We've had no shortage of fiscal drama in the first seven months of 2012. Even so, the S&P 500 was up 8.9% including dividends between January and Aug. 1. Those are pretty good returns.
Yet if you had used my hypothetical "World's Greatest Growth Portfolio" as a guide, you would be up 19.1%. It's been only seven months, so I'm not declaring victory anytime soon -- but the results speak for themselves.
I'll tell you what to keep your eye on in August, identify three stocks that I think are buys right now, and offer access to a premium report on one of my portfolio's stocks.
Jan. 1 Balance
Intuitive Surgical (NAS: ISRG)
Google (NAS: GOOG)
Whole Foods Market
Jan. 1 Balance
Westport Innovations (NAS: WPRT)
Jan. 1 Balance
Baidu (NAS: BIDU)
MAKO Surgical (NAS: MAKO)
As we're right in the middle of earnings season, this was a busy month. Nine of the 13 companies included in this portfolio have reported earnings since July 1.
Of course, Apple surprised everyone with disappointing results, but it wasn't the only company to be punished. Shares of Intuitive Surgical are also down sharply since results came in. And not to be outdone, fellow medical-device maker MAKO Surgical came out with some pre-earnings numbers that led to big shareholder losses.
On the flip side, six companies reported earnings that delighted investors: Amazon, Google, Whole Foods, IPG Photonics, Stratasys, and Baidu. I'd love to give you a run-down of all six stories, but there's no way I'd stay within my word limit. Click on any of the companies for a more detailed view.
Looking ahead, there are still four companies left to report. Here are their names and earnings dates.
Aug. 2 (today)
Aug. 2 (today)
Sources: Company releases, Thomson Reuters.
*2011 release date.
Three best buys right now
After digesting all that information, I can finally tell you what my three best buys are for this month. I'll be coming out with a more detailed article on this tomorrow, as I'm thinking about adding all three to my Roth IRA holdings. Here's the skinny on all three.
Intuitive Surgical seems like a quality buy right now. The company reported earnings that didn't disappoint, but the market knocked its price down because of concerns of slowed growth -- especially in Europe. While that's a valid concern for short-term investors, I think it's an opportunity for those of us who take the long-term view. There's no telling how many more less-invasive procedures the company's daVinci Robot will be able to perform in the coming decades.
My final two are the search-engine leaders for the large majority of Internet users in the world: Baidu and Google. Currently, Google is the most oft-visited site in the world, while Baidu -- the Chinese version of Google -- clocks in at No. 5.
Both companies reported solid earnings. Investors are being more cautious than they have in the past, as each is spending a lot of money now to build out its advantages in the future. There's no guarantee that this investment will pay off, but I'm willing to err on the side of superb past execution and say that at today's prices, Google and Baidu deserve strong consideration.
If you look at my portfolio, you'll see the one stock that's down the most is MAKO Surgical. The company's Rio Surgical System hasn't shown the numbers that investors hoped for. Is it a one-time occurrence, or the start of a disturbing trend? Take a look at our new premium report on the company to get the answers. Access to the report will also be accompanied by yearlong updates on MAKO. Get your copy of the report today.
The article 3 Stocks to Buy From the World's Greatest Growth Portfolio originally appeared on Fool.com.
Fool contributorBrian Stoffelowns shares of all the companies mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter, where he goes byTMFStoffel. The Motley Fool owns shares of Solazyme, Whole Foods Market, Amazon.com, Zipcar, Westport Innovations, Baidu.com, Apple, Google, MAKO Surgical, lululemon athletica, Intuitive Surgical, and IPG Photonics.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Amazon.com, Westport Innovations, Stratasys, Baidu.com, Apple, Whole Foods Market, lululemon athletica, Intuitive Surgical, Google, IPG Photonics, MAKO Surgical, and Zipcar, and creating a bull call spread position in Apple. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.
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