7 Top Stock Ideas for 2023

Stocks to buy

While there are signs the economy is being to turnaround, there are still lingering fears of a potential recession. “Like a deflating holiday lawn ornament … (Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s) news conference drained investor hopes of avoiding a recession, and showed that history may again prove correct in previously warning of a potential economic downturn,” said CFRA strategist Sam Stovall, as quoted by Investor’s Business Daily. So, while finding profitable opportunities may be tough — it’s not impossible.  In fact, here are seven top stock ideas for 2023 (some of which pay dividends) that should do well.

ADBE Adobe $341.38
GOOG GOOGL Alphabet $90.25
MO Altria Group $45.58
FTNT Fortinet $50.01
O Realty Income $64.24
CRM Salesforce $130.30
VICI VICI Properties $32.78

Adobe (ADBE)

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Adobe (NASDAQ:ADBE) is on the mend after posting a strong outlook. It also outlined its process for the Figma deal. In the fourth quarter, Adobe posted revenue growing by 10.2% Y/Y to $4.53 billion. It posted strong, record cash flow from operations of $2.33 billion. The software company posted growth in Digital Media, Creative, and Document Cloud.

Adobe has millions of monthly active users. It spurred subscription signups by offering 20,000 more fonts in its offering. Customers are willing to pay more for the highest quality templates. Creative Cloud Express is at the top of the funnel business. It gives Adobe a means to upsell its paid products. In this economic client, potential customers need to try the free tier first. From there, their repeat usage leads to a sale.

The Figma acquisition is the next phase of growth. Adobe needs to navigate through the regulatory reviews first. Until the deal closes, the company will concentrate on drawing new users and retaining existing ones.

Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL)

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Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) is trading in the $90 range at the time of writing. GOOG stock lost momentum when investors sold tech stocks. Alphabet is about to reignite growth in 2023, and YouTube is positioned to benefit from the streaming boom. To maximize profits, Alphabet will introduce more actionable options for viewers. For example, to drive more shopping, it will introduce product feeds, application campaigns, and live commerce features.

Alphabet will also strengthen viewership figures in the next year. This will encourage advertisers to turn to YouTube. The company included Discovery ads by expanding them in Shorts last quarter. Advertisers saw an over 70% increase in conversions on Shorts. Also, to slow costs, Alphabet will slow its pace of hiring. Chances are high that it will trim its job count throughout 2023. The search giant will adjust its expenses depending on economic health. In the hardware segment, Google Pixel phone sales should thrive. Its launch of the inexpensive Pixel 6a will drive volume sales higher.

Altria Group (MO)

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Altria Group (NYSE:MO) is a major investor in Juul Labs, an e-cigarette manufacturer. On Dec. 9, Juul agreed to pay $1.2 billion to settle 10,000 lawsuits. This should help remove the uncertainty that hurt MO stock. In addition, Altria has a strong, consistent cash flow that it will use to retire its maturing debt. It will invest the rest of its capital in research and development on e-vapors. Before it increases such investments, Altria needs to see the Food and Drug Administration authorizing more e-vapor products.

CEO Billy Gifford believes that several factors shape the heated tobacco space. Each category of heated tobacco needs regulatory decisions. The sector needs innovation over time that addresses consumer preferences. Altria’s business is ready to pivot away from cigarettes and toward smoke-free products. It will prioritize the product category that consumers want the most. The company has an established sales force that is ready to promote the new product when it is ready.

Fortinet (FTNT)

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Fortinet (NASDAQ:FTNT) is a cybersecurity firm. It sells products like firewalls, antivirus software, and intrusion prevention systems. The SD-WAN market is growing quickly at around 45% year over year. Fortinet is growing its market share in this space. This should help the company post strong profits in 2023. Furthermore, Fortinet invested in enterprise sales. This includes direct marketing and a direct sales force.

Shareholders should expect strong growth from here. Service revenue is a big component of the overall total. Thanks to its enhanced technology, Fortinet will retain its strong position in the Fortinet security fabric. In addition, to increase margins while improving customer satisfaction, it offers FortiCare. This offering grew by 45% year over year and will keep growing.

In the last quarter, Fortinet posted total revenue of $1.15 billion, up by 33% year over year. In 2023, product revenue will likely grow in the 10% to 20% range. Growth will improve when the industry resolves the supply chain issue.

Realty Income (O)

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Realty Income (NYSE:O) is a real estate investment trust (REIT). In the third quarter, the company posted a net income of 36 cents a share. It also declared its 100th consecutive quarterly dividend increase, and now carries a dividend yield of 4.64%. The REIT benefited from owning attractively priced capital. The spread between the average cost of capital and the price of capital was 165 basis points. In 2023, Realty Income’s cap rates will move higher. As a result, it will need to operate with a disciplined approach. The company must have a favorable spread.

Realty has the option to seek acquisitions to sustain its spread. It has a few transactions in its pipeline. This will maintain its spread over the next few quarters. The company has more acquisition opportunities in the U.S. than in Europe. Realty Income also has many acquisition opportunities in the U.K.

Salesforce (CRM)

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Salesforce (NYSE:CRM) disappointed investors when it posted quarterly results and a weaker outlook. Its co-CEO also announced a departure. Salesforce posted revenue growing by 14% year over year to $7.84 billion. For the fourth quarter, the software company expects revenue of $7.932 billion to $8.032 billion. For 2023, revenue will grow by 17% year over year. Markets do not appreciate that the results and the outlook are relatively strong amid a weak economic environment.

Co-CEO Bret Taylor announced he will leave the position effective Jan. 31. Fortunately, Salesforce is in good hands with CEO Marc Benioff. The company started to feel pressure from its customers in July. The deal size shrank when clients required multiple layers of approvals. CRM stock fell as investors realized the elongating sales cycles will delay its revenue growth. When customers appreciate the cost efficiencies from Salesforce’s automation and productivity offering, orders will recover.

VICI Properties (VICI)

Source: Shutterstock

VICI Properties (NYSE:VICI) is another hot REIT to consider, with a dividend yield of about 4.8%. It has opportunities to invest with its over $4 billion of liquidity. CEO Ed Pitoniak said that VICI will put almost $1.3 billion of effective cash to work in private and public operators.

The company raised $5 billion in April and hedged its portfolio in that time. To maintain its spread from the cost of capital, VICI will look for deals that benefit its shareholders. Despite the volatility in the cost of capital, the firm’s equity held up well compared to the REIT index. Its strong equity cost gives it an advantage. Expect VICI’s valuation to rise as investors pick the strongest companies.

The company does not have any major debt maturities until 2024. Until then, it will seek accretive deals that add to its growth. Currently, VICI has a strong balance sheet. In the next two years, it will bring down its leverage through funding deals using its free cash flow.

On the date of publication, Chris Lau did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.

Chris Lau is a contributing author for InvestorPlace.com and numerous other financial sites. Chris has over 20 years of investing experience in the stock market and runs the Do-It-Yourself Value Investing Marketplace on Seeking Alpha. He shares his stock picks so readers get actionable insight to achieve strong investment returns.

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