Stocks to buy

Do You Have $500? Buy These 3 Stocks Now or Regret It Later

Over time, the stock market is a fortune-building machine. Generational wealth has been created by betting on the long-term growth of stocks and the American economy they represent. Yet it’s never been in a straight line. Having said that, buy these 3 stocks to help build your portfolio.

At various points, the market has fallen, and sometimes dramatically so. Such periods test the mettle of investors. Having the courage to stay the course is never easy. When most others are panicking and selling off stocks, it’s not easy to be the one buying. But being the contrarian is where millionaires are made. Buying stocks when they go on sale is like injecting your portfolio with steroids. It allows you to bulk up when the market recovers.

It doesn’t even require a lot of money to achieve this. Wall Street has reduced or eliminated most of the barriers to investing, so buying stocks with as little as $500 can set you on the path to riches. As long as you don’t need the money to pay bills or for emergencies, then you can begin investing today.

Below are three stocks to buy now for $500 that will blossom into powerhouses of growth later.

AT&T (T)

AT&T Retail cell phone and mobility store. T stock

Source: Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock.com

Telecommunications giant AT&T (NYSE:T) just reported a big first-quarter earnings beat. Although revenue and earnings were actually down year over year, the company added 350,000 more net additions to its wireless business. It shows Ma Bell’s decision to spin off its Warner Media business into Warner Bros Discovery (NASDAQ:WBD) so it could narrowly focus on its telecom operations is paying off.

Many investors at the time were dismayed AT&T slashed its dividend in half, yet the payout of $1.11 per share still yields a lucrative 6.7% annually. And now that the telecom’s finances are much more stable, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see AT&T begin raising its dividend again this year.

The company generated a whopping $3.1 billion in free cash flow (FCF) this quarter, far outrunning Wall Street’s expectations of just $2.4 billion. It shows just how much the growth AT&T is witnessing in its consumer and wireless segments is generating excess cash flows. FCF is important for companies and investors because that’s how they pay for their dividends after all the bills are paid.

At just 8 times trailing earnings and next year’s estimates, as well as a bargain-basement 5x the FCF it produced, AT&T stock is a deeply discounted bargain you won’t regret buying today.

Meta Platforms (META)

In this photo illustration the Meta logo seen displayed on a smartphone and in the background the Facebook logo

Source: rafapress / Shutterstock.com

The selloff in Meta Platform‘s (NASDAQ:META) stock following its own earnings report was absurd and an opportunity to buy in now. The Facebook owner handily beat analyst expectations on the top and bottom line while enjoying a massive increase in ad spending. Yet the stock plunged nearly 11% in the aftermath.

We get it. Investors were spooked by guidance that suggested slow earnings expansion going forward as it invests heavily in artificial intelligence (AI). They haven’t forgotten Meta’s all-in bet on the metaverse. The billions of dollars Reality Labs has cost Meta is no joke. It said its investments in the project lowered last year’s operating profit by $16.1 billion. Yowser. Now it wants to spend big on AI.

There’s a difference, though. Artificial intelligence is the real deal compared to whatever it was the metaverse was supposed to become. Companies are seeing real-world results from the technology that will only expand exponentially as its capabilities are enhanced. Meta is smart to be going big here. Who knows? Maybe it will even pay benefits one day in the metaverse.

In the meantime, you won’t regret buying Meta Platforms stock. Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp continue to be resilient and the 27% surge in ad revenue to $35.6 billion shows advertisers know where to turn to reach consumers. META stock will be an even bigger deal down the line.

Exxon Mobil (XOM)

XOM Stock Is on the Way Back, but It Will Take Some Time

Source: Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock.com

Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) stock is kind of a big deal today. It’s going to get much bigger in the future. Demand for fossil fuels shows no signs of letting up, and in fact is increasing. 

The U.S. Energy Information Administration just hiked its assessment of global oil consumption. It raised the 2022 baseline figure by 0.8 million barrels per day, which now has it increasing its consumption forecasts for this year and next by 0.4 million and 0.5 million per day, respectively. It also estimates oil prices will average $90 per barrel, a $2 per barrel increase over its previous estimate.

The energy stock’s growth plans are based on oil at $60 per barrel. Anything above that is gravy that can be returned to shareholders through dividends, stock buybacks, acquisitions and more. It recently announced it was buying Pioneer Natural Resources (NYSE:PXD), which it says will drive its break-even costs below $35 a barrel. It may even get access to Hess‘ (NYSE:HES) rich Guyana assets. Chevron (NYSE:CVX) wants to buy the oil company but Exxon says it has the right of first refusal on any acquisition. It already has lucrative Guyanese oil fields of its own and Hes’s fields would be a jewel it could add to its crown.

Exxon stock has doubled over the past three years and could readily double again going forward.

On the date of publication, Rich Duprey held a LONG position in T, WBD, XOM and CVX stock. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.

Rich Duprey has written about stocks and investing for the past 20 years. His articles have appeared on Nasdaq.com, The Motley Fool, and Yahoo! Finance, and he has been referenced by U.S. and international publications, including MarketWatch, Financial Times, Forbes, Fast Company, USA Today, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Cheddar News, The Boston Globe, L’Express, and numerous other news outlets.

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