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Be Like Buffett: "Bet on America" With These 3 Stocks to Buy Now

By David Jagielski – Aug 9, 2020 at 8:10AM

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The one thing the billionaire investor's always bullish on is America.

Warren Buffett believes in America -- that it will recover from a recession and from the COVID-19 pandemic. At a virtual shareholders' meeting in May, the legendary head of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A -0.41%) (BRK.B -0.58%) told investors that "nothing can basically stop America" and that "the American magic has always prevailed and it will do so again."

And Berkshire's portfolio is full of top U.S. stocks -- banks, consumer goods, healthcare companies and more -- that will rise and fall along with the American economy. Below are three stocks you can buy right now that will allow you to do the same as Buffett -- bet on America. Although Buffett doesn't own all of these stocks, they're all strong businesses with solid fundamentals that he'd likely be bullish on and that wouldn't look out of place in any portfolio.

1. Innovative Industrial Properties

Innovative Industrial Properties (IIPR 0.79%) is a real estate investment trust that gives investors exposure to the marijuana market. By targeting and buying distressed assets from cannabis growers and then leasing those assets back to them, Innovative Industrial Properties takes on strategic investments that can ensure it gets the most bang for its buck. And as long as the cannabis industry continues to grow, it won't need to worry about vacant properties, either. 

American flag.

Image source: Getty Images.

In Innovative Industrial Properties' second-quarter results, released Aug. 5, sales were up 183% from the prior-year period. Management says that's mostly thanks to acquisitions. In the six-month period ending June 30, Innovative Industrial Properties acquired 11 properties in various states with rental square footage totaling nearly 1.4 million. As of the end of Q2, the company owned 58 properties -- more than double the 22 it owned at the same time last year.

This is a great stock to use as a bet on America, because if the economy's doing well, that means consumers will continue to buy lots of cannabis and help the industry grow. That will translate into more demand for the properties that Innovative Industrial Properties owns, allowing it to earn more and bank more profit.

The San Diego-based company also currently pays a quarterly dividend of $1.06 that today yields 3.8% annually -- much higher than the S&P 500 average of about 2%.

2. Bank of America

Bank of America (BAC -1.05%) is a stock that's directly related to the success of the American economy. Although times are tough amid a recession right now, once the economy recovers and businesses and individuals return to taking out more loans, Bank of America and other financial institutions will generate more revenue -- which, in turn, will send their stocks rallying.

Buffett is confident about a recovery, not just continuing to hold but even adding to Berkshire's position in Bank of America. In recent weeks, Berkshire has put another $1.7 billion into the stock; as of the end of July, it owned an 11.8% stake. In Berkshire's most recent 13-F filing, effective May 15, it owned $19.6 billion worth of Bank of America stock.

For most of us, this would not be an easy investment to make. That's especially true after Bank of America's second-quarter results July 16, in which its net income of $3.5 billion was less than half the $7.3 billion that it netted in the same period a year ago. It also marked the second straight quarter in which the bank's net income declined.

Bank of America shares are down by more than 27% this year, and the stock's now trading at just 0.9 times book value and 12 times earnings. And with its quarterly dividend of $0.18 still intact, investors can earn a yield of 2.8%. 

3. Alphabet

Alphabet (GOOG 0.73%) (GOOGL 0.66%) is another great stock you can invest in if you're bullish on a recovery. A strong economy is one in which consumers are buying up the latest and greatest gadgets, and it means advertisers will spend lots of money to promote their newest products and services. Unfortunately (though unsurprisingly), Alphabet's ad revenue is hurting right now. 

The company released its second-quarter results on July 30, and it was the first time ever that the tech giant's sales were down from the prior-year period. Revenue of $38.3 billion declined 2% from the $38.9 billion Alphabet generated a year ago. Advertising revenue of $29.9 billion fell 8%, and net income of $7 billion was down by 30%. 

Despite the disappointing numbers, Alphabet beat expectations, as analysts were expecting revenue to fall to $37.4 billion. The company's adjusted earnings per share of $10.13 were also better than Wall Street forecasts of $8.21.

Don't forget that this was also a particularly awful quarter for the economy. In April and May, lockdowns were in place in many states, and they prevented some businesses from even operating. Cutting out advertising was an obvious move to make for struggling companies looking to conserve cash. For Alphabet, however, it meant that this quarter -- which went up until the end of June 30 -- was likely not going to be a good one. 

But that's also why there's hope that as the economy recovers, things will get better for everyone, including Alphabet, and that its ad revenue will rebound in future quarters.

Which stock should you buy today?

All three of the stocks listed here are attractive buys that can help you diversify your portfolio. Let's take a look at how they're all doing against the S&P 500:

IIPR Chart

IIPR data by YCharts

Bank of America's the only stock that isn't outperforming the index. And if you're in need of a good bank stock to add to your portfolio at a cheap price, it could be a great buy. But if it's a high dividend or growth that you're after, Innovative Industrial Properties will give you the best of both worlds, and it's the stock I'd go with right now. That said, like Buffett, I think it makes sense to bet on America. And in that sense, it's hard to go wrong with any of these stocks over the long term.

Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. David Jagielski has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), Berkshire Hathaway (B shares), and Innovative Industrial Properties and recommends the following options: short September 2020 $200 calls on Berkshire Hathaway (B shares), long January 2021 $200 calls on Berkshire Hathaway (B shares), and short January 2021 $200 puts on Berkshire Hathaway (B shares). The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Bank of America Corporation Stock Quote
Bank of America Corporation
$31.59 (-1.05%) $0.34
Alphabet Inc. Stock Quote
Alphabet Inc.
$102.09 (0.66%) $0.67
Alphabet Inc. Stock Quote
Alphabet Inc.
$102.97 (0.73%) $0.75
Innovative Industrial Properties Stock Quote
Innovative Industrial Properties
$92.87 (0.79%) $0.72
Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Stock Quote
Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
$418,954.99 (-0.41%) $-1,712.51
Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Stock Quote
Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
$277.75 (-0.58%) $-1.61

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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