Investing in the stock market can seem like a daunting task, especially for beginners. Figuring out which stocks to buy and which to sell and trying to parse what the financial pundits are saying are a challenge even for experienced investors.

But the good news is that it doesn't have to be that complicated. By focusing on high-quality businesses, even novice investors can do well in the stock market. 

If you've got $1,500 ready to invest after paying off any high-interest debt and putting aside a large enough emergency fund, then take a look at these three outstanding companies that could supercharge your portfolio's long-term returns. 

1. Etsy

Specialty e-commerce site Etsy (ETSY -2.35%) just reported strong third-quarter results. Gross merchandise sales were down 3.3% over the prior-year period, but revenue was up 11.7%, driven by a higher take rate, which means that Etsy was able to charge higher fees for the activity that occurs on its platforms. It booked a net loss of $963 million due to write-downs on the values of Depop, a secondhand fashion reseller, and Elo7, known as the Etsy of Brazil, both of which it acquired in 2021.

Etsy ended Q3 with 94.1 million active buyers and 7.4 million active sellers. Although both figures were down from a year earlier, investors shouldn't be alarmed. My view is that the business is dealing with a normalization period following the growth surge that occurred in 2020 and 2021. Etsy remains a top shopping destination for buyers looking for unique and handcrafted merchandise. And the services the company provides to sellers to help them run and grow their small businesses are unmatched. 

With shares down 55% in 2022, Etsy now trades at a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 36. This appears expensive at first glance. However, when you consider the company's rapid historical growth and strong outlook over the coming years, coupled with its impressive profitability, it might be a good decision to pay up for Etsy stock right now.

2. Home Depot

Top home-improvement chain Home Depot (HD -0.55%) continued its stretch of posting solid numbers with its most recent report. Its revenue rose by 6.5% in its fiscal 2022 second quarter, which ended July 31. Comparable-store sales were up 5.8% on a year-over-year basis, and diluted earnings per share came in at $5.05.

The company not only serves DIY customers, but also professionals in the trades like plumbers, contractors, and electricians. Home Depot generates about half of its overall revenue from the Pro segment. That's a big advantage it has against smaller rival Lowe's, which trails in that segment. Pro customers tend to visit home-improvement stores frequently and spend more. 

Unsurprisingly, rising mortgage rates and a cooling housing market can have adverse impacts on Home Depot's business. But its management team is optimistic, suggesting that project backlogs remain strong. What's more, even though Home Depot is already a massive business, it is pursuing a gargantuan $900 billion market opportunity 

Home Depot's stock has fallen by 30% this year as a softening economy and its negative impact on the housing market present a challenging environment for its business. Shares now carry an attractive P/E ratio of under 18, which is slightly cheaper than the S&P 500's valuation. This is a superb business that operates in a massive industry, so investors might want to buy shares today. 

3. Nike

In its fiscal Q1 2023, which ended August 31, leading apparel business Nike's (NKE 0.38%) sales increased by 4% while its net income decreased by 22%. Nike's recovery from the pandemic has been uneven. In North America, its revenue was up 13%. But in Greater China, which not long ago was the company's fastest-growing market, revenue dropped 16%. Management is confident that this situation will play itself out over the next few quarters. 

Another significant problem facing the Oregon-based athletic apparel giant is its burgeoning inventory. In the latest quarter, overall inventory jumped by 44% compared to the prior-year period. And the issue was even more acute domestically, as its inventory soared by 65% in North America. Unfortunately, Nike will have to offer up more promotions and discounts on merchandise than it would like during this holiday shopping season. 

Despite near-term headwinds, Nike possesses one of the strongest consumer brands in the world. And this is supported by the business's impressive digital foundation, which counts members in the hundreds of millions. This will help the brand drive deeper connections with consumers. 

Nike's stock has taken a beating in 2022, down 44% on the year. Investors fear that the business will have a difficult holiday season with margins coming under pressure. But with shares trading at a P/E ratio of 26 -- cheaper than younger rival Lululemon Athletica -- investors should take a closer look at the sports apparel juggernaut.