"Lookin' for a way to earn some easy cash/So I can lay back and watch it roll in." -- Foghat, Easy Money
The members of Foghat were hardly the first people to dream about making easy money. And the good news is, if you pick the right stocks for your portfolio, you can let your investments do the work for you, and maybe even make you filthy, stinkin' rich over time.
Three stocks with outsized prospects for doing just that are uniform renter Cintas ( CTAS -1.08% ), oil and gas driller Apache Corp. ( APA -2.02% ), and natural gas pipeline operator Kinder Morgan ( KMI -1.23% ). Here's why I recommend them.
Big and getting bigger
Cintas has been growing fast -- much faster than the broader market. In fact, its stock price has soared almost 350% over the last five years, outpacing the gains shares of hot tech stocks like Tesla and Facebook.
The share pries gains were spurred by the company's numerous growth moves. It grew its uniform rental business organically, both by expanding into new markets and by taking market share from its competitors. It also made some savvy acquisitions of smaller rivals, including G&K Services in 2017. Finally, it leveraged its existing uniform rental routes -- vans that pick up soiled uniforms and drop off clean ones -- to offer additional services like floor mat rental, restroom restocking, and fire and safety equipment delivery. All of the supplies involved are easy for its delivery drivers to incorporate into their previously scheduled stops, adding incremental revenue to its relationships with established customers.
Cintas' growth is showing no signs of slowing. In its most recent quarter, the company's operating income was up 49.7% year over year, thanks largely to the G&K acquisition. But organic revenues grew a respectable 5.1% too. The North American uniform rental market is still very fragmented, which gives Cintas additional opportunities to grow through acquisition.
Drill, baby, drill
While Cintas can get oil out of a work uniform, driller Apache Corporation can get it out of the ground. And it does get a lot of oil and natural gas out of the ground through its drilling operations in the North Sea, Egypt, and -- most importantly -- the Permian Basin of West Texas.
The Permian Basin is red hot right now, and in 2016, Apache found a way to capitalize on the region's potential without breaking the bank. It bought 307,000 acres of land there, and -- thanks to industry misconceptions about the region's hydrocarbon potential -- only paid about $1,300 per acre for it. It called the position, which is in the Delaware Basin sub-region -- "Alpine High." It also called it a huge bargain, because after it announced that it had found more than 3 billion barrels of oil and 75 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the play, land prices in the area skyrocketed. Last month, Devon Energy purchased 10,000 acres of Delaware Basin land at $21,500 per acre -- more than 16 times what Apache paid for its position.
Given the going rates for Permian Basin land, Apache's 307,000-acre position could fetch somewhere in the neighborhood of $6 billion to $9 billion if the company decided to sell. Yet the market is valuing the entire company at just $16.3 billion right now. And Apache won't be selling Alpine High anytime soon. Instead, it's building out infrastructure in the area, and ramping up production, which it expects to grow at a compounded annual rate of more than 150%. This company has a growth story that's far from over, so if you like the idea of getting rich on black gold, Apache may be right for your portfolio.
This investment's a gas
One of the reasons Apache has been slow to ramp up production from Alpine High was the lack of energy infrastructure in the region. But our next company has energy infrastructure in spades. It's Kinder Morgan, which operates the largest natural gas pipeline network in the country.
Kinder Morgan is benefiting from the natural gas boom in the U.S., which has been driven by shale fracking. Luckily for the company, that boom has coincided with increasing global demand for natural gas. The International Energy Agency forecasts demand will grow by more than 45% by 2040. Given all that, the pipeline industry will need to grow its capacity significantly.
Fortunately, Kinder Morgan is all about growing its capacity -- it has about $7 billion in pipeline expansions underway, including the new 430-mile Permian Highway Pipeline that already has almost all of its capacity spoken for by several clients (including, incidentally, Apache). In the coming years, it anticipates adding another $2 billion to $3 billion in growth projects per year.
The company also recently boosted its dividend by 60%, plus it's paying down debt and buying back $2 billion in shares. But the stock price has been languishing in the high teens for the past year. This seems like an excellent time to snap up shares.
No free lunch
When you invest in a top stock, you let your money do the work for you, which is a pretty easy way to generate wealth. Of course, "easy" money isn't "free" money: You not only have to make the initial investment, you have to keep an eye on them, and take the risk that things won't go as planned. Given their potential for growth, though, Cintas, Apache, and Kinder Morgan all offer excellent prospects to take you on the road to riches. And you don't even have to be a rock star.