, Starbucks, Whole Foods, and ExxonMobil, and has the options positions on Starbucks. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Apple, Berkshire Hathaway, Diageo, Disney, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Coca-Cola, McDonald's, 3M, Procter & Gamble, Starbucks, and Whole Foods.

Fool contributor Dan Caplinger owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Berkshire Hathaway, Disney, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, McDonald's, Starbucks, Whole Foods, and ExxonMobil, and has the options positions on Starbucks. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Apple, Berkshire Hathaway, Diageo, Disney, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Coca-Cola, McDonald's, 3M, Procter & Gamble, Starbucks, and Whole Foods. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not 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.