Whether you're new to investing or a pro, it's smart to keep some cash handy to use when opportunities arise. Investing in stocks is a surefire way to build wealth, provided you can identify and buy ones that will make your money work for you.

Options are diverse and abundant, from stocks riding megatrends and established industry leaders to luring turnaround plays. Here are four such stocks you could invest in right now if you have $5,000 cash to spare.

Renewable energy won't stop growing

Brookfield Renewable Partners' (BEPC -1.15%) (BEP -0.66%) investment objective is"to deliver long-term annualized total returns of 12%-15%, including annual distribution increases of 5%-9% from organic cash flow growth and project development." You're looking at double-digit annual returns if you own the stock. 

Brookfield Renewable is one of the world's largest renewable energy companies, specializing in hydropower but expanding into solar and wind. The renewables sector offers exciting growth prospects as the world shifts from fossil fuels to cleaner sources of energy.

A person looking up at a chalkboard that reads, "Where to Invest?"

Image source: Getty Images.

Brookfield has been able to generate strong cash flows and grow its dividend at a compound annual rate of 6% in the past couple of decades. Its recent acquisition of TerraForm Power is paying off. With a massive project development pipeline to back, management expects funds from operations to grow 6%-11% to support that 5%-9% annual dividend growth in the long term. The stock is at the top of its game in the industry, wants to pay you fatter dividends each year, and currently yields a decent 2.9%. Sounds like a great bet.

This gold stock is minting money

Gold stocks are great investments when the markets are as volatile as they've been this year. While several gold miners are doing well, I like Franco-Nevada (FNV -0.85%) because of its business model.

Franco-Nevada isn't a miner; it's a streaming and royalty company that buys metals from miners at discounted prices in exchange for funding them upfront. That eliminates much of the cost and risk associated with mining, and the low purchase price means big margins for Franco-Nevada.

FNV Chart

FNV data by YCharts

Earlier this month, Franco-Nevada reported a net earnings margin of 55% for its third quarter -- a record for the company. It added 25 new royalties in the quarter. It now expects its full-year gold equivalent ounces to come in at the higher end of its guidance range of 475,000-505,000. Revenue from energy assets should also be near the top of its predicted range of $60 million-$75 million. 

With gold prices likely to remain firm, Franco-Nevada could continue to be one of the top-performing gold stocks.

An appealing e-commerce stock

E-commerce was already taking off before it got a tailwind from the coronavirus pandemic, which has driven more people and merchants online than ever. Shopify (SHOP 0.60%) has been a big beneficiary thanks to its platform, which enables merchants of all sizes to set up online stores, manage inventory, track payments, and run ads.

Shopify knocked it out of the park in the third quarter, reporting record gross merchandise volume, revenue, and operating income. A record number of merchants also became paid Shopify subscribers during the quarter, signaling the platform's stickiness, which is crucial for an e-commerce company.

Shopify also expanded its social media offerings by launching its TikTok channel for merchants to market their products on the rapidly growing social media app. In Q2, Shopify joined forces with Walmart and enabled merchants to customize storefronts within Facebook and Instagram.

Shopify's war chest -- it held $6.12 billion in cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities as of Sept. 30, 2020 -- provides plenty of room to innovate and pursue growth opportunities within a massive addressable market. It's a compelling growth stock to consider.

A turnaround story in the making?

General Electric (GE 0.43%) should appeal to contrarian investors right now. Under CEO Larry Culp's leadership, the conglomerate is trying to turn its fortunes around, and it might finally be gaining some ground.

In its latest quarter, all four of GE's segments -- aviation, healthcare, power, and renewable energy -- generated strong profit margins, driven by higher revenues in all but its aviation unit. GE also generated positive free cash flow (FCF) worth $514 million in Q3. It expects fourth-quarter FCF to be around $2.5 billion. If GE can hit that number, it would be a remarkable full-year improvement over 2019.

Beyond 2020, GE's turnaround program could bolster its power and renewable energy segments. In healthcare, GE just partnered with GenesisCare to work on cancer and cardiovascular treatments. The aviation segment could bring in lots of FCF for GE once travel returns to normal post-pandemic.

The road ahead might be rocky, but GE's latest quarterly report signals progress that's worth investors' attention.