The stock market continues to hit new, record highs daily, and while a rising tide often lifts all boats, that's not always the case for each industry and every stock.
We asked three Foolish investors to each highlight a stock that could be a raging success for investors in the current market environment. They chose National Oilwell Varco (NYSE:NOV), Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), and Callaway Golf (NYSE:ELY). Not all of these companies' industries are booming currently -- read on to find out what makes the stocks intriguing choices.
Not every industry is in a bull market today
Tyler Crowe (National Oilwell Varco): There is no investment that would fit the circumstances of any bull market, and anyone telling you otherwise is not being sincere. Each bull market has its own unique traits, and in this particular one, there is a lot of value in oil and gas stocks. Oil prices are low, and valuations across the industry are some of the lowest we have seen in decades. That's why National Oilwell Varco looks particularly compelling in this world of frothy stock valuations.
National Oilwell Varco is the premier equipment manufacturer and supplier for the oil and gas industry. As recently as 2014, the company owned 80% of the market for drilling packages on offshore rigs -- packages are all the drilling related equipment on the rig. The company has a similar presence in land drilling -- which now makes up more than 50% of revenue -- and has also been making an aggressive push into floating production, storage, and offloading (FPSO) vessels. Having such a large presence in all large-price-tag equipment also means the company has a sizable business selling replacement and aftermarket equipment.
Business hasn't been the best over the past few years, but there are a lot of signs that suggest things will get better from here. Shale drilling is going strong, offshore project costs are declining fast, and years of underinvestment will catch up to the oil market. With shares of National Oilwell Varco trading at 2.9 times tangible book value, there is a lot to like about this distressed stock in today's bull market.
An everyday-luxury-good maker
Chuck Saletta (Apple): Technology titan Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is a tremendous company to own in a bull market, and not just because it's a giant company. The key reason is the "wealth effect" associated with rising stock prices. When stock prices go up, people become -- and feel -- richer, and thus become more willing to part with their cash to buy luxury goods.
With Apple asking as much as $1,149 for its upcoming iPhone X, it clearly depends on consumers having plenty of disposable income to buy its products. That's especially true in light of the fact that Apple makes its money through an upgrade cycle that renders its high-tech gadgets obsolete in just a couple of years. So that $1,149 phone won't be worth nearly that much when the next-generation iPhone comes out and Apple expects people to repeat the purchase process again.
It might be hard to justify spending this much on a phone, especially when other manufacturers are offering strong phones for hundreds less and prior years' models are available at a fraction of the price. But in a bull market, as people feel secure in their market-driven wealth, they would be more inclined to splurge on a luxury like a top-of-the-line cellphone.
When the tide turns, however, and the wealth effect disappears, there's a very real risk that consumers will discover that they don't really need the latest and greatest phone. And that's when Apple's dependence on the wealth effect of a bull market could spell trouble.
An epic opportunity on the fairway
Rich Duprey (Callaway Golf): First and foremost, Callaway is a pure play on the sport of golf with club manufacturing responsible for 64% of the company's revenue. The company also sells golf balls, clothing, and accessories, but woods, irons, and putters are its mainstays; its Big Bertha line is one of the biggest-selling, best-known brands on the market.
Although the sport currently lacks an electric and unifying star along the lines of Tiger Woods, and the number of players had fallen to around 23.8 million at the end of 2016, this year's Masters Tournament was still able to drawn in 12.4 million viewers -- the final-round showdown between Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia alone attracted 7.6 million viewers.
The point is, golf is still immensely popular, and Callaway Golf is increasingly finding the fairways open. Competitors have moved aside recently: Adidas and Nike have stopped making clubs, balls, and golf-related equipment; Golfsmith went bankrupt; and Dick's Sporting Goods is devoting less floor space to the sport despite buying Golfsmith's assets.
That's apparently working in Callaway's favor, and last quarter the company saw sales of its line of Big Bertha Epic drivers lead the way for improving woods sales -- woods sales soared 64% for the period. The Epic clubs are purportedly designed to improve drive distance.
At just seven times earnings, shares are trading at a minuscule fraction of the company's expected growth rate, which analysts peg at 31% annually over the next five years. In a bull market such as the current one, Callaway Golf can drive your returns onto the green.
Chuck Saletta has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Rich Duprey has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Tyler Crowe owns shares of Apple and National Oilwell Varco. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Apple, National Oilwell Varco, and Nike. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.