5 Great Stocks to Secure Your Future

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Bears and bulls might be stuck in a stalemate, but opportunities exist in any economic climate. Today, I'd like to share with you five stocks I've found with bargain-basement valuations despite bright futures. All but one -- the huge growth opportunity saved for last -- offer solid dividends. Read on to discover some long-term picks for a stronger portfolio.

The world's most advanced chip maker
Intel's (NAS: INTC) yet to get mobile in a big way, but it's about to open a technological lead over the pack of ARM Holdings licensees that currently dominate the space. Moore's Law is a demanding mistress, as each successive generation of chips requires ever-greater research and development, preventing garage tinkerers from suddenly threatening Intel's position.

Impressive margins have allowed Intel to double research and  development spending in the past decade while still paying out a 3.3% dividend yield. If Intel's new tri-gate chip making processes can slice processor power use in half (as claimed), without any loss of performance, the next generation of mobile tech is quite likely to have Intel inside. But despite tall competitive barriers and a heavy war chest, Intel's priced as though it'll never grow, with a P/E barely in the double digits.

Taking care of your trash
Waste Management's (NYS: WM) name defines its industry, and it has branched out in recent years to hazardous and electronic waste, as well as recycling efforts and waste-matter power plants. These green initiatives helped earn it a spot on Ethisphere's list of The World's Most Ethical Companies, a list that's outperformed the S&P 500 every year since inception.

Waste Management's core business is not immune to economic cycles, but the company's varied operations should help protect against economic downturns and preserve its attractive yield, which currently sits at 4.1%. Shares are currently priced at just 16.5 times earnings, lower than many peers that have lower yields -- if they offer dividends at all. Better payouts at a better price? Good deal.

Banking on stability
What's cold, friendly, and has smarter banking regulations than the U.S.? Canada's financial institutions have been rock-solid as American "too big to fail" behemoths stagger. It's hard to pick just one, so how about two sides of the same coin?

Toronto-Dominion Bank (NYS: TD) has made inroads to the United States and now has more branches here than in its home country. Royal Bank of Canada (NYS: RY) went the other way and sold off its U.S. retail operations last summer. TD's acquisitiveness matches conservative Canadian governance with a compelling growth story, and RBC's retrenchment in friendlier territory should provide comfort to once-bitten, twice-shy American financials investors.

Both banks have forward P/E ratios hovering near the single digits. Their dividends (3.5% for TD, 4.1% for RBC) look quite safe. TD's paid out since 1857, and RBS is close behind with a history of payments dating to 1870. Bet your favorite stock doesn't have that kind of track record, eh?

And now for a graph
Before we move on, let's take a look at how these four bastions of stability have held up against the S&P 500 since the start of the recession:

Four for four against the index isn't too shabby, but I think my final selection could blow them out of the water going forward.

The next Intel?
Genome sequencing costs are dropping so rapidly that it'll soon be cheap enough (and fast enough) to become a routine procedure. That opens up an enormous market -- in the United States alone, there were 1.2 billion visits to medical practices last year, four for every single person living in the country. Every visit won't require a genome screen, but even a fraction represents huge opportunity.

Life Technologies (NAS: LIFE) and its innovative new sequencing machine seem best poised to capitalize. Don't forget global demand, either -- Life Tech stuck a foot in the Chinese market's door when it partnered with a Guangzhou diagnostics company earlier this week.

There is a gulf between decoding and understanding, but a more complete and more varied genomic database is the only real way to gain that understanding. The genome is one of science's biggest puzzles, and right now we only have a few pieces. Life Tech's role in uncovering the rest of the puzzle seems likely to reap big rewards for shareholders over the long term.

The market doesn't seem to have fully grasped this potential, assigning the company a tepid forward P/E of 11.3. Could Life Tech be health care's Intel? It's too early to tell, but there's far more promise than risk in my eyes. It may not take too long to find out how big this opportunity is, since sequencing might cost as little as $100 a pop within the next three years.

I've made bullish CAPScalls on each company here, so you can hold me accountable for my choices. However, these aren't the only stocks that have long-term potential. If you're seeking stability, the Fool's report on 11 rock-solid dividend stocks should have just what you need. These companies lead their industries and are favored by smart investors (like our analysts). Grab your free copy while it lasts -- just click here.

At the time this article was published Fool contributor Alex Planes holds no financial position in any company mentioned here. Add him on Google+ or follow him on Twitter for more news and insights. The Motley Fool owns shares of Waste Management and Intel. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Waste Management and Intel, as well as creating a bull call spread position in Intel and writing a covered strangle position in Waste Management. 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.

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