3 No-Brainer Stocks to Buy With $200 Right Now | The Motley Fool (2024)

A modest amount of money can go a long way when it's put to work in amazing businesses.

Over the past 17 months, the bulls have been in charge on Wall Street. Following the 2022 bear market, we've witnessed the iconic Dow Jones Industrial Average, benchmark S&P 500, and growth-fueled Nasdaq Composite all power to record-closing highs.

While some investors might be uneasy putting their money to work with these three major stock indexes trading so close to their all-time highs, history shows that patience pays off handsomely on Wall Street. Over time, every stock market correction was, eventually, put into the back seat by a bull market rally. For investors with capital to spare and a long-term mindset, it means now is as good a time as any to invest.

3 No-Brainer Stocks to Buy With $200 Right Now | The Motley Fool (1)

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To make things even better, most online brokers have completely done away with minimum deposit requirements and commission fees on common stock trades. Retail investors that had previously been kept on the sidelines by barriers are now welcomed with open arms. This means any amount of money -- even $200 -- can be the perfect amount to put to work.

If you have $200 at the ready, and you're absolutely positive this isn't cash you're going to need to pay bills or cover emergency expenses, the following three stocks stands out as no-brainer buys right now.

Alphabet

The first surefire stock that's begging to be bought with $200 right now is none other than "Magnificent Seven" component Alphabet (GOOGL 0.43%) (GOOG 0.50%). Alphabet is the parent company of internet search engine Google, streaming service YouTube, and cloud-infrastructure service platform Google Cloud.

Despite Alphabet being an industry leader and one of the primary reasons the broader market has pushed higher, it still has headwinds to contend with. In particular, it's sensitive to possible economic downturns.

Roughly 77% of the $80.5 billion in sales Alphabet reported during the March-ended quarter was derived from advertising. Businesses aren't shy about paring back their spending at the first sign(s) of trouble for the U.S. or global economy. For instance, the first meaningful decline in U.S. M2 money supply since the Great Depression represents a potential warning for Wall Street.

However, the economic cycle is a two-sided coin that isn't proportionate. Whereas recessions are a normal part of the economic cycle, they typically resolve in less than a year. By comparison, most periods of expansions endure for multiple years. Ad-driven businesses tend to enjoy strong pricing power more often than not.

Alphabet's ad-pricing power is especially strong because Google has accounted for at least a 90% monthly share of internet search dating back nine years. Advertisers are well aware that their optimal chance to reach consumers is through Google's monopoly-like search engine.

In addition to this foundational-operating segment, cloud-infrastructure service platform Google Cloud has found its stride. Though enterprise cloud spending is still in its early innings of expansion, Google Cloud registered its first full year of operating profitability in 2023. With sales ramping by double digits, Google Cloud can quickly become a leading cash-flow driver for Alphabet.

Shares of Alphabet can be scooped up right now by opportunistic investors for less than 15 times estimated cash flow in 2025. For reference, this represents a 19% discount to its trailing-five-year multiple to cash flow.

York Water

A second no-brainer stock you can confidently purchase with $200 right now is off-the-radar water utility York Water (YORW -0.22%).

The biggest issue for utility stocks over the last two years has been the Federal Reserve's hawkish monetary policy. The nation's central bank raised lending rates at the fastest pace since the early 1980s. In the process, it sent short-term Treasury yields soaring to around 5%. Investors have simply opted to put their money to work in assets with less risk to their principal (i.e., Treasury bills), which has weighed on utility stocks like York Water.

The counter to this headwind is that the Fed appears to be closer to kicking off a rate-easing cycle than it is to further increasing interest rates. When the nation's central bank does begin lowering interest rates, dividend-paying utility stocks are going to come back into focus.

York Water is an absolute beast when it comes to paying a dividend. While its 2.3% yield may not look like anything special, the company has been doling out a dividend since its founding in 1816. The 208 consecutive years York has paid a dividend is roughly six decades longer than the next-closest publicly traded company. It's about as rock-solid of a payout as you're going to find on Wall Street.

One reason investors can count on York paying a dividend like the sun rising in the East is because consumer water and wastewater-usage habits don't change much from one year to the next. York's management team can transparently forecast the cash flow it'll generate in a given year, which allows for capital to be outlaid for dividends, new projects, and acquisitions without any worry about adversely affecting the bottom line.

Bolt-on acquisitions have played a key role in York's long-term success. Considering the cost and time it takes to get the necessary water and wastewater infrastructure in place, York Water isn't afraid to lean on inorganic growth to improve its cash flow.

York is also a regulated water utility. This is a fancy way of saying that it can't raise rates on its customers without first getting the approval of its state's public utility commission (in this instance, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission). Being regulated ensures that York avoids the unpredictability of wholesale pricing.

York Water is currently valued at 30% below its average forward price-to-earnings (P/E) multiple over the last five years.

3 No-Brainer Stocks to Buy With $200 Right Now | The Motley Fool (2)

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Fiverr International

The third no-brainer stock that can be fearlessly added to your portfolio with $200 right now is online-services marketplace Fiverr International (FVRR 0.45%).

Similar to Alphabet, the health of the U.S. economy is one of the biggest concerns for a company like Fiverr. If the U.S. were to dip into a recession, it's commonplace for the unemployment rate to increase.

There have also been worries about how artificial intelligence (AI) could impact Fiverr's freelancer marketplace. However, Fiverr's management team has been embracing the use of AI on its platform and used the technology to modestly increase sales.

Even though economic downturns are normal and unavoidable, Fiverr offers three undeniable competitive advantages that can power the company and its stock markedly higher over the long run.

To begin with, the labor market has been changed forever in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although some workers have returned to the office, more are choosing to stay remote than prior to the pandemic. This feeds right into Fiverr's freelancer platform, which is focused on a growing mobile workforce.

As I've previously pointed out, Fiverr's gig-economy marketplace has done an excellent job of differentiating itself from other freelancer-driven online platforms. Whereas most other platforms allow freelancers to price their work at an hourly rate, Fiverr's platform has freelancers pricing their services as completed tasks. The cost transparency that businesses are getting with Fiverr is readily apparent as evidenced by the ongoing expansion of spend per buyer.

Perhaps the most attractive thing about Fiverr International from an investment standpoint is the company's take rate. The "take rate" describes the percentage of revenue and fees it gets to keep from deals negotiated on its platform. While most of its peers have take rates in the mid-to-high teens, Fiverr's expanded to 32.3% during the first quarter, which was up 190 basis points from the prior-year period.

Fiverr offers its patient shareholders the potential for sustained double-digit sales and earnings growth over the long term. But here's the kicker: It only trades at 10 times forward-year adjusted earnings. It's nothing short of a screaming bargain.

Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Sean Williams has positions in Alphabet and Fiverr International. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Alphabet and Fiverr International. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

3 No-Brainer Stocks to Buy With $200 Right Now | The Motley Fool (2024)
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