Building a $25,000 Portfolio Right Now? Here Are the Best Stocks to Buy

Investing in blue-chip stocks such as Apple and Microsoft can help you build long-term wealth and benefit from compounded gains.

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Building an equity portfolio can be tricky. You need to hold a basket of quality stocks across various sectors lowering overall risk considerably.

Moreover, it’s essential to identify companies that are armed with strong financials, enjoy a wide economic moat, and are part of a rapidly expanding addressable market. If you have $25,000 to invest right now, you can buy these three top large-cap stocks today.

Microsoft stock

Valued at a market cap of US$2.4 trillion, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is among the largest companies globally. Microsoft leads various business segments such as public cloud, gaming, and enterprise software, allowing it to end fiscal 2023 with revenue of US$211.9 billion.

It reported sales of US$56.2 billion in the fiscal fourth quarter (Q4) of 2023 (ended in June) with adjusted earnings per share of US$2.69 per share.

Microsoft enjoys an early-mover advantage in the artificial intelligence space with a multi-billion-dollar investment in OpenAI, the company which owns and operates ChatGPT. Due to its diversified business segments, Microsoft aims to surpass US$500 billion in annual sales by 2030.

Analysts remain bullish on MSFT stock and expect shares to surge over 20% in the next 12 months. Microsoft also pays shareholders a quarterly dividend of US$0.68 per share, and these payouts have risen at an annual rate of 11.3% in the last two decades.

Apple stock

The largest company globally by market cap, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is also among the most popular brands. Similar to Microsoft, Apple is also a major player across segments such as smartphones, personal computers, wearables, and others.

Apple reported a third consecutive quarter of revenue decline in fiscal Q3 (ended in June) of 2023 as hardware sales fell year over year. However, its Services business, which includes verticals such as the App Store, Apple Care, Apple TV+, and Apple Music, continued to drive sales higher. This higher-margin business now accounts for 25% of sales and 41% of profits, making it a key segment for the tech giant.

In the last five years, Apple’s sales grew 68% while operating income rose 48%. Down 10% from all-time highs, AAPL stock has surged 250% in the last five years and 1,000% in the past 10 years.

Alimentation-Couche Tard stock

The final stock on my list is Alimentation-Couche Tard (TSX:ATD) which has already returned 645% to shareholders since August 2013. In the last 10 years, ATD stock has increased dividends at an annual rate of 27% which is quite exceptional for a company valued at $67 billion by market cap.

Despite its outsized gains, ATD stock trades at 17.6 times forward earnings making it an ideal buy for value investors.

Part of the retail sector, ATD has a coast-to-coast presence in Canada and has outlets in 47 U.S. states. It also has a leading market share in several European markets. The company has reported consistent profits since its initial public offering in 1986 and has increased earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization by 15% annually since 2013.

Analysts remain bullish on ATD stock and expect shares to gain 15% in the next 12 months.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium service or advisor. We’re Motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer, so we sometimes publish articles that may not be in line with recommendations, rankings or other content.

Fool contributor Aditya Raghunath has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Alimentation Couche-Tard. The Motley Fool recommends Apple and Microsoft. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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