You probably knew it was coming.
The stock market sank at the end of last week after delivering tremendous gains in July and August. The bad news is that your investment portfolio is likely worth considerably less than it was just a few days ago. The good news, though, is that the pullback presents an opportunity to buy top-notch stocks at a more attractive price.
But which stocks are great picks? Here's where to invest $5,000 right now.
Any time is a good time to buy shares of Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN). You don't even have to worry about the potential for a second wave (or intensified first wave) of coronavirus outbreaks in the fall. Amazon has proven that its business will hold up just fine, even amid a global pandemic.
But Amazon isn't just a stock to buy for playing defense. Though the company claims a $1.6 trillion market cap, its growth story is far from over.
The COVID-19 pandemic has poured fuel on the fire of an e-commerce market that was already rapidly expanding. Amazon obviously benefits as the biggest e-commerce company on the planet. However, it also profits as organizations beef up their online presence and shift to the cloud. That's music to the ears of Amazon Web Services, the market-leading cloud hosting provider.
Don't overlook Amazon's other growth opportunities. The company is expanding its physical grocery operations. It's making big moves into healthcare. And with the acquisition of Zoox, Amazon just might emerge as a major contender in the self-driving car technology arena.
2. Intuitive Surgical
Intuitive Surgical's (NASDAQ:ISRG) business encountered stiff headwinds with the COVID-19 pandemic. The delays of nonemergency surgeries meant that Intuitive's da Vinci robotic surgical systems were left twiddling their robotic fingers much of the time. Although revenue is bouncing back, CEO Gary Guthart warned in Intuitive's second-quarter conference call that the company "expect[s] a challenging near to midterm environment for future capital placements as COVID-19 wears on and hospital expenditures remain constrained."
So why should you invest in Intuitive Surgical right now? Nothing has changed about the long-term growth prospects for the healthcare stock.
Thanks to the aging baby boomer generation, the number of older Americans is increasing. This trend is also occurring in many Asian and European countries. As a result, the number of surgical procedures commonly performed in older individuals will almost certainly rise, including many of the variety best suited for robotic assistance.
Intuitive Surgical also continues to invest heavily in research and development to expand the types of procedures its systems can handle. Guthart thinks that "high-quality, minimally invasive care will be more important to the future, not less so" after the COVID-19 pandemic is over. He's very likely right, and that's great news for Intuitive's future.
Like Intuitive Surgical, Mastercard (NYSE:MA) felt the sting of the COVID-19 pandemic. With travel largely curtailed, people didn't use their credit cards as much. However, CEO Ajay Banga thinks that the long-term impact of the coronavirus outbreak should be positive. "The COVID crisis has driven an acceleration in the use of electronic forms of payment, with much greater adoption of digital and contactless solutions," Banga said in Mastercard's Q2 conference call.
Mastercard is making solid progress in the contactless solutions that Banga mentioned. The company announced in August that it's launching its Shop Anywhere technology platform, which allows consumers to pay without having to take out their Mastercard credit card. The technology detects the card if it's anywhere on the consumer or stored on their phone.
Even after the pandemic ends, it's easy to see how Mastercard's Shop Anywhere technology will make it easy for consumers to use their credit cards instead of cash. It's yet another innovation that should accelerate the shift from cash and checks to digital payment methods.
Mastercard stands out as one of the best stocks to buy to profit from the move away from cash. The company enjoys a virtual duopoly with Visa in payment processing. Its management team has the vision required for Mastercard to remain a leader in the digital payment arena. It's quite possible that Mastercard could join the club of companies with trillion-dollar market caps by the end of this decade.