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Stocks  | October 1, 2019

Historically, September has been a lousy month for stocks.

The old Wall Street saying, "Sell in May and go away, don't come back 'till Labor Day," must've been conceived before the September slaughter of 2008, which saw both the sudden collapse of Lehman Brothers and a rejection of the bank bailout bill (poised to be approved shortly thereafter) that sent the Dow plunging 777 points in a day.

Still, September 2019 wasn't so bad: the S&P 500 rose 1.6% in the month, leaving stocks on solid footing entering October.

That said, there's still no lack of uncertainty as autumn arrives. An impeachment inquiry has been launched against President Donald Trump, and the U.S. -- China trade war shows no signs of abating.

With all that said, here's a look at five of the best stocks to buy for October:

-- Dollar General Corp. (ticker: DG).

-- AbbVie (ABBV)

-- Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp. (IPOA)

-- Apple (AAPL)

-- PNC Financial Services Group (PNC)

Dollar General Corp. (DG)

Historically considered a "risk-off" stock, Dollar General has been performing more like a high-tech growth dynamo this year, with shares up more than 45% in 2019.

Shares of the discount retailer have been on fire this year as investors have flocked to the slow-but-steady growth model. Perhaps one reason investors have been drawn to DG is because of its historical resilience in recessions. Recession fears have been elevated recently, as reflected in the flattening-to-inverted yield curve.

Another reason DG continues to be one of the best stocks to buy going forward is due to its rock-solid financials: in late August, the company reported better-than-expected second-quarter earnings, with same-store sales up 4% vs. a 2.5% consensus. Adjusted earnings per share came in at $1.74 against expectations of $1.57.

AbbVie (ABBV)

Shares of this North Chicago, Illinois-based pharmaceutical giant have been under pressure since their peak in 2018, and the company is fighting tooth-and-nail to maintain the dominance of its blockbuster drug Humira, which was the single best-selling drug on earth in 2018.

It looks as if the company will be able to keep competitors at bay until 2023, at least in the U.S., and by merely looking at its historically elevated dividend yield, ABBV shares look like an opportunity.

The trick has been to notice not just when AbbVie appears oversold, but when the market is ready to accept ABBV again. That moment seems to have come, with shares now well above their 20- and 50-day moving averages. Next up: the 200-day moving average, which is only about 2% away.

AbbVie's extremely high dividend yield (5.7%) is one major factor making ABBV one of the best stocks to buy for October, but another hint is a spurt of insider buying that began in earnest in June.

Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp. (IPOA)

CEO Chamath Palihapitiya, a former Facebook ( FB) executive, put together IPOA in 2017 as a unique kind of company. It was founded as basically a venture capital-esque holding vehicle, designed to essentially take a privately funded "unicorn" type company public through a reverse IPO of sorts.

It then sat dormant for about two years before making its first major move in July, when Virgin Galactic announced that it would be going public later in 2019 using IPOA as its vehicle. The whole "Social Capital" company will then essentially be gone, and anyone owning IPOA shares will own a slice of Virgin Galactic, the Richard Branson-owned commercial space company.

VG will become the first publicly owned commercial space company in existence, beating competitors like Elon Musk's SpaceX and Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin to Wall Street.

While big-time monetization is still years away, the company projects it will grow revenue from nothing today to $600 million by 2023.

Consider IPOA stock a speculative bet on the future, and a binary one at that -- either this thing takes off and becomes the next stock with Tesla ( TSLA)-like hype, or it goes to zero.

Neither will happen this year, but some risk-tolerant investors may want to consider buying in even for potential short-term gains that could come with the media attention that follows Virgin Galactic's reverse IPO later in 2019.

Apple (AAPL)

It never hurts to own Apple, the tech giant which just came out with the most recent iteration of its blockbuster product, the iPhone. It trades at a not-too-hot, not-too-cold, Goldilocks 19 times earnings and 17 times forward earnings.

Despite being one of the most cash-flush companies on earth, Apple in recent years has made the liberal use of low-interest debt routine, using it to leverage its returns, buy back stock and hike its dividend.

With its payout ratio still at a modest 25%, investors should expect further dividend increases going forward. The stock currently yields 1.4%.

PNC Financial Services Group (PNC)

Last but not least among the five best stocks to buy for October is PNC, one of the largest regional banks in the United States.

As the financial industry continues to consolidate with the looming merger of the two regional Southern banks SunTrust Banks ( STI) and BB&T ( BBT), the banking business just got a little tougher for a little guy (which PNC is not).

Whether the conservatively run Pittsburgh-based $60 billion PNC is itself an acquisition target is unlikely due to its larger size, but PNC could certainly move to snap up a smaller competitor. Merger speculation aside, PNC is just one of the more solid publicly traded bank stocks -- it trades at roughly 13 times earnings and 12 times forward earnings, and pays a quite tempting 3.3% dividend. Despite shares trading near their 52-week high, with shares around $140 they're still well off all-time highs around $160 in early 2018, and with earnings set to drop on October 16, shares certainly have a catalyst coming up.

A revolutionary initiative is helping average Americans find quick and lasting stock market success.

275% in one week on XLF - an index fund for the financial sector. Even 583%, in 7 days on XHB… an ETF of homebuilding companies in the S&P 500. 

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