Have some money in your investment account that is ready to go to work but don't have a whole lot of companies on your radar? Well, you've come to the right place. We asked three of our contributors to each highlight one stock they think investors should have on their radars as their next potential buy. Here's what they had to say.
One stock that seems to be a good buy right now is used-car-selling guru CarMax, Inc. (NYSE:KMX). The company has already proven its concept can work well, and it also has a growth story that remains compelling over the long haul.
Already, CarMax is the largest retailer of used cars in the United States, selling more than twice as many cars as the next largest retailer. The company has grown its total revenue over the past decade, through fiscal year 2016, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.2%, and has grown its earnings per diluted share at 17.4% CAGR.
Furthermore, the company's gross profit isn't as reliant on used-car sales as one might think. Consider that used cars do make up a majority of its gross profit, at 55%, but wholesale generates 16% and finance another 14%, while EPP (extended protection plans) makes up 11%.
Investors can expect CarMax to continue delivering consistent growth on both the top and bottom lines as it opens more stores. Consider that between fiscal year 2012 and the end of fiscal year 2016 it went from 108 stores to 158, with projections to hit 173 by the end of FY 2017 and between 186 and 189 by the end of FY 2018.
While CarMax does business in a cyclical industry, it has a strong business model and it commands a competitive advantage due to the fractured nature of the dealership industry: It owns an extensive library of pricing and vehicle data that cannot be easily, if at all, copied. For those reasons, I think CarMax has a long road ahead of it.
While shares of oil and gas infrastructure giant Kinder Morgan Inc (NYSE:KMI) may not be as dirt cheap as they were at the beginning of the year, they remain at a bargain price, especially for such a high-quality and important company. Yes, Kinder Morgan isn't the dividend dynamo it was, after cutting its payout six months ago. But at the same time, that move wasn't one of financial necessity as much as it was a smart step to better support growth of the business without watering down shareholders by issuing more stock.
In other words, this is a great example of a company making a painful decision to make the business stronger, versus one that's forced to cut costs to avoid disaster. So far, the market continues to treat Kinder Morgan like a company that's headed toward trouble. And that's really not the case.
Yes, dozens of bankruptcies are happening across the oil and gas producer landscape. Yes, that's likely to have some impact on Kinder Morgan. However, even during bankruptcy, infrastructure companies like Kinder Morgan remain critically important to maintaining cash flows by getting products to market, so the risk here is probably overstated.
Bottom line: Kinder Morgan is one of the most important energy companies in America, and probably the most important energy infrastructure company. Its scale and geographic diversity also make it lower-risk than many of its peers. Add it all up, and this is exactly the right time to invest in high-quality, beaten-down energy companies like Kinder Morgan, and to hold your investment for years to come.
As oil and gas prices start to rise, oil refiners have really taken it on the chin. From a short-term perspective, that makes a little sense because as oil prices rise and refined petroleum product prices haven't caught up, the difference between the two shrinks and hurts refiners' profits. As we have seen over time, though, these sorts of things work themselves out in the wash over the long term, and refiners that can control operational costs and maintain disciplined capital spending do quite well. That's why refiner HollyFrontier (NYSE:HFC) should be a company to put on your "buy next" list.
Ever since Holly Corp and Frontier Oil joined forces in 2011, the management team at the combined company has been very adept at spending money in the right ways to get the most out of its refineries, such as adding refining processes that allow them to use hard-to-refine crudes that typically cost less than benchmark prices. It has also been building infrastructure that helps to deliver that crude to its refineries in the most cost-effective manner possible.
These are just a couple of the many moves that the company has made to help it generate some of the highest returns on capital employed in the refining business.
With the market pushing HollyFrontier's stock down because of the short-term refining environment, shares currently trade at their lowest in over four years and sport a dividend yield of 4.9%. It would seem that investors could take advantage of the market's short-term thinking, and this makes HollyFrontier the next stock to buy.