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3 ASX stocks to buy before 2020

With just 2 weeks left until the end of the year, and the start of another – I can’t help but think back to this time last year. In December 2018, markets were in freefall, the US Federal Reserve was raising interest rates (that seems unthinkable today) and we were about to see the worst December and Christmas for the stock market in living memory.

Fast forward to today, and all this seems a distant memory. Markets are at new all-time highs, interest rates are at record lows, a trade war deal has been tentatively reached and it’s seemingly onwards and upwards into a new decade.

To prepare for the new year and decade ahead, I’ve been thinking about which ASX shares I would love in my portfolio in preparation. Here are 3 that I’ve come up with.

Washington H. Soul Pattinson and Co. Ltd (ASX: SOL)

I was able to pick up some SOL shares recently, but it’s a stock I would be happy to add to before January. Soul Patts is one of the most diversified businesses on the ASX and owns shares in several other top-notch companies. These currently include Brickworks Limited (ASX: BKW), TPG Telecom Ltd (ASX: TPM) and BKI Investment Co Ltd (ASX: BKI).

Soul Patts’ market-leading history of dividend increases (20 years straight) gives me great faith in the company’s management and their long-term mindset.

Ramsay Health Care Limited (ASX: RHC)

Ramsay is another stock with a long history of rising dividend payments – almost matching Soul Patts in fact. I think the private hospitals space that Ramsay dominates will play an increasingly important role in our growing healthcare needs over the coming years. Thus, this is a company I would be very comfortable holding for next month, next year and next decade.

Coles Group Ltd (ASX: COL)

For me, Coles is the kind of business you can always count on (no pun intended). We all need to eat, after all, and it’s likely that Coles will always be the supermarket of choice for at least a decent chunk of the population due to its extensive store network and low-price model.

I wouldn’t mind picking up some COL shares before New Year’s Eve – the stock is looking cheap next to its recent post-float high of $16.60 today at $15.29 a share. I am also confident that Coles’ Smarter Selling cost cutting strategy will give the company’s dividend plenty of headroom going forward – adding to the appeal of this consumer staple stock.

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Motley Fool contributor Sebastian Bowen owns shares of Washington H. Soul Pattinson and Company Limited. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Washington H. Soul Pattinson and Company Limited. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Brickworks and Ramsay Health Care Limited. 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 Scott Phillips.