Tens of millions of Americans are about to receive checks for as much as $1,200 per person from the federal government. These payments are part of a $2.2 trillion stimulus bill intended to help offset the severe economic damage being caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Given that large numbers of people have lost their jobs or seen the incomes shrink, many will be using that extra money to buy food and necessities, and to pay bills. But if you're one of the fortunate people in a financially healthy enough position that you can invest your stimulus check, here are three stocks that could turn it into a far larger sum.
Warren Buffett's masterpiece, Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B), is a solid investment choice in nearly any market environment. But Buffett and his team tend to create the most value for long-term shareholders during periods of market distress. The COVID-19 crisis has certainly brought about a period of economic carnage, and investors can rest assured that Buffett is actively seeking intelligent ways to put Berkshire's massive war chest of cash to good use during this downturn.
As of its most recent quarterly report, Berkshire had more than $128 billion in cash sitting in its coffers. Even after subtracting the $20 billion that Buffett likes to keep in reserve, that leaves over $100 billion that the legendary investor can use to buy more shares of great companies -- such as Apple, Coca-Cola, and JPMorgan Chase, which are already large holdings in Berkshire's portfolio -- at sizable discounts during the current market pullback. Buffett could also potentially use his "elephant gun" to snag an even larger prize, by buying a company outright to add to Berkshire's impressive collection of operating subsidiaries.
Buying shares of Berkshire Hathaway today essentially puts Buffett to work for you. That's been a winning strategy for more than five decades, and it will likely remain a highly profitable one for years to come.
If you'd like to turn your stimulus check into an income stream, look no further than Verizon (NYSE:VZ). The telecommunications titan is a solid investment during the COVID-19 pandemic, as the utility-style nature of its wireless and internet services means its business should hold up well even during the coronavirus-induced economic downturn. Yet, unlike Berkshire, which likes to reinvest all of its profits, Verizon pays out a sizable portion of its cash flow to shareholders via a steadily growing dividend.
Verizon's stock currently yields a hefty 4.3%. Better still, it has raised its payouts to shareholders for 13 straight years -- and investors can expect more increases in the coming years.
Central banks have cut interest rates to near zero in response to the coronavirus crisis, which should result in lower interest expenses for Verizon. That, in turn, should boost its already bountiful cash flow generation. The telecom giant produced a staggering $35.7 billion and $17.8 billion in operating and free cash flow, respectively, in 2019. Between the strong demand for its wireless and internet services, and the potentially significant interest-related cost savings, investors can safely expect these figures to trend higher.
As such, Verizon is the type of stalwart business that you can count on to send cash dividends your way, quarter after quarter and year after year.
If you're looking for an aggressive growth stock that has the potential to turbocharge your return on investment, consider Shopify (NYSE:SHOP). The e-commerce platform helps businesses of all sizes build and scale their online retail operations.
With so many traditional brick-and-mortar stores now closed because of social distancing measures designed to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus disease, many businesses are likely to focus more intensely on expanding their e-commerce footprints. This will undoubtedly lead to more demand for Shopify's services. Shopify's platform already powers more than 1 million online businesses, and you can expect this figure to continue to rise rapidly.
Shopify has been growing at a torrid clip: In 2019, revenue rose 47% to $1.6 billion. It's not yet profitable, but as a primarily software-based business, Shopify should be able to achieve impressive profitability as it scales its business. Buying shares today will allow you to claim your share of this rapidly expanding e-commerce star's future profits.