The first quarter’s in the books, and happily, the stock market is having a much better year than we endured in 2022. If you’re an investor looking for stocks to buy, you’re probably feeling pretty good about your chances for a good April.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 1% for the year but has been building much-needed momentum over the last several weeks. The S&P 500 is up 6% in 2023, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite shows a 14% gain.
But this isn’t the time to stand pat. The world’s still spinning, and market conditions change rapidly. OPEC announced that it’s cutting production, which will directly affect oil prices.
The Federal Reserve continues to raise interest rates and battle high inflation, and Congress and President Biden are wrestling with the debt ceiling, setting up a showdown that could significantly impact the economy.
I’ve used my Portfolio Grader to identify the best stocks to buy in April as we launch into the year’s second quarter.
The Portfolio Grader evaluates and grades stocks to buy based on performance, earnings history, momentum, analyst sentiment and quantitative measurements. It assigns a grade from “A” to “F” to each name – and just like in school, you want to be shooting for straight As on your report card.
Here are seven A-rated stocks to buy for April to keep your portfolio in top-notch shape.
|AEHR||Aehr Test Systems||$28.07|
Valero Energy (VLO)
Valero Energy (NYSE:VLO) is a downstream oil and gas company that is the world’s largest producer of renewable fuels. Valero’s ethanol plants can produce dry distillers’ grains, ethanol and corn oil for gasoline blenders and refiners.
Renewable energy is a coveted space that becomes more appealing with OPEC’s production cuts and the rising oil price. The global ethanol market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 4.8% through 2027, reaching $129.3 billion.
Valero reported fourth-quarter earnings of $41.75 billion, that was 17.5% better than a year ago. While it narrowly missed analysts’ revenue estimates, the company showed solid profits by posting earnings per share of $8.45, which was better than analysts’ expectations of $7.25.
VLO stock is up 25% over the last 12 months and provides a 3% dividend yield, which is a nice perk all by itself. VLO has an “A” rating in the Portfolio Grader and it one of the better stocks to buy on oil price increases.
BP (NYSE:BP) is in a prominent position to profit from higher oil and gas prices. It’s already coming off its most profitable year, banking $27.7 billion in 2022 (compared to $12.8 billion in 2021).
It also is in a prime position to continue profiting from the European energy market, which sees tight supply because Russia invaded Ukraine and Moscow’s subsequent cuts of natural gas to the West.
BP is also expected to complete its TravelCenters of America (NYSE:TA) acquisition by mid-year. The $1.3 billion deal will give BP an additional 281 fuel stations in 44 U.S. states and another opportunity to capitalize on rising oil prices, making it one of the best multi-stream stocks to buy.
BP has an “A” rating in the Portfolio Grader.
Digi International (DGII)
Digi International (NASDAQ:DGII) is a Minnesota-based company that develops products and solutions for the Internet of Things (IoT).
Digi’s products and services support retail, banking, medical and transportation industries, helping them create next-generation connected products and manage infrastructure.
Digi has been a consistent winner on Wall Street, with earnings for the fiscal first quarter 2023 (ending Dec. 31, 2022) coming in at $109.3 million, or 29.7% better than the previous year. Digi is projecting fiscal Q2 revenue to be $105 million to $109 million, with analysts’ consensus estimates at $104.5 million. It’s one of the more interesting stocks to buy in the sector.
DGII stock has an “A” rating in the Portfolio Grader.
Aehr Test Systems (AEHR)
I consider Aehr Test Systems (NASDAQ:AEHR) a calculated gamble, even with its “A” rating, but it’s still worth your attention because it has massive potential.
Aehr makes the burn-in equipment in silicon carbine chips commonly found in electric vehicles. EVs are a growing market with tremendous upside: a compound annual growth rate of 17% through 2027 and a projected market of $858 billion. Each EV requires thousands of semiconductors, making Aehr’s services valuable.
The problem is that Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) announced it’s come up with a new power inverter that cuts reliance on silicon carbide. The announcement sent AEHR stock down 8% in a single day, but Aehr’s executives say its market won’t be impacted.
That remains to be seen.
Aehr posted fiscal third-quarter revenue of $17.2 million and earnings of 16 cents per share, beating analysts’ estimates of $16 million and 14 cents per share. It also reiterated its guidance for the full fiscal year ending May 31 with sales between $60 million to $70 million. But its implied sales goal for the current quarter is $22.3 million, below the $23.6 million that Wall Street expects.
That sent AEHR stock down 25% since April 1.
Tesla’s new power inverter won’t be included on its vehicles until the next model platform, which is still in development. So I’m banking on Aehr to hit its revenue goals, at least, and churn out a solid return at a suddenly discounted price. AEHR stock has an “A” rating in the Portfolio Grader.
I won’t blame you if Ardelyx (NASDAQ:ARDX) isn’t on your radar right now. It’s a penny stock – for now – with a market capitalization of only $931 million.
But it’s probably time to pay attention to this one.
Based in Waltham, Massachusetts, Ardelyx is a rising pharmaceutical company. The company is glowing from its successful launch of Ibsrela, the brand name for tenapanor, used to treat irritable bowel syndrome.
What’s exciting about this development, however, is that Ardelyx has paperwork before the Food and Drug Administration to use tenapanor to treat patients on dialysis with chronic kidney disease. Ardelyx would see projected sales of $800 million in five years if granted.
Ardelyx won’t stay under the radar for long – shares are already up 55% this year. Happily, analysts are putting a consensus price target of $7.59 on ARDX stock, meaning it still has a 71% runway.
You have time to get on board, but this bandwagon isn’t sticking around. ARDX stock has an “A” rating in the Portfolio Grader.
Catalyst Pharmaceuticals (CPRX)
Catalyst Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:CPRX) is at the forefront of developing medications to treat the aging population.
Its top drug is Firdapse, which treats adults with Lambert-Eaton Myasthenic Syndrome, a rare condition that affects signals sent from nerves to muscles, making them unable to contract properly.
Firdapse sales account for the company’s entire revenue stream, which was $61 million in Q4 (up 58% from a year ago).
Catalyst is another company discounted severely right now because it faced some bad news. In late January, Teva Pharmaceutical (NYSE:TEVA) announced plans for a generic version of Firdapse, and that news sent CPRX stock down 27%. Catalyst is working on a label expansion for Firdapse and purchasing U.S. rights to an epilepsy treatment developed by Eisai (OTCMKTS:ESAIY).
For now, however, Catalyst is projecting continued growth. Its issued guidance for full-year 2023 revenue between $375 million and $385 million, which is well above the consensus analysts’ estimate of $337.6 million.
As far as April goes, I think Catalyst remains a solid pick, and many agree. Shares have already rebounded 14% since bottoming out in January, and I expect that trend to continue. CPRX stock has an “A” rating in the Portfolio Grader.
TJX Companies (TJX)
TJX Companies (NYSE:TJX), the parent company of well-known retailers such as T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, Sierra, Homegoods and Homesense, offers discounted apparel and home goods by 20% to 60% below department stores or online retailers.
TJX has roughly 4,700 stores in the U.S., Canada, Australia and Europe.
Earnings for the company’s fiscal Q4 2023 (ending Jan. 28, 2023) included revenue of $14.52 billion, up 4.8% from a year ago and better than analysts’ expectations for $14.07 billion. It’s guiding for continued solid performance for this quarter, with projected comparable store sales to be up 2% to 3% and earnings per share to range from 68 cents to 71 cents.
TJX stock is holding steady this year, down about 2% since January 1, but I’m expecting a solid April to make this one of the best retailers you can buy. And it also offers a decent dividend yield of 1.7%.
Like other names on this list, TJX stock has an “A” rating in the Portfolio Grader.
On the date of publication, Louis Navellier held VLO, BP, DGII and CPRX. He did not hold (either directly or indirectly) any other positions in the securities mentioned in this article.
On the date of publication, the InvestorPlace Research Staff member primarily responsible for this article held TSLA. The staff member did not hold (either directly or indirectly) any other positions in the securities mentioned in this article.