A full 23 months ago, I started identifying 10 companies that I would be putting $40,000 of my own retirement money behind. This was, has been, and will continue to be my way of helping the world to invest better.
Since then, that sum of money has grown to $50,960 -- a 27.4% increase and $1,320 better than if I had just invested the money in the S&P 500.
Every month, I look over these stocks to see which three are tempting. I call these my "Buy Now" stocks because I think they're pretty good deals. Read the chart below to see how the whole portfolio has performed, check out my best buys, and at the end I'll offer up access to a special premium report on one of the 10 stocks that's been floundering lately.
Vs. S&P 500
National Oilwell Varco
Johnson & Johnson
Source: Fool.com. All numbers accurate as of market close March 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.
First on my list of best buys is a company that's been a mainstay on here: Chinese search engine giant Baidu. To be honest, anyone following this portfolio is probably tired of hearing my reasoning for thinking Baidu is such a great stock at this price, so -- at the risk of exposing myself to big-time confirmation bias -- here's a sampling of other Fool analysts who have been singling the stock out.
Just this week, Fool Daniel Sparks called Baidu out as one of two stocks to buy this month, saying: "Baidu's substantial investments in research and infrastructure promise to create more opportunities."
Fool Dan Caplinger called Baidu his one stock to buy in April, reminding investors: "Baidu has expansion plans beyond China, and its prospects for picking up market share in other lucrative emerging Internet markets look bright."
And technology guru Andrew Tonner called Baidu the best value in all of technology, saying: "Every so often the stock market does investors a real favor and that's the case with Baidu."
I don't point these three out to say, "See? I'm right!" Rather, as I myself am running out of new reasons to say the stock's a buy, I'm offering some other opinions, all voiced within the past two weeks.
National Oilwell Varco
In a perfect world, we'd be able to use the energy the sun gives us to meet our wants -- that's the way it worked for millions of years. But that's not the world we live in right now, and for the developing and industrialized nations, getting energy from the earth is one way to meet our heightened demands.
Rather than extracting oil and natural gas from the earth, National Oilwell is focused on providing the parts necessary for oil and gas companies to get the job done. Trading at just 10 times expected earnings and with the world's appetite for energy not looking to subside anytime soon, I think this is a good pick at today's prices.
I'll be the first to admit that the company isn't necessarily cheap -- a grocery store with a forward P/E of 25 is pretty high. But Whole Foods is much more than just a grocery store. It is leading people back to food grown with consideration for and in harmony with nature.
While some are worried that margins might be shrinking, I see this as a shortsighted take. The move back to organic food isn't just a fad -- its going to be around for decades. And with just one-third of potential U.S. stores built out, there's a still a lot of room for growth.
Why isn't Intuitive Surgical on the list?
Investors in Intuitive Surgical, the maker of the daVinci Robotic Surgical System, might be wondering why it didn't make my list of buys this month, given its 15% decline since late January.
The bottom line is that with the president of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists calling into question the daVinci's usefulness with hysterectomies, I want to wait and see what happens.
If you'd like a second opinion, Intuitive Surgical expert Karl Thiel believes a visible path to long-term growth persists. Will Intuitive capitalize or will it be crushed by unforeseen pitfalls? His report highlights all of the key opportunities and risks facing the company -- and includes a full year of ongoing updates as key new hits -- so be sure to claim your copy by clicking here now.
The article 3 Buy-Now Stocks 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. It owns shares of Amazon.com, Apple, Baidu, Google, Intuitive Surgical, Johnson & Johnson, National Oilwell Varco, 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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