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The year 2018 has already been a doozy, at least as far as Wall Street’s concerned. The market’s been up and down (and then up again), and the first quarter isn’t even over yet. But it will be soon, so in the meantime, here’s a quick look at the best stocks to buy for March.
Some of the month’s top picks are timely, some are on a roll and some are just plain cheap. All of them are worth a look in the weeks ahead.
Cinemark Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: CNK)
Cinemark Holdings, the movie theater chain, may seem like an old-fashioned pick, but it still looks like one of the best stocks to buy now.
CNK just posted an impressive quarter, beating on revenue and smashing earnings per share expectations, earning 82 cents versus the 48 cents per share analysts expected. On top of that, the company raised its quarterly dividend by 10 percent to 32 cents per share, which clocks in at a respectable 2.9 percent annual yield.
Another reason investors should be bullish on not just CNK but the movie theater industry, at least in the short term, is the advent and prosperity of MoviePass, a $7.95 monthly subscription plan that allows users to go to as many movies as they want each month (with certain limitations, such as no more than a movie a day).
This is great for Cinemark and others in the industry because MoviePass pays them the full price of a ticket each time someone goes. And with MoviePass reaching 2 million subscribers faster than even Netflix (NFLX) did, it’s a rising tide.
Investors need not be reminded of what those do to proverbial boats.
WellCare Health Plans (WCG)
WCG is a health care plan provider that specializes in government-sponsored programs like Medicaid and Medicare.
And while you can decide how much this observation is worth, WellCare Health Plans has one of the more beautiful long-term charts of the best stocks to buy for March. So its long-term “technicals,” as market-watchers say, are sound.
But its fundamentals look pretty darn good too. While the stock trades for 27 times earnings, it goes for a modest 17 times forward earnings and a measly two times cash and 9.3 times free cash flow. Since free cash flow is an arguably even more important metric than earnings, those numbers are far lower than they should be for any growing firm.
And WCG is a growing firm, averaging revenue growth of 18 percent annually over the last five years.
Cinemark and WCG both have secular drivers going for them in MoviePass and the baby boomer segment, respectively.
Avangrid might not have the same obvious catalyst, but it’s still one of the best stocks to buy for March. AGR, as a $15 billion gas utility, is a more traditionally conservative pick. And after a modest pullback in the last quarter or so, this low volatility pick looks like a timely pick going forward.
With AGR currently paying a 3.5 percent dividend and a flurry of recent insider acquisitions, shares are a low-risk bet that income investors should appreciate.
Park Hotels & Resorts (PK)
If income investors will “appreciate” Avangrid, they’ll likely “lose their minds” for Park Hotels & Resorts, a REIT paying a dividend more than twice as large as AGR’s.
Largely because Park Hotels is a real estate investment trust, a tax-advantaged structure that requires the company to pay out at least 90 percent of its income in order to avoid corporate taxes, PK is able to pay a remarkable dividend of 8.4 percent.
Typically that larger dividend means there’s less capital appreciation to be expected – you can’t reinvest quite as much in the business if you’re shelling out 90 percent of profits to shareholders – but that’s perfectly fine for certain types of investors.
While 2018 hasn’t been too kind to PK stock – shares are down 7 percent thus far – it’s provided a nice buying opportunity for opportunistic investors. In fact, one metric in particular shows why PK deserves to be considered one of the truly cheap stocks: the price-to-book ratio, which sits at 0.94.
Take-Two Interactive Software Inc (TTWO)
If you’re not much of a risk-taker, stick to the first four picks, which were agnostic as to the direction of the market in the coming month. But if you’re confident in the markets going forward, then TTWO is probably the best of the best stocks to buy for March.
That’s because it’s almost a purely momentum play: the video game developer is up 98 percent in the last year alone.
Between fiscal 2017 and fiscal 2019, TTWO earnings per share are expected to nearly double from $2.59 to $5.06, as the parent of the Rockstar Games and 2K labels continues to grow. With hit franchises such as Grand Theft Auto, NBA 2K, and Red Dead Redemption to its name, TTWO will be a blue-chip video game developer for years to come.