The Top 10 Stocks for 2013

It’s one of our most popular pieces of annual research. Literally hundreds of thousands of investors have read — and profited — from this advice.

And since we first started publishing our annual Top 10 Stocks list, we’ve beaten the market seven out of 10 years. For comparison, shares of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-B) have only beaten the market five out of the past 10 years.

I’ve shared one of these stocks with you already. Last week, I told you about Philip Morris International (NYSE: PM). This tobacco company, while hated by most people, has raised its dividend nearly 85% since spinning off from its parent company in 2008.

And in today’s article I’ll tell you about another one of my “Top 10 Stocks for 2014.”#-ad_banner-#

But before I continue, I want to make something clear. I can’t provide you with all 10 of my “Top 10 Stocks for 2014” here. I’ve reserved the report exclusively for my Top 10 Stocks advisory subscribers. It wouldn’t be fair to them to give this list away to everyone.

But I can give you something even more valuable than just a couple of stock picks…

You see, I want to show you why these stocks made my list for 2014… and how you can find similar stocks on your own.

I think my 2014 ideas may end up being the most profitable in our history. As you can see in my chart, this group of 10 stocks has already beaten the S&P during each of the past five years — that includes the sharp bear market we saw in 2008 and the powerful bull market we enjoyed in 2009 and 2010.

In fact, if you had invested $10,000 into this group of stocks just five years ago, your investment would be worth $22,950 as of the end of September — a 129.5% total return. The same investment in the S&P would be worth just $14,590 — a 45.9% return.

So what’s the secret behind this performance?

Well, after years of research, I’ve found that companies with a few basic characteristics are the ones that consistently beat the S&P…

— Companies that enjoy huge (and lasting) advantages over the competition.

— Companies that are buying back massive amounts of their own stock.

— Companies that pay investors each and every year by dishing out growing dividends.

I’ve found that more often than not, companies that match these three simple criteria are the ones that make you the most money long term.

It makes sense — strong companies that take care of their shareholders tend to do better over the long run. These are the stocks that consistently create value for their investors year after year, delivering some of the market’s biggest returns.

Take Enterprise Products Partners (NYSE: EPD), for example. EPD made my “Top 10 Stocks for 2014” list precisely because it meets two out of the three characteristics listed above.

Does EPD enjoy huge advantages over its competition? Absolutely.

The company is one of the largest pipeline companies in the U.S., with 50,000 miles of onshore and offshore pipelines.

Does it pay a steadily growing dividend? You bet.

Since 1998, EPD has raised its dividend 202%… from $0.225 per share every quarter to $0.68.

It doesn’t take a Ph.D. to understand that this is the sort of stock that should continue to make money for its investors year after year.

And in recent years, EPD has done just that. Since 2008, shares have returned roughly 170%. That includes a nearly 20% gain since the start of the year.

Performance like this proves investing doesn’t have to be complicated. There’s nothing complex about investing in simple businesses that dominate their industries and return billions of dollars to their investors through dividends and buybacks. Yet it works.

Keep this in mind. It might be the most profitable investing lesson you’ll ever learn.

Note: For more information about the rest of my Top 10 Stocks For 2014 –including several names and ticker symbols — you can follow this link.