Trade tensions with China. A presidential impeachment inquiry underway in the U.S. House of Representatives. You might think that the stock market would be a scary place right now. Instead, major market indexes are at all-time highs.
History has shown that the stock market often "rides a wall of worry," moving higher despite macroeconomic and political concerns. Now is as good of a time as any to invest in high-quality stocks. But which stocks present the best long-term opportunities?
I think three stocks that are great picks to buy in November are Alphabet (GOOG 1.53%) (GOOGL 1.53%), The Trade Desk (TTD 1.05%), and Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX 0.06%). Here's what makes these three stand out.
Google parent Alphabet is a textbook example of why you should always dig into a company's earnings results. Investors were initially disappointed that the tech giant posted lower-than-expected earnings in the third quarter. However, those Q3 results were actually much better than they might have seemed. The lower earnings resulted primarily from a French tax settlement and a loss on equity investments. Alphabet's core businesses continued to perform quite well.
I view Alphabet as a must-have stock. The company is a flat-out cash cow, with advertising revenue from its apps including Google Search and YouTube helping to deliver free cash flow of $21 billion over the last 12 months. Alphabet sits atop a cash stockpile totaling more than $109 billion.
The company continues to use its impressive cash flow and ginormous cash position to invest in driving future growth. Most recently, it announced that it's buying Fitbit for $2.1 billion, which amounts to pocket change when you're Alphabet.
My view is that Alphabet will continue to dominate the search market. I think it will be one of the biggest winners in the self-driving car market. The company should keep its momentum going in the cloud computing market. And Alphabet is likely to create entirely new markets over the next few decades. This optionality makes the stock a fantastic pick for long-term investors, in my opinion.
2. The Trade Desk
The Trade Desk looks like a minnow compared to Alphabet's blue whale. But there are few stocks with the tremendous growth opportunities that The Trade Desk has.
You might not realize it, but there's a sea change underway in the advertising world. In the past, ad agencies negotiated for lengthy periods with media companies and often did so in face-to-face meetings. This cumbersome process is giving way to programmatic advertising, where software is used to buy and sell advertising spots. And increasingly more of those ad spots are for digital ads.
The Trade Desk arguably offers the best buy-side programmatic advertising software platform. Don't just take my word for it, though. The company won the 2018 Best Marketing Technology Solution Award in two different venues -- the Digiday Media Awards in Europe and The Wires awards from advertising data company ExchangeWire. The Trade Desk also won AdExchanger's 2019 Best Demand-Side Technology award.
Programmatic advertising is still only a drop in the bucket of the global advertising market, which is expected to hit $1 trillion over the next seven years. But nearly all advertising will be programmatically bought and sold in the future. I don't think The Trade Desk will remain a minnow for very much longer.
3. Vertex Pharmaceuticals
I've liked Vertex for a long time, but a couple of new developments for the biotech make it an even more compelling stock to buy now. Vertex won U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for cystic fibrosis (CF) drug Trikafta. The biotech also secured reimbursement for its three already-approved CF drugs in England.
FDA approval for Trikafta is a huge milestone for Vertex. Market researcher EvaluatePharma ranked Trikafta as the most valuable pipeline program earlier this year. At least one analyst thinks the drug will reach peak annual sales of more than $10 billion. To put that number in perspective, Vertex generated total revenue of a little over $3 billion last year.
The biotech's reimbursement deal in England is also a big victory. England is home to 8,000 of the estimated 10,000 CF patients in the U.K., which claims the second-largest CF market in the world. Vertex's agreement in England capped a flurry of reimbursement deals for its CF drugs in Europe.
While Vertex's sales are set to skyrocket with Trikafta and its new reimbursement agreements, I'm also excited about the biotech's pipeline. Vertex should soon advance a promising pain drug to late-stage testing. It's evaluating drugs in early stage studies targeting several rare diseases. And the company recently announced that it was acquiring Semma Therapeutics, which is developing a potential cure for type 1 diabetes.
More similar than you might think
Alphabet, The Trade Desk, and Vertex probably don't seem to have much in common, other than they're all growth stocks. However, they're more similar than you might think.
All three of these stocks have industry-leading products. All three companies compete in extremely fast-growing markets. Each of these companies also excels at innovation. I think that these common denominators will help make Alphabet, The Trade Desk, and Vertex big winners over the long run.