10 Best Stocks for 2019: The Race Is On – Investorplace.com

We’ve reached the end of the first quarter, and the theme for the Best Stocks contest seems to be unpredictability. Pot stocks were hot, value stocks were not. The headlines changed from week to week, and even beat-and-raise earnings weren’t always enough to propel a stock forward.

All of this has meant a good deal of shuffling among the contestants over the first three months, and one stock getting out to an astounding lead by the end of March. Which one? Well, read on and find out.

The Best Stocks contest entries are listed below in ascending order of gains as of the end of trading on March 29. Those gains include the dividends, where applicable. And if you want to keep up-to-date on the contest between these quarterly updates, feel free to follow along at our Best Stocks for 2019 leaderboard, which is regularly updated so you can see who’s rising and who’s falling.

But now, without further ado, on to the contestants.

Syrah Resources (SYAAF)

Best Stocks for 2019: Syrah Resources (SYAAF)

Investor: Eric Fry
Year-to-Date Change Through Q1: -28%

Syrah Resources Ltd. (OTCMKTS:SYAAF) is an all-or-nothing sort of stock pick for a contest like this. SYAAF is set up for long-term growth thanks to the ubiquity of graphite — the main focus of this Australian company.

Graphite is used in a whole lot of the batteries that are going to power our future, including those for electric vehicles. But the company is also a one-mine operation and that mine is in Mozambique, meaning that in the short term, it can have more than its share of volatility.

And that volatility has hit hard to the downside so far in 2019, with disappointing earnings sending the stock tumbling.

That doesn’t have to define the whole year for SYAAF, but the company must show serious improvement to win back investors’ trust. As Fry wrote, “Previously, Syrah had forecast that it would produce positive cash flow from its operations by the back half of 2019. But words are cheap. The company must deliver on that forecast if it expects to retain the trust and interest of shareholders.”

Read more about SYAAF from Fry here.

LyondellBasell (LYB)

Best Stocks for 2019: LyondellBasell (LYB)

Investor: Charles Sizemore
YTD Change: 2%

LyondellBasell Industries (NYSE:LYB) is a value stock, and this set of market circumstances just aren’t being kind to value stocks. People are riding the continued strength on the back of growth stocks instead. But that doesn’t mean LYB stock is a bad security to be invested in. It just means that it’s poised for a shift in sentiment.

Now, will that happen in time to help with this year’s Best Stocks contest? As Sizemore points out, there are no guarantees. “While I believe that value stocks are ‘due’ for an extended period of outperformance, I could have made the same argument at any time over the past several years, and I’d still be waiting for the reversal,” he wrote.

But even if it just keeps up modest growth, there’s still LYB stock’s 4.4% dividend yield to keep in the back of your mind — or put in your back pocket. And if sentiment turns back to value stocks, LYB could be in for a massive surge.

Read more about LYB from Sizemore here.

Weibo (WB)

Best Stocks for 2019: Weibo (WB)

Source: Shutterstock

Investor: Kyle Woodley

YTD Change: 6%

The thesis behind picking Weibo (NASDAQ:WB) for the 2019 Best Stocks contest was simple — good Chinese stocks took a beating in 2018 thanks to the U.S.-China trade war, and that made companies like Weibo excellent rebound candidates. As Woodley wrote, “A quick refresher: Weibo shares hemorrhaged 43.5% in 2018 — a year in which the company also grew revenues by 49% year-over-year and net income by 54% year-over-year.”

It’s a sound thesis, but one that hasn’t yet borne fruit in the first quarter. Part of that has to do with the still-fraught relationship between China and the U.S. And both Weibo and Sina (NASDAQ:SINA), which owns about 46% of WB stock, posted earnings beats in March, but both of the stocks fell hard after earnings, with Weibo off over 10% at one point that day.

Why? As Woodley pointed out, “If you’re going to pick Weibo apart on anything — and investors certainly did, considering the sharp selloff after its Q4 report — it might be the company’s revenue forecast. WB is looking for Q1 sales growth of 20.5% to 23.5%, which doesn’t sound like much compared to Q1 2018’s 76% jump in revenues.”

But … that was really it. WB stock still looks strong, it just needs a nudge to start growing again.

Read more about WB from Woodley here.

Canada Goose (GOOS)

Best Stocks for 2019: Canada Goose (GOOS)

Source: Shutterstock

Investor: Will Ashworth
YTD Change: 10%

Canada Goose (NYSE:GOOS) was flying pretty high at one point in this quarter, before a downgrade from Wells Fargo shot it down.

“The company itself continues to do well heading into 2019’s second quarter. GOOS stock was doing fine through the end of February, trading above $57, putting my pick solidly in third place in InvestorPlace’s 2019 stock picking contest,” Ashworth wrote. “But oh, what a difference a month can make.”

But things haven’t completely soured for Canada Goose. It’s still a sought-after brand name and its most recent earnings were a double beat and raise. GOOS stock still has plenty to offer investors in 2019.

Read more about GOOS from Ashworth here.

Teladoc (TDOC)

Best Stocks for 2019: Teladoc (TDOC)

Investor: Jason Moser
YTD Change: 12%

Virtual healthcare company Teladoc Health (NYSE:TDOC) really charged into 2019.

The TDOC stock price stumbled a bit after earnings in February. It wasn’t the hard numbers that were a problem for investors — they just weren’t too keen on the guidance, which was below analyst expectations.

But things are still looking up for Teladoc, as the trend is going its way. As Moser points out:

“Virtual healthcare and telemedicine are happening; it’s no longer a matter of if but when, and Teladoc has done a lot to grow and diversify the business in a relatively short amount of time. One could also say that this business played an integral role in actually helping shape the legislation that is allowing virtual healthcare to become a part of the global healthcare landscape.”

And with Medicare Advantage 2020 set to add tens of millions of new potential clients to its rolls, there’s still plenty of room for TDOC stock to run even higher.

Read more about TDOC from Moser here.

Adobe (ADBE)

Best Stocks for 2019: Adobe (ADBE)

Source: Shutterstock

Investors: John Jagerson and Wade Hansen
YTD Change: 18%

Adobe (NASDAQ:ADBE) has been hanging around in the top half of the Best Stocks contest so far this year, but that has translated to more-than-acceptable gains of 18% for the quarter.

Adobe has made the sort of tech shift that companies like Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) have also been making — the shift to a subscription model instead of a plain sales model for some of its most popular software.

As Jagerson and Hansen put it, “One of the important benefits of ADBE’s shift into services, subscription and cloud products over the last few years has been an improvement in margins. This is particularly critical right now as investors prepare for poor first-quarter earnings reports from the components of the S&P 500.”

All in all, the Best Stocks for 2019 contest is far from over for ADBE stock.

Read more about Adobe from Jagerson and Hansen here.

Amazon (AMZN)

Best Stocks for 2019: Amazon (AMZN)

Investor: Readers’ Choice
YTD Change: 19%

Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) continues to have a strong showing, and no wonder. While plenty of people, up to and including President Donald Trump, have taken aim at Amazon, it seems to shrug off every salvo with a deftness that most other massive companies envy. And while they waste their time on those antics, Amazon just keeps on trying new things, bolstering the things that work, and generally being the elephant in any number of rooms.

But for Amazon to really challenge for the lead in the Best Stocks contest, it will probably need for one of its new or burgeoning business ideas to really take off. If it could take off like AWS has, that would be a game-changer, but that sort of massive success is extremely hard to come by.

Still, Amazon has a lot going for it and keeps trying new things, which means that a success big enough to move the needle is certainly possible.

Read more about AMZN here.

Viper Energy Partners (VNOM)

Best Stocks for 2019: Viper Energy Partners (VNOM)

Investor: Neil George
YTD Change: 32%

Oil prices have been undergoing a steady rise through most of the year so far (and even more so since the market bottom on Dec. 24, 2018), and Viper Energy Partners (NASDAQ:VNOM)  has benefited significantly from that growth.

Whether or not oil prices continue their growth will control how well VNOM continues to perform to some extent, but it’s not the only factor. The company is in a different position than many of its oil sector peers. As George wrote, “Viper Energy is the leading landlord of the petroleum patch primarily in the Permian Basin which is at the center of the shale oil development in the U.S. market. As a landlord, the company doesn’t drill or operate a single well — but instead, leases out its land for exploration and development companies (E&P) for fee income and royalties on the oil and gas that gets pumped out of its land.”

So VNOM stock is set up to profit even if OPEC increases their oil flow. That means the company is probably going to be in the running for the Best Stocks title all year.

Read more about VNOM from George here.

Lululemon (LULU)

Best Stocks for 2019: Lululemon (LULU)

Source: Shutterstock

Investor: Louis Navellier
YTD Change: 35%

Lululemon Athletica (NASDAQ:LULU) has been one of the primary beneficiaries of the athleisure trend, but that is only the tip of the iceberg when looking at why it has surged so strongly through the first quarter.

A feature LULU shares with tech titan Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL)  is how both companies are able to charge premium prices for their goods, a move which can only help with the financials. And the financials for Lululemon are great. Looking at the earnings reports can lead you to another of the spectacular reasons LULU is surging.

As Navellier puts it, “Lululemon’s same-store sales for the past fiscal year were up a staggering 16%. Usually, high single-digit growth is impressive.”

A membership program. Brand loyalty. Pricing power. Any investor looking for reasons to get into Lululemon can find a full plate of them, and LULU stock seems poised to keep flexing through the rest of the Best Stocks contest.

Read more about LULU from Navellier here.

Charlotte’s Web Holdings (CWBHF)

Best Stocks for 2019: Charlotte's Web Holdings (CWBHF)

Source: Shutterstock

Investor: Matt McCall
YTD Change: 81%

CBD stock Charlotte’s Web Holdings Inc (OTCMKTS:CWBHF) took the top spot in the first quarter of our 2019 Best Stocks contest.

There are plenty of reasons for this. Marijuana companies have been hot lately, for a start. Charlotte’s Web has a great story and a leadership position in the CBD sector. According to McCall, “It produces and distributes CBD wellness products to nearly 3,700 retail locations. It sells everything from tinctures to topicals to capsules, both online and in stores. It also has a line of pet-focused products, which is a niche area that is booming right now.”

And with the Farm Bill making changes to the federal legality of hemp, that sector could be expanding.

And earnings recently put a bow on this pretty package. As McCall wrote, “Fourth-quarter 2018 results were released after the close on March 28 and marked the 12th consecutive quarter of revenue growth for the company. The top line came in at $21.5 million, up 71% from one year earlier and 21% from the third quarter. Both figures are extremely impressive.”

It looks like more good things could be ahead for CWBHF, and if the trend continues, it could take the 2019 Best Stocks title going away.

Read more about CWBHF from McCall here.

Jessica Loder is an assistant editor for InvestorPlace.com. As of this writing, she did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.

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AMZN – Amazon Air launches daily service to Omaha, Nebraska

The relentless beat of expansion for the Amazon Air express network continued Thursday with the launch of daily service to Omaha, Nebraska.Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) said an inaugural flight operated by partner Silver Airways using an ATR72-500 turboprop arrived at Eppley Airfield from its regional air hub in Fort Worth, Texas. Package handling at the airport is being provided by GAT Airline Ground Support.The daily service will support faster deliveries for Prime members in Nebraska and western Iowa, areas that are seeing increased demand for online orders. Amazon opened its first fulfillment center in Nebraska, in Papillion, last year.Amazon Air last month began flying to Wichita, Kansas. It has added about a dozen destinations to its network in the past year.Silver Airways, a privately held regional airline based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, that operates passenger service in the Southeast, Bahamas and the Caribbean with small propeller aircraft and seaplanes, is Amazon’s latest outsourced transportation partner. It began flying under contract with Amazon in November, serving Des Moines, Iowa, and Albuquerque, New Mexico, from Alliance Fort Worth Airport.Click here for more FreightWaves/American Shipper stories by Eric Kulisch.RELATED NEWS:Amazon Air begins daily express delivery to Wichita, Kansas

KSS – Kohl's Responds to Director Nominations from Macellum Advisors; Company Reaffirms Commitment to Maximize Value for All Shareholders

MENOMONEE FALLS, Wis.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Kohl’s Corporation (NYSE:KSS) (“Kohl’s” or the “Company”) today issued the following statement regarding Macellum Advisors GP, LLC’s (“Macellum”) announcement of its nomination of directors for election to the Kohl’s Board of Directors (the “Board”) at the Company’s 2022 Annual Meeting of Shareholders (the “2022 Annual Meeting”):

Kohl’s believes Macellum’s effort to take control of the Board is unjustified and counterproductive. Kohl’s appointed two of Macellum’s designees, along with an additional mutually agreed upon designee, to its Board pursuant to the 2021 settlement agreement with Macellum and certain other shareholders. All members of the Kohl’s Board, other than its CEO, are independent.

Macellum’s claim that Kohl’s Board is not equipped to evaluate sale opportunities is groundless. The Board designated its Finance Committee, which is comprised entirely of independent directors, was formed pursuant to the settlement with Macellum and includes one of Macellum’s 2021 designees, to lead the review of any expressions of interest. Additionally, the Company and the Board have engaged financial advisors, including Goldman Sachs and PJT Partners, and have asked Goldman Sachs to engage with interested parties.

Furthermore, Macellum’s claim to be “disappointed and shocked” by Kohl’s rejection of the previously disclosed expressions of interest is disingenuous. Macellum has on multiple occasions stated publicly that Kohl’s is worth “at least $100 per share.”

Finally, Macellum’s comments on the Board’s adoption of a limited-duration shareholder rights plan are misleading. The Board adopted the rights plan to protect shareholder value by ensuring that the Board can conduct an orderly review of any expressions of interest and by preventing any person or group from gaining control of Kohl’s through open market accumulation.

The rights plan does not preclude the Board from considering any offers that recognize the value of the Company. Macellum itself publicly acknowledged on February 4 that the shareholder rights plan Kohl’s adopted is “still a stop, look and listen mechanism.” As demonstrated by Macellum’s latest announcement, the rights plan also does not impact shareholders’ ability to initiate a proxy contest.

The Board reaffirms its commitment to maximizing the long-term value of the Company. It will continue to pursue all reasonable opportunities to drive value, consistent with its fiduciary obligations.

Our strategy is delivering results.

As we previously announced, based on our performance in 2021, we are positioned to exceed our key 2023 financial goals two years ahead of plan. Our work to fundamentally restructure the business allowed us to achieve a nine-year high operating margin in Q3, and record Q3 earnings per share, positioning us to achieve significantly enhanced profitability going forward. These results reflect our strategic focus on transforming the operating model and making Kohl’s the leading omnichannel destination for the active and casual lifestyle.

We are optimistic about significant value creation in both the near and long term as a result of our transformational strategy. As one example, we have rolled out 200 Sephora at Kohl’s shops to date and expect to launch an additional 650 shops in the next two years, including over 400 in 2022. As we noted in our 2021 third quarter earnings, we are seeing an incremental mid-single-digit lift to store sales where we have opened Sephora at Kohl’s shops, and more than 25% of Sephora at Kohl’s shoppers are new to Kohl’s.

Kohl’s looks forward to sharing additional details on the progress against its growth strategy as well as an updated financial framework and capital allocation strategy at the previously announced Investor Day on March 7, 2022.

Shareholders are not required to take any action at this time.

The Board will present its recommendation regarding director nominees in Kohl’s definitive proxy statement and other materials, to be filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and made available to all shareholders eligible to vote at the 2022 Annual Meeting. The Company will announce details regarding the 2022 Annual Meeting in due course.

Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Information

This press release contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward looking statements include information concerning the Board’s review of expressions of interest and the Company’s business strategies, plans, and objectives. The Company intends forward-looking terminology such as “believes,” “expects,” “may,” “will,” “should,” “anticipates,” “plans,” or similar expressions to identify forward-looking statements. Such statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties, which could cause the Company’s actual results to differ materially from those anticipated by the forward-looking statements. You should understand that these forward-looking statements are not guarantees of strategic action, performance, or results. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, risks described more fully in Item 1A in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K, which is expressly incorporated herein by reference, and other factors as may periodically be described in the Company’s filings with the SEC. Forward-looking statements relate to the date initially made, and Kohl’s undertakes no obligation to update them.

Important Shareholder Information and Where You Can Find It

Kohl’s intends to file a proxy statement and BLUE proxy card with the SEC in connection with the solicitation of proxies for Kohl’s 2022 Annual Meeting of Shareholders (the “Proxy Statement” and such meeting the “2022 Annual Meeting”). Kohl’s, its directors and certain of its executive officers will be participants in the solicitation of proxies from shareholders in respect of the 2022 Annual Meeting. Information regarding the names of Kohl’s directors and executive officers and their respective interests in Kohl’s by security holdings or otherwise is set forth in Kohl’s proxy statement for the 2021 Annual Meeting of Shareholders, filed with the SEC on March 19, 2021 (the “2021 Proxy Statement”) and in Kohl’s Current Report on Form 8-K, filed with the SEC on April 14, 2021 (together with the 2021 Proxy Statement, the “2021 Filings”). To the extent holdings of such participants in Kohl’s securities have changed since the amounts described in the 2021 Filings or were otherwise not included, such changes or amounts have been reflected on Initial Statements of Beneficial Ownership on Form 3 or Statements of Change in Ownership on Form 4 filed with the SEC or will be filed within the time period specified by Section 16 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and the regulations thereunder. Additional information is available in Kohl’s Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q for the first three quarters of the fiscal year ended January 29, 2022 filed with the SEC on June 3, 2021, September 2, 2021 and December 2, 2021, respectively. Details concerning the nominees of Kohl’s Board of Directors for election at the 2022 Annual Meeting will be included in the Proxy Statement. BEFORE MAKING ANY VOTING DECISION, INVESTORS AND SHAREHOLDERS OF KOHL’S ARE URGED TO READ ALL RELEVANT DOCUMENTS FILED WITH OR FURNISHED TO THE SEC, INCLUDING KOHL’S DEFINITIVE PROXY STATEMENT, ANY SUPPLEMENTS THERETO AND THE ACCOMPANYING BLUE PROXY CARD BECAUSE THEY WILL CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION. Investors and shareholders will be able to obtain a copy of the definitive Proxy Statement and other documents filed by Kohl’s free of charge from the SEC’s website, www.sec.gov. Copies will also be available at no charge on the Kohl’s website at investors.kohls.com.

About Kohl’s

Kohl’s (NYSE: KSS) is a leading omnichannel retailer. With more than 1,100 stores in 49 states and the online convenience of Kohls.com and the Kohl’s App, Kohl’s offers amazing national and exclusive brands at incredible savings for families nationwide. Kohl’s is uniquely positioned to deliver against its strategy and its vision to be the most trusted retailer of choice for the active and casual lifestyle. Kohl’s is committed to progress in its diversity and inclusion pledges, and the company’s environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) stewardship. For a list of store locations or to shop online, visit Kohls.com. For more information about Kohl’s impact in the community or how to join our winning team, visit Corporate.Kohls.com or follow @KohlsNews on Twitter.

PBI – Pitney Bowes Recognized as One of America's Best Large Employers 2022 by Forbes Magazine

STAMFORD, Conn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Pitney Bowes (NYSE:PBI), a global shipping and mailing company that provides technology, logistics, and financial services, has been named one of America’s Best Large Employers for 2022 by Forbes magazine. This is the third year the company has been included in the rankings.

“Our people are the heart of our business. They are the ones that make Pitney Bowes a great place to work,” said Marc B. Lautenbach, President and CEO. “We are extremely honored to be included among the best employers in America. It reinforces Pitney Bowes reputation as a company that provides excellent employment opportunities, and more importantly the reservoir of good will that exists between the company and the people that work here.”

America’s Best Employers 2022 were identified in an independent survey taken by approximately 60,000 American employees working for companies with more than 1,000 workers in the United States. In total, 1,000 employers were recognized across 25 different industry sectors. The list is divided into two rankings: 500 large and 500 midsize employers. The evaluation was based on direct and indirect recommendations from respondents who were asked to rate their willingness to recommend their own employer to friends and family.

Pitney Bowes 2021 engagement survey results showed 84% of Pitney Bowes employees would recommend Pitney Bowes as a good place to work.

Other recognitions by Forbes include World’s Best Employers 2021, America’s Best Employers for Women 2021 and Best Employers for Diversity 2021. Early this year, Pitney Bowes earned a 100 score on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2022 Corporate Equality Index for the second consecutive year and was named to Bloomberg’s Gender-Equality Index (GEI) 2022.

To learn more about what makes Pitney Bowes a Best Employer visit https://www.pitneybowes.com/us/newsroom/forbes-americas-best-employers.html.

About Pitney Bowes

Pitney Bowes (NYSE:PBI) is a global shipping and mailing company that provides technology, logistics, and financial services to more than 90 percent of the Fortune 500. Small business, retail, enterprise, and government clients around the world rely on Pitney Bowes to remove the complexity of sending mail and parcels. For the latest news, corporate announcements and financial results visit https://www.pitneybowes.com/us/newsroom.html. For additional information visit Pitney Bowes at www.pitneybowes.com.