The stock market is a great vehicle for generating wealth over time. And that is just as true for those putting much smaller amounts of capital to work as it is for people investing tens of thousands of dollars.
With that in mind, let's look at a few attractive places to consider investing $1,000 today. Wayfair (W -0.02%), Activision Blizzard (ATVI 0.14%), and McCormick (MKC -1.29%) provide a great mix of growth prospects and financial strength.
Let's take a closer look at these three companies and why you should consider buying their stock.
Although $1,000 wouldn't be enough to purchase a single share of Amazon (AMZN 1.67%), it's plenty to buy multiple shares of and establish a position in Wayfair. The online home furnishings giant is enjoying fantastic growth lately as consumer spending stampeded into its niche during the pandemic. Sales jumped to $10.5 billion in the first three quarters of 2020 compared to $6.6 billion a year earlier.
Yet Wayfair was ready for that surge, having worked for years to craft its own fulfillment and shipping network. Its rising customer loyalty is a sign that it has succeeded in making the shopping experience better for bulky furniture items. Its rising profit margins show that it can generate healthy returns, too.
Wayfair will announce its holiday season results in late February in a report that should show a strong finish to a record 2020. But the stock should have an even brighter future as the business moves toward management's long-term profit targets.
If you're more interested in a stellar earnings record, consider McCormick, the spice and flavorings giant. It posted a strong 2020, too, with sales growth speeding to 5% compared to the 3% executives had predicted before the pandemic.
The company's cash flow also hit a record $1 billion last year, giving management plenty of capital to direct toward game-changing acquisitions to bulk up its growing portfolio.
McCormick moved into the profitable hot sauce and condiment niches by purchasing brands like French's mustard and Frank's hot sauce. It closed out 2020 with another big acquisition that should be delivering higher earnings for many years to come.
And if management's latest 10% dividend hike is any indication, a significant portion of McCormick's earnings will be heading right back to shareholders in cash payments. The Dividend Aristocrat has lifted that payout in each of the last 35 years, after all.
3. Activision Blizzard
Activision Blizzard is entering 2021 with a few massive competitive advantages. The audiences for its game franchises, including Call of Duty, have never been bigger. The developer is finding many ways to capitalize on that engagement, too, even if many players are choosing free-to-play offerings.
Thanks to success with its latest Call of Duty franchise offerings last year, Activision has a clear path toward building up the value of other brands like Hearthstone, Diablo, and World of Warcraft. CEO Bobby Kotick thinks the company can add a few more billion-dollar annual franchises to its quiver in the next year or so.
While shareholders wait for that strategy to play out, they can collect cash from a rising dividend and simply watch while Activision works to more than double its pool of engaged users from its current base of 400 million.
That's a formula for strong investment returns over time, even if your first purchase of Activision Blizzard or any other stock is relatively small.