Do you have $5,000 that you can afford to invest right now? One year ago, if you were to invest that much into shares of AbbVie (ABBV 0.42%), FedEx (FDX -1.37%), or Alibaba Group (BABA 2.04%), you would have made at least $1,000 regardless of which stock you chose. And it's not too late to invest in them today.
These businesses are still growing, and I think their shares can still generate double-digit returns in 2021. With multiple industries covered, they can even be great investments to hold together to help diversify your portfolio. Here's what these companies are up to and why their stocks are still buys.
Healthcare is a reliable sector to invest in because many companies, including AbbVie, sell products that are needs -- not wants -- for millions of people around the world. On Feb. 3, the company released its fourth-quarter results. Net revenue of $13.9 billion for the period ending Dec. 31, 2020, grew 65.9% year over year. The bulk of that growth can be attributed to its acquisition of Botox maker Allergan. But even on a comparative basis and assuming the Allergan transaction closed at the start of 2019 (the actual date was May 8, 2020), the company still generated 6.8% growth. Adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $2.92 were a 32.1% improvement from the prior-year period. AbbVie forecasts that for 2021, that number will come in between $12.32 and $12.52, which will be an improvement of at least 16.7% from the $10.56 adjusted diluted EPS number that it reported for the full year 2020.
With a portfolio of drugs that now spans immunology, aesthetics, eye care, women's health, and neuroscience, AbbVie has some excellent diversification, making it an ideal stock to hang on to for the long term. And although its current price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 37 looks high when compared to the average stock on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust that trades at 28 times earnings, after factoring in future profits, AbbVie's forward P/E falls to less than nine. It's a cheap healthcare stock that can put that $5,000 to work, paying a dividend that yields 4.8% -- well above the S&P 500 average of around 1.6%. The stock has slightly underperformed the markets over the past year, rising 13% while the index is up over 16%.
With a modest valuation, a solid mix of products, and more growth on the way, AbbVie gives investors a great way to earn a strong return (through dividends and capital gains) without taking on much risk.
In an increasingly online world, a logistics company like FedEx looks to be another great place to invest in right now. Its next earnings report comes out in March, and it could be an exceptional one. Online retail giant Amazon is coming off a spectacular quarter during which not only did its revenue of $125.6 billion beat analyst projections, but its per-share profits were nearly double what Wall Street was expecting.
And where there's online shopping, there's going to be a need for a company like FedEx to move products. In its most recent earnings release, on Dec. 17, 2020, FedEx's sales for the period ending Nov. 30, 2020, totaled $20.6 billion and grew by 19.1%. That month, the company also announced it was beginning to ship coronavirus vaccines from both Moderna and Pfizer to the U.S., which will bring even more business for FedEx in the near future.
While FedEx won't transport every vaccine, it's just another example of why its upcoming quarters could look particularly strong. With a P/E of 28, it's not at a higher valuation than the average S&P 500 stock, and in the past year, its shares have soared 66%. Whether you're looking at the short term or long term, FedEx is a top growth investment you can add to your portfolio that also pays a modest dividend of around 1%.
If you're worried about the pandemic, investing in Chinese-based Alibaba could be another solid option for your portfolio. The Chinese economy grew 2.3% in 2020, while other countries around the world were struggling to contain the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. And the Chinese economy is on pace for a record-breaking quarter to start the year, with one analyst from Absolute Strategy Research expecting growth to be in the neighborhood of 20%.
Alibaba offers a wide variety of products and services. From its Alipay payment platform to cloud computing and online retail, its business is in a great position to benefit from a strong national economy. It doesn't hurt that it is coming off a strong quarter to end the year. On Feb. 2, Alibaba reported $33.9 billion in sales for the period ending Dec. 31, 2020, which was up 37% from the prior-year period. And its annual active consumers over the trailing 12 months totaled 779 million, which was 22 million more than during the period ending Sept. 30, 2020.
The stock's P/E multiple of around 30 looks cheap when compared to tech giant Alphabet and the 35 times earnings multiple where it currently trades. And while Alibaba doesn't offer a dividend, its 23% returns in the past 12 months could have still generated some great profits for your portfolio. Alibaba makes for a good investment, whether you are looking for a growth stock to add to your portfolio (that isn't trading at an obscene valuation), or just want to diversify your portfolio and draw on gains made outside of the U.S.