The stock market has a new look for the second half of 2021. You’ll want to keep some of the classic large-company growth stocks that have led the market for years in your portfolio for their long-term prospects. But a tilt toward value-oriented shares, stocks that do well when the economy does and small- or midcap names is in order now. The five stocks below, among the best stocks to buy now, are a diverse group, benefitting from the recovering economy, strong housing market, changing job market and consumers ready to shop.
Founded in 1902, Archer-Daniels-Midland (ADM) purchases, transports, stores, processes and markets agricultural commodities and products worldwide, with about 55% of its revenue generated outside the U.S. Global demand for soybean products, including from China, is a plus. Argus Research rates the stock a “buy” and gives the shares a price target of $80 over the next 12 months.
Investment firm Stifel (SF) initiated coverage of the online education platform, which went public in March, with a “buy” rating and a $52-a-share price target. Coursera (COUR) connects some 77 million learners with educational content from leading universities and industry providers. Digitization of the global economy and automation are driving demand for higher-education and skill-based content, according to Stifel analysts. “As the costs of traditional in-person instruction continue to rise, we expect a greater share of spending to shift to online platforms that are affordable, flexible and globally accessible,” they write.
First American Financial
The financial services firm is the third-biggest holding in Ariel Fund. First American Financial (FAF) specializes in title insurance and provides closing, escrow and other services that facilitate real estate transactions. Given strong housing sales, “it’s been a really robust market for them,” says lead Ariel manager and firm founder John Rogers.
Jacobs Engineering Group
Research firm CFRA rates the stock a “strong buy” and recently raised its target price for the shares to $176. A global focus on green infrastructure initiatives provides opportunities for growth related to markets in which Jacobs Engineering Group (J) is already a leader, such as energy storage and clean energy generation, transmission and distribution.
Levi Strauss & Co.
The market doesn’t fully appreciate the boost that earnings may get from the combined power of reopening, a resurgence in denim popularity, cost savings and investments in the brand, according to investment firm UBS. Analysts there forecast earnings per share of $1.40 in fiscal 2022—25% above pre-pandemic levels. UBS has a 12-month target of $34 a share, but that could be low given the potential for Levi Strauss & Co. (LEVI) to command a premium price-earnings multiple, say the firm’s analysts.
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