If you’re just getting started in the stock market, I’m jealous. I remember how exciting it was at the beginning of my investing journey more than three decades now. You will win. You will lose. And if you do things right, you will learn from every revelation.
Picking your first stocks is a pretty big deal. I would love to boil down my advice to finding a company you admire in an industry you feel that you know better than most people, but obviously that’s a personal journey. If I had to start right now — and, again, lucky you — I would have to go with Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS), Target (NYSE:TGT), and Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) as the ideal best building blocks for your new portfolio.
If content is king you can’t go wrong with The Lion King. You won’t find a bigger name in entertainment than Disney. Back in 2019 — the last year that the multiplex was relevant — Disney had all six of the country’s highest grossing films. Disney operates the world’s most popular theme parks. You’ve probably heard of ESPN, ABC, Marvel, Hulu, Pixar, and Star Wars.
Despite a rough 2020 that ended with some of its theme parks closed and Disney holding back on theatrical releases as a result of the pandemic the stock hit an all-time high on the final trading day of the year. Everything that the media giant has going for it is coming together in Disney+, the streaming TV service that has managed to attract 86.8 million paid subscribers in less than 13 months of service.
Disney+ is currently just 7% of Disney’s revenue, but it’s growing up in a hurry. Mining its Marvel, Lucasfilm, and Pixar properties for shows and movies that will stream exclusively on the platform is going to keep customers close. Fans won’t flinch at the 14% price increase that is coming in March. Disney sees as many as 260 million subs by the end of fiscal 2024, and if that seems high keep in mind that the media mogul has been woefully conservative so far. Disney is disrupting its own business, and investors couldn’t be happier.
Let’s get some dividend payments into your portfolio. Capital gains will always trump interest income in a portfolio, but there’s nothing wrong with quarterly treats as reminders for being an investor. Target’s yield of 1.5% may not seem like much, but it’s tied to one of the most impressive brick-and-mortar retailers.
Target’s always had the right balance when it comes to mass market retail. It wears the “cheap chic” distinction with pride, and that makes it the cool place for penny pinchers to shop. Target is an all-weather winner. When the economy’s buzzing of course it’s going to hold up nicely. Here in a recession it’s more than earning its keep as shoppers try to get more bang for the buck.
The bull’s-eye logo has been a great place for investors aim these days. Comps skyrocketed nearly 21% in its its latest quarter. Adjusted earnings more than doubled. Target’s not a shrinking violet when it comes to the digital future. Between online ordering for in-store and curbside pick-up as well as old-fashioned e-commerce Target’s digital sales soared 155% in its latest quarter.
Making two retailers part of your first three-stock portfolio may not seem to provide the diversification investors seek, but it’s not fair to paint the country’s third most valuable company by market cap as just a shopkeep. Amazon is a tech giant.
Amazon has cracked the code on speedy delivery of all goods. It’s a leading provider of cloud-hosting services. It operates the top live streaming platform for gamers. Its Prime Video streaming service is just one of the digital entertainment offerings that make it more like Disney than Target in many regards.
The pandemic has only made us lean on Amazon more. The tech bellwether has managed to always post double-digit annual revenue growth, even through the dot-com bubble popping and now a pair of recessions. In 2020 it likely delivered its strongest top-line increase since 2011. Amazon checks off a lot of boxes for a starting investor. Disney and Target check off the boxes that are left.