Top stock picks for August

Credit: Simon Cunningham

We asked our Foolish writers to choose some of their favourite stock picks to buy in August. Here’s what they came up with:

Ryan Newman: XERO FPO NZX (ASX: XRO)

Xero provides an innovative cloud-based accounting software platform. Global subscribers grew more than 50% in the 12 months to 31 March 2016 (to 717,000) with more to come in New Zealand, Australia, the UK and US, as well as in new markets such as the Asia Pacific. It’s aiming for 1 million subscribers within a year and is striving to become a $1 billion+ revenue business.

An investment in Xero isn’t for the faint-hearted. Its shares have taken investors on a rollercoaster ride over the years, but could be a great long-term prospect for those who can stomach it.

Motley Fool contributor Ryan Newman owns shares of Xero. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of Xero.

Edward Vesely: iSentia Group Ltd(ASX: ISD)

It’s been all downhill for iSentia’s share price in the last seven months despite the reporting of pretty reasonable half-year results back in February. Although iSentia reported single-digit growth in Australia/New Zealand of 6% and earnings as a whole up only 5%, many of the metrics for the company look pretty good on a 2-3 year outlook.

Previous guidance to the market shows overall revenue to be up between 22% to 24% with EBITDA up between 18% to 25%. With the stock down 37% off its highs, now is a good time as any to start a position.

Motley Fool contributor Edward Vesely owns shares in iSentia Group. 

Sean O’Neill: a2 Milk Company Ltd (ASX: A2M)

a2 produces milk with only a2 proteins, which is reportedly easier to digest than regular milk, (which contains a1 and a2 proteins). The brand has achieved considerable success in Australia and New Zealand so far and commands higher prices for its goods than competitors. Research is attempting to confirm if a2 milk is actually better for digestion and, if corroborated, such a claim could see a2 take a greater share of growing consumer health + wellbeing spend. The company is also on the baby formula wagon in China as well as expanding in the US and the UK.

Motley Fool contributor Sean O’Neill owns shares in a2 Milk Company. 

James Mickleboro: Appen Ltd (ASX: APX)

Appen is an exciting Australian technology company with a bright future ahead of it in my opinion. The company provides language technology and data services in more than 180 languages and counts global tech giants Microsoft and Facebook amongst its growing list of clients. I believe its market-leading position in a growing language technology and machine learning market will help it produce strong earnings growth for a number of years to come. Another positive aspect is its strong balance sheet which is free of debt, which is quite a refreshing change for a growing tech company.

Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no financial interest in Appen Ltd

Christopher Georges: Macquarie Group Ltd (ASX: MQG)

Macquarie re-affirmed its FY17 profit forecasts last week and signalled to investors that it has come out of the post-Brexit period relatively unscathed. The group’s annuity style businesses, which now account for around 70% of earnings, continue to perform well and generate a steady stream of recurring income.

At around $75, the shares are attractively valued and offer income investors a forecast dividend yield of 5.6%. Macquarie remains my preferred pick in the large cap financial sector and should be considered by investors who are comfortable with accepting a higher level of risk for potentially higher returns.

Motley Fool contributor Christopher Georges owns shares in Macquarie Group.

Mike King: Nearmap Ltd (ASX: NEA)

Currently trading at 49 cents, Nearmap is likely to report a net loss after tax for the 2016 financial year, after posting a $3 million loss in the first half. However, the company’s Australian operations are growing rapidly and are highly profitable, allowing the company to spend the cash to expand its operation in the US – without raising capital. So far, revenues are growing, but it may take some time before the US becomes fully profitable. However, the share price will move long before then and now is the perfect time to jump on board.

Motley Fool writer/analyst Mike King owns shares in Nearmap

Matt Bugden: iSentia Group Ltd (ASX: ISD)

Shares in the media intelligence company are currently down around 35% from their highs last year. This presents a good opportunity to invest in an industry leader with more than 5,000 customers including most of the world’s top brands.

iSentia assists businesses and governments to harness the value of digital media. It has been moving customers to an attractive subscription based model, with strong growth in Asia. The full year results released on 24 August could prove pivotal. Consensus estimates suggest a forward P/E of slightly under 20 and a yield of around 2.5%.

Motley Fool contributor Matt Bugden has no financial interest in iSentia Group.

Matt Brazier: BWX Ltd (ASX: BWX)

“Natural” skincare company BWX Ltd recently announced a significant distribution partnership with Boots UK which is part of the Walgreens Boots Alliance. The Walgreens Boots Alliance is a global pharmacy leader with more than 13,000 outlets in 11 countries. Boots will stock BWX’s fast growing Sukin brand which is already the leading “natural” skincare range sold through Australian pharmacies. The segment is currently growing at 38% a year in Australia and BWX is now targeting growth in large overseas markets such as the UK and China.

Motley Fool contributor Matt Brazier has no financial interest in BWX Ltd

Regan Pearson: Rural Funds Group (ASX: RFF)

Rural Funds Group puts a spin on the traditional Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) by focusing on agricultural assets like almond orchards, vineyards and cattle property. It’s a unique way to add portfolio diversification, appears well managed and is very appealing for its quarterly cash payout. This is anticipated to be 9.64 cents per unit in FY17, yielding 5.8%.

At 31 May 2016, the company’s unaudited net asset value (NAV) per unit was $1.47, compared to the current unit price of $1.66, but will likely be updated when the company releases its financial accounts later this month.

Motley Fool contributor Regan Pearson has no financial interest in Rural Funds Group 

Tom Richardson: ResMed Inc. (ASX: RMD)

This San Diego headquartered medical device business ticks the boxes as a bottom draw growth stock thanks to its market-leading products, global horizons, founder led management and powerful tailwinds in the form of spending increases across the healthcare sector.

The company manufacturers and retails medical devices used to treat sleep apnea and is aiming to harness software services as part of a drive to become a leading tech and data driven home healthcare business. It offers overseas earnings exposure, a strong balance sheet, and trades on around 22x annualised earnings at $9, which is reasonable compared to healthcare peers such as Cochlear.

Motley Fool contributor Tom Richardson owns shares in ResMed. Inc.

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Motley Fool contributor Motley Fool Staff has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of A2 Milk and Xero. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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