It's no secret that the stock market is one of the greatest wealth creators on the planet. Given the proper amount of time for investment theses to play out, great companies can generate game-changing wealth for patient investors.
What folks might not realize about Wall Street is that you don't need to be a millionaire to build wealth. If you have $1,000 that won't be needed to pay bills or cover emergencies, that's more than enough to begin or further your trek toward financial independence.
Here are some of the smartest stocks you can buy right now with $1,000.
For value-stock investors, pharmacy-chain CVS Health (CVS 0.71%) looks ripe for the picking.
Healthcare stocks are usually highly defensive and perfect to buy during a recession. That's because we don't get to choose when we get sick or what ailment(s) we develop, which sustains demand for drug and device makers. The same can't be said for CVS and its pharmacy peers, which were hammered by the coronavirus lockdowns. Less foot traffic into its stores and fewer clinic visits clearly hurt multiple aspects of its business.
The good news is that this is all temporary. What was a negative last year has quickly turned into a positive catalyst, with foot traffic higher in CVS stores as people look to get vaccinated.
CVS Health's management team has also shown the ability to think outside the box. Instead of growing horizontally, the company acquired health-benefits provider Aetna in late 2018. Adding Aetna increased the organic growth rate for the combined company and is leading to significant cost synergies. It also creates an incentive for more than 20 million insured individuals to stay within the CVS pharmacy network. Pharmacy sales are where CVS generates its juiciest margins.
Additionally, don't overlook the company's buildout of approximately 1,500 HealthHUB health clinics nationwide. These clinics will be primarily tasked with getting patients who have chronic health conditions in touch with specialists. HealthHUB gives CVS Health the opportunity to build rapport with potential repeat customers to its pharmacy.
A forward price-to-earnings ratio of just over 10 is simply too low for such a profitable business.
For you high-reward/high-risk investors out there, modular furniture-maker Lovesac (LOVE -2.67%) would be a really smart stock to put $1,000 to work in right now.
I know what you're probably thinking, and you're right: Furniture isn't traditionally a high-growth industry. However, Lovesac is doing a lot of things differently in its quest to become the preferred mid-luxury furniture brand for millennials.
To start with, it offers modular furniture that can be rearranged in a variety of ways to work in any livable space. Plus, there are more than 250 machine-washable covers for the company's "sactionals" -- a sectional-styled modular couch and the company's top-selling item. And for you ESG investors, the yarn used in these covers is spun entirely from recycled plastic water bottles. The company's eco-friendly focus is bound to resonate with millennials and Generation Z.
As a shareholder of more than a year, I'm impressed by Lovesac's ability to use its omnichannel presence to pivot its sales strategy. Prior to the pandemic, pop-up showrooms and showroom partnerships were Lovesac's primary means of sales growth. But over the past year, the company's direct-to-consumer sales have skyrocketed.
It was already generating superior margins before the pandemic, but has since seen its margins expand further as it lowers its overhead due to higher online sales. This online push has moved Lovesac into the profit column about two years earlier than Wall Street had expected.
Valued at just over two times forward-year sales, Lovesac is just getting started.
If unbridled growth is more your thing, putting $1,000 to work in Singapore-based Sea Limited (SE -2.14%) could be an incredibly smart move. Sea has three operating segments, all of which are growing at a jaw-dropping pace.
For the time being, Sea's top segment from the perspective of positive adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) is its gaming arena. With people cooped up in their homes due to the pandemic, more folks turned to mobile gaming for entertainment. Sea ended 2020 with approximately 610 million quarterly active gaming users, and 73.1 million of them were paying customers. Though the quarterly active-user count was up 72% in 2020, the number of paying customers rose by 120%.
Sea also has a nascent but fast-growing digital mobile wallet segment. Last year, it handled $7.8 billion in payments and has more than 23 million people paying for its mobile wallet services. Keep in mind that people in some of the regions Sea focuses on have limited access to basic banking services.
But the key long-term growth driver for the company is its online e-commerce platform Shopee. Last year, gross orders rose 133% to 2.8 billion, while the gross merchandise value of product transacted on its e-commerce platform effectively doubled to $35.4 billion. Shopee has consistently been one of the most popular shopping download apps in Southeastern Asia, and it's just scratching the tip of the iceberg with regard to its potential.
Sea Limited is growing so quickly that Wall Street anticipates it could quadruple its sales over the next four years. That makes it well worth the premium already being paid for its shares.