The stock market's "Magnificent Seven" consists of Apple, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), Alphabet, Amazon, Nvidia, Meta Platforms (NASDAQ: META), and Tesla. Grouped together under this banner due to their massive valuations and important positions in influential technologies, these companies are shaping the world and have powerful competitive advantages.
Thanks to their massive reach and incredible strengths, each of these companies has a good chance of delivering an impressive performance when the next roaring bull market hits. However, investors should still be choosy about which of these megacap stocks they put their money behind.
With that in mind, we asked two Motley Fool contributors which Magnificent Seven stock in particular they think would be a smart buy right now.
Microsoft could be the strongest player in AI
Keith Noonan: With a market capitalization of roughly $2.83 trillion, Microsoft stands as the world's second-largest public company. And while Apple is currently valued at $2.95 trillion, I think there's a good chance that Microsoft will soon take its crown -- and hold onto it for a long time.
Microsoft's strength in artificial intelligence (AI) across multiple product and service categories lies at the heart of my thesis for why the tech giant will enjoy a sustained run as the world's most valuable company. Its Azure service commands a top position in the cloud infrastructure space, and Windows continues to be the world's most popular computer operating system.
Microsoft is also the clear leader when it comes to office productivity software, and it has strong positioning in video games and other categories. Even better, the tech titan has a strong partnership with and a substantial stake in OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT.
It has just started to roll out its Copilot AI assistant for enterprises and large organizations. Not only does Copilot stand a good chance of becoming a major new revenue source for Microsoft, the personal assistant software will likely strengthen the company's overall services ecosystem. If customers want to take full advantage of Copilot, the best way to do so will be to use a suite of Microsoft services that can offer superior compatibility features.
Beyond the company's many qualitative advantages, Microsoft has also been posting excellent quantitative performances. In its fiscal 2024 first quarter, which ended Sept. 30, sales climbed 13% year over year to $56.5 billion and earnings per share jumped 27%.
Microsoft is already seeing clear benefits from the rise of AI, but the company is likely still in the early stages of benefiting from this massive shift. For long-term investors, the software leader stands out as a top Magnificent Seven stock to buy right now.
Meta Platforms is an excellent stock for the long run
Parkev Tatevosian: Meta Platforms, formerly known as Facebook, is one of my favorite Magnificent Seven stocks with real long-term potential. It has a phenomenal business right now and is in an excellent position to protect that advantage for several years.
Meta caters to 3 billion monthly active users across its various social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Threads, and WhatsApp. It has a great business model where Meta's users generate the content that Meta incorporates advertising into, largely for free. Users post pictures, comments, and short-form videos that get friends, family, and/or fans to engage with the app. The virtuous cycle keeps people on the platform, where Meta shows them advertisements.
That business model generated $117 billion in revenue in 2022. More importantly, it generated $29 billion in operating income. Of course, if this business model were easy to replicate, everyone would do it. It's a challenging model and few businesses have found the right formula to make it a success.
Meta surpassed the most significant challenge by growing to reach 3 billion monthly active users. The fact that nearly everyone you know is likely on at least one of Meta's Platforms makes the apps more attractive to potential users and potential advertisers, a concept known as the network effect. That is also Meta's competitive advantage.
At a forward price-to-earnings ratio of 19.5, Meta's stock price is not as expensive as tech growth stocks tend to be. For all these reasons, Meta is one of my top Magnificent Seven stocks to buy now and hold for the long run.
10 stocks we like better than Microsoft
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Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. John Mackey, former CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Randi Zuckerberg, a former director of market development and spokeswoman for Facebook and sister to Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Keith Noonan has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Parkev Tatevosian, CFA has positions in Alphabet and Apple. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Meta Platforms, Microsoft, Nvidia, and Tesla. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.