If you're thinking about adding to your basket of stocks before the new year, you don't have much time. In this segment of Backstage Pass, recorded on Nov. 1, Fool contributors Toby Bordelon and Connor Allen discuss two of their top stocks to buy right now with Fool contributor Rachel Warren.
Rachel Warren: Despite a bumpy period for stocks in October, which is not at all unusual for that period of the year, the market closed the month of October out at record highs. The Dow, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq, all closed the month up by mid to upper single-digit percentages. Now usually the last couple of months of the year are a particularly strong time for stocks.
The market started out November, very strong in anticipation of another wave of corporate earnings, the upcoming vote on the infrastructure bill, the October employment report, which is due out on Friday. Historically speaking, the next three months, the November through January period, is usually the strongest period for stock. The Federal Reserve is also meeting tomorrow on Wednesday and is widely expected to announce that it's going to be scaling back some of the pandemic measures they put in place due to COVID.
Watching the markets movements today, investors seem to be very optimistic heading into the month, but it's just the first day of the month, so it'll be interesting to see what happens. But here's my question on that topic. Here we are, we're heading into the final stretch of 2021, and as we approach the new year, what is one stock that you think is a great pick for investors to kick off this market period on a high note and hold for the long term? Toby, why don't you take this question first.
Toby Bordelon: Sure. I'm going to be boring and say Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT). The recent earnings announcements we've seen from the big tech companies, Microsoft has passed Apple as the most valuable company in the pool of markets now. I think that they still held onto that. It's a huge company. You might think, "Hey, the future growth is probably the limit here." It may be yes, it probably is.
But it's a great company. It's a great one to buy and to hold for years. I think you can buy heading into the holidays, I think you can hold that for years to come. They are going to continue to deliver for shareholders and the consumers.
Don't expect ridiculous returns like 10X in three-years from Microsoft. That's not a $20 trillion company in three years, that's absurd. But you're going to get a nice steady growth, they pay a nice dividend, they're constantly buying back shares and these continue to grow their net income. They're performing really well right now.
Connor Allen: That's awesome. I'm also a Microsoft shareholder. Love that company. One of my picks for the next couple of years that I'm pretty bullish on is actually a company that I just recently started looking into. That company is Garmin (NYSE:GRMN). It's a company that I've used their products for years through their efficient equipment that they give out. They basically make these grafts for freshwater fishing, and I do a lot of that, so I've used some Garmin products in the past.
But it's a company that has a ton of optionality. They work in the running space with all the watches that they do, they actually sell to some aviation entities and the government, including the air force, and in the fishing industry as well, just like I said. They actually just recently started making sites for hunting bows as well. It's a company that has a ton of different things going on at once. The vow that they made a couple of years ago was that they were going to dominate the saltwater fishing industry as far as grafts go, and they have completely done that.
They've made well on their promise that they made and now they're trying to do that in freshwater as well. I know that's specific to one industry that they're working in, but I think that they have an opportunity to do it in a lot of different ones as well. Seems like they have some products that are very sticky. Their customers stick around. Once you start using Garmin products, you typically don't leave. They just surpassed a billion dollars of free cash flow this year. I'm expecting that growth to continue over the next few years.
Rachel Warren: Excellent. Those are both really great companies. I also think it's interesting during this time looking for companies that have these products and services that are constantly in demand, and I think that both Microsoft and Garmin for sure meet that.