Pending the runoff election in Georgia, Americans now have clarity on the balance of power in Washington, D.C. for the next two years. Republicans will have a slim majority in the House of Representatives. That will have the practical effect of gumming up the already slow-moving gears of government. For those looking for stocks to buy, this can certainly make things a bit more difficult.
Finding out what this means for an individual investor’s strategy, including which stocks to buy and sell is important. My short answer may not be very satisfying. In 2023, I think investors will need to continue executing many of the same strategies that have worked this year. Inflation may be peaking, but still has to come down. That means interest rates are likely to keep going up.
Accordingly, all of us so-called retail investors are caught in the middle of this uncertainty hoping for better days ahead. However, as the saying goes, hope isn’t a strategy. So, I’ll offer another thought. Buy stocks that have a story. In this case, stocks that are part of sectors that are likely to move higher due to trends in the broader economy.
In this article, I offer seven such stocks to buy. These are companies with compelling stories that don’t depend on government stimulus to thrive.
Exxon Mobil (XOM)
Leading off this list of stocks to buy is Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM), but perhaps not for the reason you may think. Yes, oil is likely to move higher in 2023. And that will mean another quarter or two of good earnings. This might continue to inflame rhetoric about obscene profits in the political class. But that rhetoric is short-sighted, and if you’ll indulge me for a minute, I’ll explain why.
As our nation lurches towards a renewable energy future, there’s an irony that can’t be overstated. That is that traditional fossil fuel companies like Exxon Mobil, BP (NYSE:BP) and Chevron (NYSE:CVX), to name a few, are well-positioned to help develop renewable energy solutions. These companies saw the writing on the wall decades ago and were never going to be left without a seat at the table.
Exxon Mobil is using some of its fortress balance sheet to invest in clean energy initiatives. Bet you won’t hear about that in Washington. I won’t deny that in the short-term, XOM stock should benefit investors with capital appreciation based on the laws of supply and demand that govern the oil market. But as a long-term holding, investors shouldn’t ignore the company’s investments into renewable energy.
In 2023, companies will continue to cut expenses wherever they can. However, one area that is likely to avoid the chopping block is cybersecurity. The last few years has made cybersecurity a top priority for every company. And it’s a well-known fact that the political class is well aware of the threats that cyberattack costs pose to businesses.
Thus, because the nature of online threats is always changing, cybersecurity should remain one of the best sectors for investors in 2023. CrowdStrike (NASDAQ:CRWD) offers cloud-native solutions that allow companies to move their existing security protocols. This makes the company an ideal choice for the move towards hybrid work.
I won’t pretend that this CRWD stock has an ideal valuation. For example, market analysts project the company’s valuation at 80-times forward earnings. But the consensus opinion of analysts gives the stock a price target of about $240, which would provide upside of over 70% at the time of this writing.
ChargePoint Holdings (CHPT)
The transition to electric vehicles continues to gain momentum. Many automakers that are not named Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) have launched electric vehicles, and more are on the way. But there has to be a massive infrastructure built to reduce range anxiety. ChargePoint (NYSE:CHPT) is on the forefront of this transition, which is why it’s one of the stocks to buy for 2023.
The bearish argument against this company is that the need for publicly accessible charging stations is overstated, because many current EV owners are charging at home. But the bullish side of this chicken-and-egg argument could be that the reason they charge at home is because there are not enough publicly accessible charging stations to service them.
Time will tell, and I won’t insult you and say that CHPT stock is low-risk investment. The EV sector is only in its early innings, and a range of outcomes is still possible for a company that hasn’t generated a dime of profit. That said, ChargePoint stands to benefit from the Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act. The Republican House members may try to block future spending, but it’s unlikely they’ll try to rein in the money that’s already been approved.
Korn Ferry (KFY)
Next on this list of stocks to buy is a company that literally tries to relieve uncertainty. Korn Ferry (NYSE:KFY) is a “global organizational consulting firm” that is likely to be in high demand in 2023.
One of the confusing narratives of 2022 has been how well the labor market has held up. But, at least in the tech sector, that is quickly changing. Most of the largest names in the sector have announced hiring freezes and/or layoffs.
That said, eventually these companies will begin to take a critical look at their organizations and make plans to ensure they have the right talent for the right jobs. And if they turn to Korn Ferry, they may benefit from the company’s Intelligence Cloud which uses AI data-driven insights to help its clients understand its current workforce and assess its hiring needs.
That thesis would please investors, who have seen the stock fall 26% in 2022 despite the fact that it is delivering year-over-year increases in both revenue and earnings. And if it’s accurate, KFY stock may head back to the all-time high it set in late 2021.
MGM International (MGM)
MGM International (NYSE:MGM) picked a bad time to launch their Bet MGM Sportbook and mobile app. BetMGM was set to launch right as March Madness was ready tip off in 2020. We all know what happened next. However, live sports are back with no pandemic restrictions.
That is allowing the sports betting sector to resume its strong growth trend . And there’s more growth expected in 2023. Currently, 30 states have legalized sports betting, and more are on the way. But the industry will remain hamstrung to an extent until all 50 states legalize sports betting. That will take some time because it’s a highly regulated industry.
Despite the regulatory hurdles, MGM has a lot of competition in this space. But in a volatile market, that may work to the company’s benefit. MGM has an existing portfolio of casinos helping to drive revenue as they continue to grow their sportsbook business.
Expedia Group (EXPE)
Expedia Group (NASDAQ:EXPE) is a mirror into the psyche of investors. In 2021, EXPE stock soared as the hope of vaccines stirred the pent-up demand for travel. However, it’s been a different story in 2022, as investors’ concerns about inflation and a possible recession are weighing on the stock, which has nearly been cut in half.
This is despite the fact that the online booking company continues to grow its revenue and earnings on a year-over-year basis. That speaks to the fact that travel demand remains strong. That said, it has to taper off, right? Maybe?
Then again, maybe not. As remote and/or hybrid work is becoming both normalized and preferred, it’s blurring the lines between leisure and business travel. Many people are realizing that with the right setting, they can achieve both. Or at least give it a great try.
Thus, instead of buying airline stocks, hotel stocks, or cruise line stocks, you can invest in Expedia Group which helps consumers manage their entire trip.
Public Storage (PSA)
Last on this list of stocks to buy is Public Storage (NYSE:PSA). This company is a real estate investment trust (REIT) that focuses on the self-storage industry. I’d encourage you to read this article from Ian Bezek that outlines how the company is uniquely positioned to profit from rising interest rates.
I’ll be more simplistic, but it will be in keeping with the focus of this article. The pandemic has stirred a desire for people to live where they want. And while some individuals are moving to an area with a cheaper cost of living, others are moving to areas where they need their paycheck to stretch further.
That may mean smaller living spaces, which means they’ll need a place to store their stuff. And that means that demand for storage units will remain strong.
These are businesses with high margins. My lived experience can attest to rising rates being a reality of being a customer. It’s going to take more to store our stuff. And most of us will pay it.
On the date of publication, Chris Markoch did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.