It's been almost 22 months since I introduced the World's Greatest Retirement Portfolio to Foolish readers. This was, has been, and will continue to be my way of helping the world to invest better. Putting my money where my mouth is, I pledged to put at least $4,000 behind each stock and attempt to hold each one for at least three years -- though I've already broken that promise.
Since I began, the market has returned 19.8%, which is pretty darn good by historical measures. Though this portfolio has been outperforming the market by double digits for well over a year now, it is currently ahead by just 5 percentage points.
Instead of panicking, I think it's great that the "worst" relative performance of the portfolio is still outperforming the market. I look at this as an ideal time to buy shares while they're down. Below, I'll offer up three stocks that I think are excellent buys right now, and offer access to a premium report that offers deeper analysis than I can cover in one article.
Vs. S&P 500
National Oilwell Varco
Johnson & Johnson
Source: Fool.com. All numbers accurate as of market close Jan. 31, 2013. *Returns are for position in ATVI held from July 15, 2011, to Sept. 9, 2012, and transferred over to BIDU on Sept. 15, 2012.
The downswing in performance was helped by several factors this month. Just last Thursday, the FDA announced that it had opened an inquiry into the types of training doctors received for Intuitive Surgical's da Vinci Robot surgical system, and which procedures were most appropriate for the use of the system. I'm not too worried for now, and will be waiting to see what the FDA reports.
On top of that, Whole Foods took a fairly steep dive when its outlook foretold margin compression that would cramp earnings. More on how I feel about that below.
This month's 3 best buys
As promised, more on Whole Foods: The company is one of my three best buys for this month. Here are the bare bones of my reasoning. Last year, there was a confluence of factors -- including crop yields, delivery schedules, and general climate conditions -- that allowed Whole Foods to clock in net margins of 4.40% and 4.28% in the second and third quarters, respectively.
Management warned then that these margins -- very high for the grocery industry -- wouldn't be sustainable. Apparently, that was lost on some analysts, as the stock took a dive when Whole Foods reiterated the point in the most recent earnings call. On the whole, the company continues to execute, and still has roughly 650 stores to open to reach its intended market. I think the company is a buy.
Next on my list of good buys for the month is National Oilwell Varco . Though the company beat on both revenue and earnings marks in its latest release, the market hasn't shown it too much love. As fellow Fool David Lee Smith shows, however, National Oilwell has superior margins (it's efficient) and significantly less debt (it's smart with money) than its rivals.
The bottom line with the company is this: As long as companies are searching for natural gas and oil -- especially deep-water oil -- they'll be coming to National Oilwell to meet their parts needs. Though I'd love to see a reduction in overall energy consumption in the world, or a move to sustainable energy, I'm not a fool (lowercase "f"): Oil and natural gas will be around for a while. At just 12 times earnings, this company looks like a buy to me.
Finally, we've got a company that seems to always find a place on this list: Baidu . The Chinese search engine produced results last year that speak for themselves: Revenue was up 54%, and net income increased by 58%. But because of worries about competition and increased spending to invest for the future, shares are trading hands for the cheapest (in terms of P/E) price ever!
One that I conspicuously left off the list
Like Baidu, there's another stellar company in my portfolio that's trading for its cheapest price in years: Apple. I still like the company, and have no intentions of selling, but I've already voiced my need to see that the culture of innovation is still alive and well in the post-Jobs era. Until I see that, I'll be sitting on my shares.
Regardless of your short-term view on the Chinese economy, there may be opportunity in Baidu (aka the "Chinese Google"). Our premium research report breaks down the dominant Chinese search provider's strengths and weaknesses. Just click here to access it now.
The article 3 Stocks to Buy from "The World's Greatest Retirement Portfolio" originally appeared on Fool.com.
Fool contributor Brian Stoffel owns shares of Apple, Google, Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson, Amazon.com, Baidu, National Oilwell Varco, Whole Foods Market, Intuitive Surgical, and PriceSmart. The Motley Fool recommends Amazon.com, Apple, Baidu, Coca-Cola, Google, Intuitive Surgical, Johnson & Johnson, National Oilwell Varco, PriceSmart, and Whole Foods Market. The Motley Fool owns shares of Amazon.com, Apple, Baidu, Google, Intuitive Surgical, Johnson & Johnson, 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.
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