I spent most of December taking a look at my favorite stocks in different sectors for the year ahead. My due-diligence road trip led me to unearth my top investing idea in the following industries:
In the spirit of the NFL playoffs, I figured I'd take a closer look at my five postseason picks, in hopes of crowning the ultimate champion.
And the runners-up are …
Yes, I know the valuation is a bit lofty, but have you seen another publicly-traded tech stock growing faster in this recessionary environment? Analysts see earnings more than doubling this fiscal year (which ends later this month) and climbing by another 65% over the next 12 months. As companies scale back on IT spending, a migration to salesforce.com's economical solutions clearly resonates in Corporate America.
My top leisure pick is Activision Blizzard
Activision Blizzard isn't just a video game company. Between last year's merger of Activision and Blizzard Entertainment, and the disappointing performance of former top dog Electronic Arts
Buffalo Wild Wings
And the winner is: Sohu.com
I'm upbeat about salesforce.com, Activision Blizzard, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Google's chances to beat the market this year. But it's hard to resist the siren call of Sohu.com
My choice as the top growth stock in China for 2009 has it all. It's no Google on the paid-search front, though it is a definite online force. It's no NetEase.com
Sohu is like a Chinese buffet, offering investors a taste of all that the country has to offer. It's also as cheap as some Chinese buffets around town, too, trading for less than 11 times forward earnings. That's a steal when you consider that Sohu's bottom line is projected to roughly quadruple in 2008, before taking a 20% step up this year.
China's economy has been showing signs of cracking, but it's still holding up better than the rest of the world, and the government is proactively tackling its problems.
In the end, I think a portfolio with all five of these niche industry players will serve investors well in 2009. I will even track the performance of all five stocks throughout the year. However, if I have high hopes for one star to truly shine in 2009, it would have to be Sohu.
Other items on the menu:
Buffalo Wild Wings is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems recommendation. Sohu.com, NetEase.com, and Google are Rule Breakers recommendations. Electronic Arts and Activision Blizzard are Stock Advisor picks. The Fool owns shares of Buffalo Wild Wings. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is always looking for the "one" stock to own. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this article. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.