top stocks to invest in now

Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) and Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) are two of the largest, most dominant semiconductor companies in the world.Interestingly, shares of both have dramatically underperformed their benchmark, the Nasdaq Composite, over the last five years for various reasons that we’ll explore below.

INTC data by YCharts.

What’s gone wrong at these long-vaunted chipmakers, and should investors consider purchasing either stock today? In this article, I’ll examine Intel and Qualcomm through three different lenses in order to determine which company’s shares look like the better buy today. Let’s dive right in.

Financial fortitude

Two financial titans indeed, Intel and Qualcomm simply ooze balance-sheet strength. Take a look at these four important measures of solvency and liquidity to better help frame our discussion.

CompanyCash and InvestmentsDebtCash From OperationsCurrent Ratio Qualcomm $29.8 billion $11.7 billion $6.0 billion 1.9 Intel $14.9 billion $25.2 billion $21.8 billion 1.7

Data sources: Yahoo! Finance.

top stocks to invest in now: UNITIL Corporation(UTL)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Lisa Levin]

    In trading on Friday, utilities shares tumbled by 1.21 percent. Meanwhile, top losers in the sector included Korea Electric Power Corporation (ADR) (NYSE: KEP), down 3 percent, and Unitil Corporation (NYSE: UTL), down 3 percent.

  • [By Lisa Levin]

    In trading on Thursday, utilities shares fell by 2.01 percent. Meanwhile, top losers in the sector included Unitil Corporation (NYSE: UTL), down 9 percent, and NiSource Inc. (NYSE: NI), down 5 percent.

top stocks to invest in now: Live Nation Entertainment, Inc.(LYV)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By WWW.THESTREET.COM]

    For his “Executive Decision” segment, Cramer checked in with Michael Rapino, president and CEO of Live Nation Entertainment (LYV) , a stock that’s up 44% since Cramer last spoke with him a little more than a year ago but also one that fell 3% in today’s session on what appeared to be solid quarterly results.

top stocks to invest in now: 3M Company(MMM)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By WWW.THESTREET.COM]

    Who are the likely candidates for the next round of upgrades? Cramer said he’s betting that 3M (MMM) will be in the mix, along with Walmart (WMT) and especially Home Depot (HD) , which should have a strong spring planting season with good comparisons to last year. Investors might also see upgrades on Honeywell (HON) and Nike (NKE) , Cramer suggested.

  • [By Demitrios Kalogeropoulos]

    Investors looking for brighter prospects should consider two other blue-chip giants, 3M (NYSE:MMM) and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ). Both are exposed to the consumer goods industry, but also get significant chunks of sales and profits from faster-growing segments.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Second, how will the Dow get to that big magic number? Well, the six biggest stock weightings in the DJIA are: Goldman Sachs (GS), 3M (MMM), International Business Machines (IBM), UnitedHealth Group (UNH), and Boeing (BA). What you will notice looking at a day like yesterday is that tech led the way sector wise. If the Dow is going to outperform, we need mega caps to outperform. We need those six stocks to outperform. So we need a day where financials and industrials outperform to get there. Given the trends in sector leadership, that is bound to happen…We are one Trump tweet talking about how yuuuuuuge Goldman Sachs is away from 20k.

  • [By Paul Ausick]

    3M Company (NYSE: MMM) traded up 0.75% at $191.74. The stock’s 52-week range is $163.05 to $192.14, and the high was posted this afternoon. Volume was about 40% above the daily average of around 1.8 million shares. The company announced a $2 billion acquisition of the personal-safety unit of Johnson Controls.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Time To Favor Optionality: Most macro data are similar to, or better than, when the merger was announced. As a result, the same returns have been obtainable, with significantly less stress, simply through owning 3M (MMM) or a basket of chemical companies that approximate the Dow-DuPont portfolio. Relative to the chemical sector, performance has been average, leverage appears reasonable but near-term FCF less-than compelling partly due to new capacity ramping. With the merger likely to close in the near-term (90% chance, in our view), we believe Dow-DuPont will have an opportunity to show how scale creates optionality. The overhaul at Celanese (CE) over the past few years shows the way.

  • [By WWW.THESTREET.COM]

    We saw this pattern with 3M (MMM) , one of my favorite stocks, which got crushed, falling from $177 to $173 because of what the headline writers called a weak consumer-products division. Sure, you can pull a line and see an unexpected decline. But declines do not necessarily mean weakness, which, to me, connotes a failure to have the right product and flagging sales. If you go listen to the conference call, you discover that the weakness had to do with a particularly retailer’s troubles. Sure, you could argue, why do we trust this company? I come back and say, you trust them because CEO Inge Thulin has been money in the bank for years and there’s no reason not to trust him.

top stocks to invest in now: Transdigm Group Incorporated(TDG)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Mitchell Clark]

     This firm is not a household name. This Cleveland-based company, in the aerospace parts business, has approximately $12.0 billion in market capitalization on the stock market.

    TransDigm Group Incorporated (NYSE:TDG) doesn’t pay a regular dividend, but often pays out one-time, special dividends. In the past, they’ve been pretty hefty.

    Selling pumps, motors, power systems, and basically anything you can image that’s part of an aircraft, TDG’s been growing its financial results at a good clip.

  • [By Lee Jackson]

    Transdigm Group Inc. (NYSE: TDG) had a director at the company step in and buy stock in a big way last week. That director purchased a total of 91,000 shares of the stock at prices ranging from $247.16 to $247.89. The total for the trade came in near $22.7 million.The company designs, produces and supplies aircraft components in the United States. Its stock closed trading last Friday at $251.488.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    TransDigm Group (TDG) soared to the top of the S&P 500 today after beating earnings and sales forecasts.

    Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

    TransDigm gained 6.5% to $245.88 today, while the S&P 500 finished little changed at2,293.08.

    TransDigm reported a profit of $2.57, beating forecasts for$2.47, on sales of $814 million, topping the Street consensus for $804.5 million.

    TransDigm’s market capitalization rose to $13.1 billion today from $12.3 billion yesterday.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    TransDigm (TDG) sunk to the bottom of the S&P 500 today after its earnings topped the Street consensus but its guidance disappointed.

    Shares of TransDigm fell 7.1% to $$252.96 today, while the S&P 500 finished little changed.

    TransDigm reported a profit of $3.29 a share, better than the $3.20 expect by analysts, on sales of$875.2 million, below forecasts for $884.26 million. Worse still, the airplane-part manufacturer said it would earn $11.84 to $12.12 a share in fiscal 2017, below forecasts for$12.80.

    TransDigm’s market cap fell to $13.5 billion today, from $14.5 billion on Friday.

top stocks to invest in now: Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc.(CBRL)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Jake L’Ecuyer]

    Cracker Barrel Old Country Store (NASDAQ: CBRL) shares tumbled 2.50 percent to $104.32 after the company reported a 1.1% drop in its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings and issued a downbeat Q1 forecast.

  • [By Monica Gerson]

    Analysts are expecting Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. (NASDAQ: CBRL) to have earned $1.80 per share on revenue of $705.65 million in the latest quarter. Cracker Barrel shares gained 0.67 percent to $152.50 in after-hours trading.

  • [By Shauna O’Brien]

    Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. (CBRL) shares dropped over 4% on Wednesday morning after the company reported lower fourth quarter earnings and a weak outlook for its first quarter.

    The Lebanon, TN-based company reported fourth quarter earnings of $34.3 million, or $1.43 per share, down slightly from $34.7 million, or $1.47 per share, a year ago. On average, analysts expected to see earnings of $1.35 per share.

    Total revenue fell to $646.1 million from $700.01 million last year. Analysts expected to see revenue of $668.68 million.

    Cracker Barrel President and CEO Sandra Cochran commented: “The fourth quarter of fiscal 2013 represents the seventh consecutive quarter of year-over-year improvement in comparable store traffic, restaurant sales, and retail sales. The financial results of the fourth quarter and full year reflect the effective execution of our strategic plan. As we begin our 2014 fiscal year, we are poised to capitalize on the achievements of fiscal 2013.”

    For FY2013, CBRL’s earnings rose 14% to $117.27 million, while EPS rose to $4.90 per share. On an adjusted basis, earnings were $4.97 per share, up 15% from the year prior. Total revenue for the year was $2.64 billion, up 3% from a year ago.

    Looking forward, the company expects to see first quarter earnings between $1.05 and $1.15 per share. This estimate would fall significantly below the average analyst estimate of $1.32 per share.

    For FY2014, the company expects EPS in the range of $5.60 to $5.80 and revenue between $2.7 billion and $2.75 billion. Analysts expect to see earnings of $5.69 per share and $2.74 billion in revenue.

    Cracker Barrel shares were down $4.70, or 4.39%, during Wednesday morning trading. The stock is up 59% YTD.

  • [By Monica Gerson]

    Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. (NASDAQ: CBRL) is projected to report its quarterly earnings at $1.80 per share on revenue of $705.65 million.

top stocks to invest in now: Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.(REGN)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Chris Lange]

    Shares of Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ: AMGN) saw a handy gain to close out the week after the company won a Delaware court ruling that blocked Sanofi (NYSE: SNY) and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: REGN) from selling their cholesterol-lowering drug in the United States. Essentially the court found that the drug Praluent actually infringed upon Amgens patents for its rival treatment Repatha.

  • [By Johanna Bennett]

    Shares of biotechnology giant Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN) have climbed more than 4% today after Piper Jaffray analyst Ed Tenthoff upgraded the stock from a neutral to an overweight, with a $446 price target.

    The upgrade comes just a few days after the drug maker released soft guidance for 2017 and forecasts called for slowing sales of the eye drug Eylea.

    But Piper Jaffrays Tenthoff argues that anticipated approvals and deep pipeline should drive long-term value. Of particular importance: the atopic dermatitis drug Dupixent (dupilumab).

    We are confident in FDA approval of Dupixent (dupilumab) in moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis by the March 29th PDUFA date and in Europe in late 2017. The Phase III LIBERTY ASTHMA QUEST study has fully enrolled 1,858 persistent asthma patients to 200mg and 300mg subcu Dupixent q2W. We look for data this year to enable an sBLA submission by YE:17. Regeneron is conducting two Phase III trials in nasal polyps and will initiate Phase III pediatric atopic dermatitis and asthma trials. The company will report data from a Phase II eosinophilic esophagitis study in 1H:17 and begin a Phase II food allergy study in 2H:17. The FDA has deemed Sanofi’s Le Trait facility “acceptable”. As a result, we anticipate the partners will refile on Kevzara (sarilumab) and could gain approval in 2Q:17. These two launches should turn Regeneron’s antibody alliance with Sanofi profitable.

    Todays news is the latest development in what has been a volatile time the drug maker. The shares have fallen sharply over the during the last three months, the result of a patent suit with Amgen (AMGN) over its anti-cholesterol drug Praluent, which a judge had set it wouldnt be able to sell in the U.S. , But last week, a judge granted a stay that would allow Regeneron to sell Praluent. It also fueled a pop in its shares.

    The next day, however, Regeneron reported earnings, and while profits o

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    After years of rising and falling in tandem, the biotech sector is all about stock picking now. Credit Suisse analyst Alethia Young and team, for instance, upgraded Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN), and added Celgene (CELG) to its Focus List today. But Amgen (AMGN) wasn’t so lucky as Young cut it to Neutral from Outperform. She explains why: