Hedge fund manager Ray Dalio recently told CNBC that 2013 is likely to be a transition year, where "large amounts of cash will move to stock and all sorts of stuff." People will spend their cash, according to Dalio, by investing in equities and other assets.
So far in 2013, Dalio appears to be correct. The S&P 500 is up 6% for the year, after increasing by 16% in 2012. Retail investors put a record $39.3 billion into U.S. mutual funds and exchange-traded funds just last month, according to investment research firm TrimTabs.
How good are you at poker?
Will 2013 ultimately shape up just as Dalio has indicated? I honestly have no idea. I do have great respect for Dalio's knowledge of markets, and certainly wouldn't want to be sitting across from him at a poker table. As he noted in the interview, his firm spends hundreds of millions of dollars on research, and he's been doing this for 37 years. I'm definitely in no position to challenge Ray Dalio on his macro outlook.
Fortunately, I don't have to. At The Motley Fool, we tend to focus most of our energies on identifying great businesses to invest in for the long term, while paying less attention to how the overall market might be performing in the near term. With that in mind, I asked some of our top analysts from our Real-Money Stock Picks program for their best stock recommendations for 2013 and beyond. You'll find those seven recommendations in the embedded slideshow below.
Some of the companies will be familiar to you. For example, Fool analyst Alyce Lomax points to Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ: WFM) as her highest-conviction stock for long-term portfolios. She believes the company is well-positioned to benefit from growing healthy eating and sustainability trends.
Analyst Jim Mueller recommends a less well-known company named Western Refining (NYSE:WNR). The oil refiner might sound like a dull choice, but it's somehow managed to deliver total returns of 722% over the past three years. Who said your investments need to be entertaining anyway?
To see all seven top stocks for 2013, just click the arrows within the embedded slideshow below. Alternatively, you can view all of the companies by clicking the link below the slideshow.
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John Reeves has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends eBay and Whole Foods Market. The Motley Fool owns shares of Arcos Dorados, Devon Energy, eBay, Western Refining, and Whole Foods Market. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.