The 4 Key Traits Of A World-Class Stock

I recently returned from a week of travels along the Caribbean coast of Colombia.

#-ad_banner-#The sights were unbelievable… but the sounds were even more impeccable. You see, the region loves its music, particularly a type of music known locally as Vallenato (pronounced “ba-ji-an-ato”).

From dawn until dusk you could hear the music being played from somewhere off in the distance. And though I enjoyed it all, as some of the locals informed me, the old singers are really the best because “they took the time to craft great songs.”

You’ll probably laugh when I tell you this, but this type of logic is exactly what has helped me succeed in the markets for years. It’s all about studying something so deeply that you really get to the bottom of what it’s all about.

Because beating the market really just comes down to having discipline. Let me show you what I mean…

Skimming the markets occasionally can help you find some decent investments. But if you really take the time to study and look carefully at all the options, there are some excellent opportunities that others often overlook.

This is especially true in spaces like energy where investors have recently been spooked into a stampede of selling, prompted by news that OPEC isn’t going to be cutting its oil production anytime soon.

That move caused the price of oil to suffer, prompting many investors to reason that energy stocks are headed off a cliff… and the sell-offs have led many firms to double-digit declines over the last few months.

That includes one of my Top 10 Stocks holdings Targa Resources Partners (NYSE: NGLS) — its stock fell 20% following the OPEC announcements. But investors who sold the stock missed the bigger picture.

You see, Targa’s business has almost nothing to do with oil. The company makes most of its profits from processing, transporting and selling natural gas liquids. And now, disciplined investors who have studied the company’s financials — and noted its 36% increase in revenues since 2013 — will be able to buy shares of the company at a steep discount.

Scenarios like this get me excited. I’m constantly searching for opportunities to buy great companies at a discount and yield outsized returns for my portfolio. In fact, it’s how I put together my recent list of “The Top 10 Stocks For 2015.”

But I don’t just dive blindly into the markets to find my next big investment. I focus on companies that fall into four major categories. They’ve helped me beat the market for years and now I want to share them with you. First up…

Irreplaceable Assets
What do things like pipelines, hydroelectric dams and utility services all have in common? They are all irreplaceable assets. And companies that own them have a unique competitive advantage because other firms can’t simply come along and build a competing business.

Take one of the company’s I chose for my “Top 10 Stocks For 2015” list — we’ll call it “Top Stock #5.” The firm owns more than 51,000 miles of oil and natural gas pipelines (it’s not Targa) and its facilities are located in places where other companies simply can’t get permission to access.

That’s helped the firm increase its revenues nine out of the past 10 years and cause its share price to grow more than 440% in that time.

Wide Moat Businesses
Economic moats are one of the greatest advantages a business can have. Simply put, these are qualities that make a company unique and set it far ahead of its competitors.

Defining what is and what isn’t a “wide moat” can be hard to quantify. However, my team and I have spent countless hours running sophisticated financial analysis on a wide range of companies in order to identify the ones with near-unassailable business models. Think of a company like The Hershey Co. (NYSE: HSY) for example.

The firm owns some of the world’s most recognizable candy brands. This branding sets Hershey far apart from the dozens of cheaper alternatives its customers could be enjoying.

Shareholder Friendly Firms
Companies like Cisco Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) that create massive value for shareholders — through dividends and stock buybacks — have long been core holdings for me. The company returned $13.3 billion to its shareholders in 2014 alone.

Those are the sort of moves that allow shareholders to have peace of mind when investing in a business. And as you can see from Cisco’s 31.5% share price increase over the past year (compared to the S&P’s 14.9% increase), higher shareholder value can also translate to stronger returns too.

American Innovators
This is perhaps the theme I’m most excited about, simply because I believe these amazing companies are flying completely under the radar of the investing public.

American Innovators are homegrown firms that are reinventing themselves for the new world economy. By investing heavily in research and development, they are able to create innovative products and services for their consumers. And to top it all off, these new products and services are bringing a windfall of profits for these companies and putting these them head and shoulders above their global competition.

One company in particular — Top Stock #2 — has been generating substantial revenue by licensing its industry know-how to other business owners around the world. And these clients are paying handsomely for the firm’s service.

The company’s profit margins have soared more than 224% since 2009. Much of that additional income has been paid to investors, as the firm’s dividend has more than tripled in the last four years alone. That’s done wonders for the firm’s share price…

Of course, I can’t give you the firm’s name right now. But if you’d like the name and ticker symbol of this American Innovator, I invite you to view my new report, “The Top 10 Stocks For 2015.”

Now I know what you may be thinking — “we’re already well into 2015, and I’ve probably missed my chance to buy these outperformers.” But that’s just not true. While many of my picks are already crushing the market since the New Year — with one beating the S&P by more than 6-to-1 year-to-date — others are off to a slow, steady start.

But it’s only a matter of time before these firms get going and start to return true market beating returns. Get more information on all ten companies I’ve picked to beat the market in the coming months by clicking here.