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2 Top Stocks to Buy With $100 Right Now

Motley Fool - Wed May 24, 2023

You don't need much cash to invest in the best stocks. Even $100, when used to buy and hold a high-quality stock for many years, can multiply many times over in that time.

There are many stocks trading below $100 to choose from, but two of my favorites are Walt Disney(NYSE: DIS) and Prudential Financial(NYSE: PRU). Here's why these two stocks deserve your hard-earned cash.

Walt Disney

You can pick up a single share of Disney for less than $100 today, but that wasn't the case two years ago. The stock peaked at around $200 in early 2021. It's been a rough ride for investors since then as the iconic entertainment company races to turn streaming into a profitable business.

Churning out profits from streaming has become a more urgent goal as Disney's linear TV business has stumbled. Linear networks revenue slumped 7% year over year in the latest quarter, and operating income crashed 35%. Securing sports programming rights is getting more expensive, and advertising revenue is weakening. One of Disney's biggest sources of profits is in trouble, and investors aren't happy.

The reason to invest in Disney stock has nothing to do with its short-term results. The company has survived and thrived for this long by sticking with the original strategy laid out by founder Walt Disney.

Each of Disney's businesses feeds into all the others. A hit movie can spawn attractions at its resorts, lead to streaming shows that build out the brand, and produce millions in merchandise sales. The Disney flywheel is what gives the company an edge.

How Disney makes its money will change over time. Linear TV is being supplanted by streaming, and there's likely nothing Disney can do except embrace the shift.

The direct-to-consumer business has become nearly as big as the linear networks business in terms of revenue, but it's still highly unprofitable. The company plans to turn things around by cutting content costs, merging Disney+ and Hulu into a single service, and likely raising prices higher.

Disney's results will be messy for the time being, but there's no reason to believe the company can't turn streaming into a cash cow. No company has a better collection of characters, brands, and intellectual property than Disney, and no company knows how to better leverage those assets.

Prudential Financial

With runs on deposits dooming multiple banks this year, investors are rightfully worried about stocks in the financial sector. Shares of Prudential Financial have been beaten down in 2023, losing more than 20% of their value since peaking. One share can now be bought for about $82.

Prudential has been in the insurance business for more than 145 years. Unlike a bank, an insurance company isn't at risk of having its assets pulled out. Customers pay premiums for insurance policies, those premiums are invested by Prudential, and the company pays out claims down the road.

Life insurance is a mostly predictable affair. There are some curveballs, like the COVID-19 pandemic, but a well-run insurance operation should have the financial fortitude to handle anything thrown its way.

Prudential is highly profitable, although the nature of insurance means that big swings can happen when benefit payouts spike. Most of the company's revenue comes from insurance premiums, but it also earns investment income and collects asset management fees. It brought in $15.1 billion in revenue during the first quarter of 2023, and from that it generated net income of $1.46 billion.

Its dividend is enticing. The latest quarterly payout of $1.25 per share works out to a yield of 6.1%. That's on the high end historically for Prudential, and it's a good reason to pick up shares of the stock.

Prudential isn't an exciting company, but it's a rock-solid dividend stock that any investor with $100 can own.

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Timothy Green has positions in Prudential Financial and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Walt Disney. The Motley Fool recommends the following options: long January 2024 $145 calls on Walt Disney and short January 2024 $155 calls on Walt Disney. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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