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Would you like to earn money while doing absolutely nothing? When you put the stock market to work for you, your money multiplies while you're free to concentrate on your hobbies, passions, and relationships. It's an inviting prospect, but jumping into the stock market can be intimidating to a first-time investor. The market is volatile, and one bad day for a company can wipe out months of gains.

Fortunately, there are safe, cost-effective stocks likely to deliver an impressive return on your initial investment. Whether you're a veteran investor or just dipping your toe in the stock market, these ten stocks to buy are your best bet. Here at Business Cafe, we present this in-depth look at the top ten stocks to buy in 2018.

Frequently Asked Questions About Buying Stock

What is the Best Way to Make My Initial Investment in the Stock Market?

How do I Know What Companies Are the Best Investments?

How Much Work Do I Need to put into Maintaining My Investments?

When is the Time to Sell My Stocks?

Are These Stocks Affordable for a First-Time Investor?

How We Reviewed The Best Stocks to Buy

The following stocks were reviewed based on the following parameters - affordability, reputation, business model, long-term stability, and a chance for growth.

Overall Price Range Of This Product

The price of stocks varies dramatically. These ten stocks range from $32 a share for Twitter to over $1,800 a share for Amazon (the world's biggest company). A higher-priced stock will get you in on a share of a massive success if you think there's still room to grow, but it's a bigger up-front risk.

What We Reviewed

  • Exxon Mobil
  • Microsoft
  • Nathan’s Famous, Inc.
  • Intuit
  • Salesforce
  • Amazon
  • Shopify
  • Teladoc
  • Twitter
  • Square

Exxon Mobil

Exxon Mobil

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Features

Exxon Mobil is one of the most powerful and successful energy companies in the world today, an American multinational oil and gas company. It produces almost four million barrels of oil daily. Although Exxon Mobil has been locked into largely the same range in the market for a decade, it is a good bet to buy now due to its shares being at their lowest point in over two years.

Pros

  • Sells a vital utility, and so is guaranteed a solid floor in the market.
  • At a low point for share price and is priced for a rebound.
  • Diversified business holdings mean a safe market strategy.

Cons

  • Controversial past involving environmental disasters and multiple lawsuits.
  • Many cities beginning to divest from fossil fuels.
  • Unlikely for the share price to rise too high.

PRICE

$80

Microsoft

Microsoft

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Features

The company synonymous with home computers has dominated the market since the 1980s and has shown no real signs of slowing down. Its focus on affordable computers for the everyday consumer has ensured it dominates the market over its higher-profile competitors like Apple. In 2018, Microsoft has risen 22%, well above the S&P's average gain. As they transition to a cloud-centric business model and incorporate brands like Azure, Dynamics 365, and Office 365, they are primed to continue their growth.

Pros

  • One of the most diversified and stable options among tech companies.
  • Affordable share price makes it easy to begin investing.
  • Already in a competitive market, making it unlikely the stock will destabilize.

Cons

  • Many competitors in a field where no one can rise too high.
  • Past conflict with the government and antitrust lawsuits.
  • Not a utility and vulnerable to economic conditions.

PRICE

less than
$110

Nathan’s Famous, Inc.

Nathan’s Famous, Inc.

Photo credit by: nathansfamous.com

Features

One of the oldest franchise restaurants in the world, this New York-based hot dog vendor has gone from a Coney Island stand to one of the most well-known brands in the market. That long history of success has made it a safe bet even in a highly competitive restaurant market. Nathan's Famous stock has dipped almost 25% in recent months but has shown signs of rebounding. This always-safe brand is at a prime time to buy and is in a less competitive space in the restaurant market compared to pizza and burger chains.

Pros

  • Century-long history of success and growth.
  • Recovering from a low point in stocks, making it a reasonable buy. 
  • Hot dog restaurant market is a less crowded space than other areas.

Cons

  • Restaurant market is an extremely competitive space.
  • Company has modest expansion plans, meaning any gains should be modest.
  • Old-fashioned vibe and limited social media presence.

PRICE

$90

Intuit

Intuit

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Features

Intuit is a business and financial software company that designs and sells accounting and tax preparation software and provides services for small businesses and individuals. Its biggest product is TurboTax software, and ninety-five percent of its business comes from the United States. Its income and revenue have been increasing by double digits every year, and management continues to predict double-digit gains in 2018. A relatively new company, Intuit's potential is boundless.

Pros

  • Provides a vital service (tax preparation) that will always be needed.
  • Steady, consistent year-to-year growth and an ambitious business plan.
  • Diversified business model designed to stand up to competition.

Cons

  • Virtually no international presence limits growth potential.
  • Several rivals exist in the tax preparation market.
  • Among the more expensive stock options on the list.

PRICE

Intuit shares can be bought on Etrade

$210

Salesforce

Salesforce

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Features

Salesforce.com, Inc is an American cloud computing company based in San Francisco, California. It primarily earns its money through a customer relationship management product, but also sells its commercial applications of social networking via acquisition and internal development. Founded in 1999, it is growing fast and is up 45% in 2018 due to its shift to a Cloud-based format. It has an excellent reputation among its workers, named the #1 company to work for by Fortune Magazine. Management's projections for 2018 are for another year of double-digit growth.

Pros

  • Among the fastest-growing companies in the stock market.
  • The diversified tech-based business model allows for rapid growth.
  • Good reputation and loyalty make it a more stable choice than many tech companies.

Cons

  • Fast-rising share price means the time to buy is as soon as possible.
  • An entirely tech-based business model makes it vulnerable to new competition.

PRICE

Salesforce shares can currently be bought on Etrade for approximately

$145

Amazon

Amazon

Photo credit by: amazon.com

Features

This powerhouse online sales company continues to grow by leaps and bounds, boasting a 54% increase in year-to-date stock prices. Jeff Bezos' company continues to make aggressive moves in the world of entertainment streaming, grocery shopping (including the acquisition of Whole Foods), and expansion into international markets.

Although its fast growth and massive size have caused public debate among politicians about whether it should be broken up, its heavily diversified business model means it is free of any antitrust concerns. Its fast delivery and convenience factor are quickly making a part of everyday life for most Americans, making it a safe bet to continue growing - and one of the highest-ticket stocks in the market.

Pros

  • Among the most powerful companies in the world, it's quickly becoming indispensable to the market.
  • The heavily diversified business model keeps growing and expanding.
  • No major competitors in the market.
  • Fast-paced international growth continues.

Cons

  • Extremely high share price.
  • The fast-growing company is becoming a political hot potato, with strikes and threats of government intervention.

PRICE

Amazon shares are available on Etrade for approximately

$1,800

Shopify

Shopify

Photo credit  by: ecommerce-platforms.com

Features

Shopify is a fast-growing Canadian e-commerce platform, best known for its proprietary platform for online stores and its partnerships with independent merchants. This has allowed the company to host over 600,000 merchants, with gross merchandise volume exceeding $55 billion. 2017 was a year of massive growth for Shopify, and many expected a minor downturn in 2018. Instead, the company has boasted an impressive 66% increase in year-to-date share price for 2018. Management has revised targeted sales upwards and expects the trend to continue.

Pros

  • The fast-growing company on the rise.
  • Stock price still among the lower-priced options on this list.
  • Dominance in the Canadian market combined with international expansion means it has a solid market to itself.

Cons

  • A competitor of the juggernaut Amazon in many areas.
  • Has faced allegations of violating Federal Trade Commission standards.

PRICE

Shopify shares can be found on Etrade for approximately

$140

Teladoc

Teladoc

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Features

Teladoc is a telehealth company that uses video and telephone technology to provide on-demand medical services via electronic devices and the internet. It is credited with changing healthcare by allowing consultations and examinations with specialists that are not on site. Since going public in 2015, it has made seven acquisitions of rival companies in the healthcare industry and is on our list of stocks to buy because its share price has been surging. In 2018 alone its stock has risen 88% year-to-date, and the company boasts aggressive plans for the rest of the year.

Pros

  • Highly innovative healthcare technology business has carved out a large share of the industry for itself.
  • Aggressive pace of acquisitions means it is likely to keep growing.
  • The stock price is among the lowest on this list.
  • Provides a vital service, ensuring durability if the economy should shift.

Cons

  • Many potential rivals in the market.
  • Concepts can be duplicated, meaning its place in the market is volatile.

PRICE

Shares of Teladoc are available for under  on Etrade

$70

Twitter

Twitter

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Features

Although the social media company known for its strict character limits and quotable tweets has been in the news a lot, (and rarely for the best reasons) it remains one powerhouse of online communication, and its stock prices match. That's why it is on our list of stocks to buy. Boasting an impressive 89% gain in year-to-year share price, it is one of the most affordable entry-level stocks and makes a solid choice for anyone with faith in the longevity of social media.

Pros

  • Among the most popular social media platforms in the world.
  • Lowest share price of any company on this list.
  • Seen as a safer, more secure alternative to Facebook.

Cons

  • Highly volatile share price common to social media companies.
  • Facing controversy over its policies on which content is allowed on the site.
  • One of many social media sites competing for a place in the market, with new ones emerging regularly.

PRICE

Twitter shares are available on Etrade for around

$30

Square

Square

Photo credit by: woocommerce.com

Features

When determining which stocks to buy one must not overlook the financial services company Square, co-founded by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, who has been praised for revolutionizing how credit card payments are processed. Their proprietary chip reader technology is installed in stores around the United States, and the company is quickly expanding across the English-language world and Japan. They have just announced a new platform for restaurants to process payments. Their stock is up 94% year-to-year and shows no sign of slowing down. Much of their technology is proprietary, protecting them from competition in the highly competitive financial services market.

Pros

  • The fastest growth of any company on the list.
  • Highly affordable share price.
  • Research and Development team continues to introduce new products, growing market share.
  • Link to Twitter gives it a massive potential audience.

Cons

  • The financial services market is extremely crowded with many competitors.
  • Controversy over their divestment from gun-related transactions has led to boycotts.

PRICE

Square shares can be purchased on Etrade for approximately

$70

The Verdict

All of these companies are providing a good bang for your buck in the stock market. They're the cream of the crop when it comes to the best stocks to buy, with strong forecasts and a solid place in their industry. However, if you're looking for the best bet for future growth and market stability, this site's pick is Square, Inc. Thanks to their technology making it easier to process payments, they're going to make their way into more industries every year. As the restaurant industry grows, so does their new platform for restaurants. At a modest $70 a share, you can get in on the ground floor of one of the most forward-thinking corporations in the country - Square, Inc.

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