7 top stocks to buy in February

stocks to buy

A new month means a new opportunity to invest in stocks. To get you thinking about where to put your money, we asked some of our top Motley Fool contributors covering technology and consumer goods stocks to talk about their top stocks to buy in February.

Dan Caplinger picks Monster Beverage: I have high hopes for energy-drink giant Monster Beverage (MNST), which has soared to all-time highs over the past year and remains popular among investors and consumers alike. The company attracted the attention of Coca-Cola six months ago, with the iconic beverage giant taking a 16.7% stake in Monster in exchange for $2.15 billion. Since then, investors in both companies have seen the value of the relationship, as Coca-Cola has used Monster as a vehicle to reignite its own growth prospects, while Monster has taken advantage of Coca-Cola's unparalleled distribution network to go up against rival Red Bull more effectively.

Looking forward, Monster has a lot of room to grow in international markets, and that's an area in which its Coca-Cola partnership could keep paying dividends well into the future. Admittedly, Monster stock is priced for perfection, with shares priced at 37 times this year's earnings estimate on expected growth of just 21%. Nevertheless, with Monster expected to report its latest results toward the end of February, now could be a great time to anticipate further growth in Monster's business and pick up shares before the next big move happens.

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Tamara Walsh likes Tesla: The electric-car maker is hardly an obvious choice given the high uncertainty of the stock. However, with shares of Tesla Motors (TSLA) now trading near the low end of their 52-week range, this creates an opportunity for long-term investors to get into this stock if they're willing to own it for the next three to five years.

Keep in mind that there could be near-term weakness in the stock following Tesla's fourth-quarter results, which the company is set to release on Feb. 17. Tesla's chief executive, Elon Musk, hinted that Q4 earnings could be weighed down by weak sales in China, as well as added production constraints related to the launch of Tesla's dual-motor and autopilot hardware. Nevertheless, long-term investors can use any weakness to their advantage.

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Ultimately, Tesla Motors is a long-term bet that should reward patient investors down the road. For starters, the stock should get a significant boost later this year when Tesla is slated to begin the first deliveries of its long awaited Crossover EV, Model X. The company also has higher-margin cars in the mix now thanks to the recent launch of its P85D Model S. As a result, Tesla expects that more than 70% of the cars it produces in 2015 will be dual-motor, which should significantly boost margins for the company going forward.

These catalysts, together with the near-term weaknesses in its stock price, make Tesla Motors a compelling buy this month -- particularly for investors with a three-to-five-year time horizon.

Andrés Cardenal picks Google: Google (GOOGL) is not a very popular pick right now, the online search giant is being affected by falling ad prices in mobile, and the company is aggressively investing for growth, so costs are on the rise. In this context, Google missed earnings expectations over the past five consecutive quarters, and the stock is down by more than 15% from its highs of the year.

However, make no mistake, Google is still an exceptional company with rock-solid competitive strengths and enormous room for expansion.

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No company is more dominant than Google when it comes to the web. The company owns more than 75% of the U.S. search market, according to StatCounter, and its Android operating system powers over 82% of smartphones around the planet, based on data from IDC.

Assets such as Chrome, YouTube, and Maps, among several others, put Google in a position of strength to capitalize on the online advertising boom over the decades ahead. As consumers around the world spend a growing share of their time and attention online, Google is a top beneficiary from this trend.

Google stock is selling for a forward P/E ratio of 15.5, a discount versus the S&P 500 Index, in the neighborhood of 17. Considering the company's fundamental strengths, short-term uncertainty seems to be clearly creating a buying opportunity for long-term investors in Google stock.

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Joe Tenebruso likes Starbucks: Few companies exist in the world today that are as dominant within their industries as Starbucks (SBUX). Yet, while bears will have you believe that Starbucks' days of caffeine-charged growth are long behind it, the coffee titan still has tremendous opportunities for revenue and profit growth from this point forward.

In its most recent quarter, Starbucks global comparable-store sales grew 5% -- the 20th consecutive quarter that Starbucks delivered comps growth of 5% or greater. Helping to fuel that growth is Starbucks' China Asia Pacific region, which delivered an 8% increase in comparable-store sales in the first quarter. This region should continue to drive growth for Starbucks, as the company plans to double its CAP store count to roughly 10,000 locations and triple its revenue (to over $3 billion) and operating income (to over $1 billion) by 2019.

To its shareholders' delight, Starbucks is becoming more profitable as it grows, as evidenced by its record operating margin of 19.5% in the first quarter, an 80-basis-point increase over the prior-year period. That trend should continue as Starbucks leverages its costs over its expanding store base in the years ahead.

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With additional exciting opportunities in massive markets such as tea and packaged goods, as well the upcoming launch of its likely to-be very popular new delivery service, I believe that Starbucks' impressive growth is set to continue for years -- and potentially even decades -- to come. As such, Fools may wish to consider buying shares today.

Tim Beyers picks Zendesk: Companies can't hide anymore.The always-on era of smartphones and social media means that customer complaints travel far and wide in a matter of seconds. Having a comprehensive system for handling inquiries wherever they appear is now a must-have, and it's what Zendesk (ZEN) offers.

Founded in 2007 by Morten Primdahl, Alexander Aghassipour, and current CEO Mikkel Svane, Zendesk operates 100% in the cloud and is an open alternative to online "help desk" software from the likes of Salesforce.com, which offers Desk.com as part of a comprehensive platform for selling to, serving, and supporting customer accounts. Zendesk concentrates on support and then uses the data it collects to help clients improve their practices.

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They seem to like the focus. In the third quarter, revenue zoomed 76.3% while cash flow from operations more than quadrupled to $5.07 million. Zendesk's profit picture wasn't as pretty with its Q3 net loss widening to $0.25 a share from $0.22 in the year-ago quarter.

Fortunately, deficits shouldn't last too much longer. According to data supplied by S&P Capital IQ, analysts are looking for Zendesk to turn profitable in the next 3 to 5 years while doubling revenue.

Management also sees itself catering to a growing portion of the more than 76 million small-to-medium sized businesses out there. Zendesk ended Q3 with just over 48,000 customer accounts. This is a fast-growing business with the opportunity to keep growing for many years to come.

Tim Brugger picks Microsoft: Following its earnings announcement on Jan. 26, there were enough questions raised to give Microsoft (MSFT)naysayers the ammunition needed to drive its share price down from $47.01 a share before its earnings news , to $42.66 the next day.

As noted in a recent article, Xbox sales declined compared to the 2013 holiday season, and more concerning was the 13% drop in Windows-related revenues. And with Windows 10 on the horizon and Microsoft's plans to get it into as many users' hands as possible by making it free during its introductory period, Windows revenue could be under pressure in the foreseeable future. Which is fine.

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Microsoft Windows 10 in 90 seconds
Microsoft Windows 10 in 90 seconds

What really matters heading further into 2015 is whether Microsoft is making headway in its mobile-first, cloud-first objectives, and by those two critical measures, it's right on track. On the mobile hardware front, Surface Pro 3 broke through the $1 billion revenue barrier, and Microsoft's Lumia smartphone sales also improved. And Microsoft's cloud revenues should be music to investors' ears. Once again, cloud sales grew triple digits last quarter, and are tracking at an annual revenue rate of $5.5 billion, moving Microsoft to the top of the cloud provider list.

February is a great time to take advantage of Microsoft's recent sell-off. Microsoft and its dividend yield were a sound growth opportunity before its share price went south; now it's an absolute steal.

Sean O'Reilly likes Coca-Cola: The world's largest beverage company doesn't immediately come to mind to most investors looking for a top stock pick these days. And with good reason: Coca-Cola (KO) has more than its share of headwinds at present. A consumer shift away from carbonated beverage consumption, a 1% year-over-year drop in third-quarter case volume shipments in its North American home market, and an executive compensation package that leaves much to be desired all fail to inspire confidence with the investing public. However, despite these issues, the company's global franchise -- and it is a truly global company -- is something that should not be dismissed by investors.

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Looking past these issues, Coca-Cola has a lot to offer. The Atlanta-based company currently sports a dividend yield of 2.96%, which isn't bad at all given long-term total returns from the stock market of 8%. Coke trades for just over 20 times forward earnings and is expected to grow earnings per share to $2.80 per share -- up from an estimated $2.04 in FY 2015 -- by 2018, according to analysts polled at S&P Capital IQ.

Where will that growth come from? Emerging markets. While Coca-Cola experienced a 1% decrease in sales in North America for the first nine months of FY 2014, it saw a 2% YOY increase in its Eurasia & Africa Region and a white-hot 5% increase in sales in its Asia Pacific Region. These markets are home to over 2 billion people and, if these results are indicative of anything, they love Coca-Cola's products. Take heed, Coca-Cola may be down but it's not out.

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