Investing is all about perspective. While all the headlines scream about doom, despair, and agony, there are plenty of investors who have a different read on the situation: They see promise, value and opportunity peeking out of the rubble left by this week's stock market shakeup.

Instead of sitting on the sidelines and rubbernecking, put your money to work for the future. To get you started, we asked 10 Motley Fool writers, analysts, and market watchers how they're deploying their investment dollars right now and what stocks, mutual funds, ETFs, and other opportunities investors should have on their radars right now.

Anders Bylund, a self-described nerdy growth-stock junkie, is going ga-ga for Google:

Over the last five years, online titan Google (GOOG) has grown sales, earnings, and operating cash flows at an annual clip of over 30% each. Yet the stock has only gained 10% a year, held back by fears of growing competition and a supposed One-Trick Pony Syndrome.

Lucky for you, share prices keep dropping to ridiculously affordable levels on a regular basis, and this is one of those buy-in windows.

I can't think of a single thing I'd rather do with excess cash today than stuff it into Google shares. We're talking about a company that turned the smartphone and GPS markets on their respective heads, invested in wind power and driverless cars, and is exploring new markets such as home entertainment systems and social networking. And I'm just scratching the surface here. Search-fueled advertising clicks may provide Big G's dominant melody, but we're hardly looking at a one-note Neil Young guitar solo.

Anders owns shares of Google.

Rick Aristotle Munarriz, envious opportunist, is looking forward to getting a cheap shot at a few recently hot IPOs:

Like most investors, I don't have access to IPOs before they hit the market. I don't manage a hot mutual fund. I didn't go to school with a bigwig underwriter. My lavish yacht is docked solely in my vivid imagination. However, a funny thing happens when stock prices begin cascading during a market downturn. Hot IPOs become busted IPOs.

Pandora (P) went public at $16, traded as high as $26, but the fast-growing -- though profitless -- music discovery site is now trading in the low teens. Similarly, shares of headphone maker Skullcandy (SKUL), dating website operator FriendFinder Network (FFN), Florida-based banker BankUnited (BKU), and Chinese social networking leader Renren (RENN) are all trading below their IPOs at the moment.

Many of them are trading low for a reason, but think about it: Here is your chance to buy into these companies for less than what institutional investors and underwriter school chums paid up for them as daring debutantes earlier this year. It's one way to help that imaginary yacht get closer to becoming real.

Jim Mueller loves to take advantage of other people's irrationality, and he's considering filling his portfolio's tank with some cheap black gold:

Yesterday's dramatic drop in crude oil prices, and the resulting drop in the share prices of companies all over the oil industry spectrum, give savvy investors another chance to profitably invest in this commodity:

  • Oil giant ExxonMobil (XOM) dropped 5% and is down 13.3% from its recent high.
  • Brazilian producer Petrobras (NYSE: PBR) fell 8.5% yesterday.
  • Under-a-cloud driller Transocean (NYSE: RIG) fell a similar amount yesterday and is down 22% from its May high.

Yet the long-term earnings and cash-generating power of these companies haven't changed one iota, just because some people became afraid of the near-term future.

Oil is becoming harder both to find and extract. Petrobras' newest oil fields are at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, a far cry from the easy-to-access fields in the Middle East. It will take the skills of Transocean and other deepwater drillers to get it out. On the other side of the equation, demand is growing. We burn oil not only to drive or fly around, but also to generate electricity or heat. It's also a major input for the plastics and chemical industries. That combination means higher oil prices over the long term, which means these companies will make more money giving the world what it wants more of.

Don't let the daily fluctuations of a crazy market scare you away from this opportunity. In a few years, you'll be laughing all the way to the bank.

Jim owns shares of Exxon and Transocean.

Travis Hoium loves to make big bets when the market is bluffing. He's placing his chips on a few choice gambling stocks:


When the market starts to panic in any way, gambling stocks are some of the first stocks to be put through the ringer. Casino companies are generally highly leveraged with debt, and conventional wisdom would say that gaming tables will sit empty if there's not disposable income to dispose of. But conventional wisdom doesn't rule gambling in Asia, the one place I would be willing to bet on gambling today. When it comes to gambling on gaming stocks, Wynn Resorts (WYNN) has the odds stacked in its favor.

The new gambling hub of the world, Macau, grew gaming revenue 48.4% in July, despite a slow worldwide economy, and it will likely grow well over 40% for the year. With a limit on the number of competing casinos, that means more for all operators. Wynn tops competitors like Melco Crown (MPEL) and Las Vegas Sands (LVS) by virtue of its stronger balance sheet; it's also the only one of these companies to pay a dividend.

Rich Smith is proud to be a "heartless capitalist" (his words, not mine!). In more genteel terms he likes to zig when the market zags, and is getting ready for even more sagging:

When Mr. Market gets fearful, I get greedy. Right now, I've got a large chunk of my assets in cash, but I've been waiting for a chance to deploy those assets for maximum gain. The hissy fit Mr. Market threw on Thursday -- utterly out of proportion to any actual news we saw -- tells me the time is ripe to begin putting money to work.

I plan to begin moving funds from my bank account, where they've lain dormant collecting token annual interest for months, and using them to top off my discount brokerage account. If the market bounces today -- fine and dandy. The money will just sit in its new different basket until the next sell-off. If the market keeps falling, though, as I believe it will, then I'm going to take advantage of the panic. Yesterday, shares of Apple (AAPL) became 4% cheaper for no reason whatsoever. General Motors (GM) likewise lost 4% despite reporting blowout earnings. That's just crazy -- and I plan to profit as American markets sink deeper into madness.

Fool.com writer/editor and CFP Dan Caplinger recommends that investors take a holistic approach to the dip and scoop up shares of companies that add diversity to one's portfolio:

Now's a great time to invest in something new with your money. If you already have a good stock portfolio, consider investing in an area of the market you've never looked at before. For instance, metals stocks like Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX) got hit hard this week, but with long-term demand from emerging market countries, a temporary blip in the economy gives you a good buying opportunity.

Even if you've never invested before, household names like PepsiCo (PEP) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) pay great dividends and offer stability and value. If you've got all your money in a savings account earning nothing, stocks are cheaper than they've been in a long time

Uncertainty doesn't sit well with Motley Fool writer Cindy Johnson. This value-conscious investor likes companies that are safe bets in any economy:

For a company with an uncanny ability to weather an uncertain economy, look no further than IBM (IBM). It has extensive experience delivering impressive EPS growth with only lackluster revenue growth. That's compelling if the economy muddles along for years, as many experts expect. The company is currently benefiting from early investments in developing markets, business analytics, cloud computing, and smarter planet initiatives.

IBM also does a remarkable job of delivering value to shareholders. Over the last five years, its dividend has more than tripled, growing at an average annualized rate of 27%. That's cash you can live on, even if inflation heats up. From 2005 through 2010, EPS grew at an average annualized rate of 19% ... with unusually high quality of earnings. Management has a well-thought-out plan to grow EPS by at least 11% annualized through 2015-and a history of beating its plans. That should support continued strong dividend growth. The stock is trading at a reasonable 13.9 P/E ratio and yields 1.7%. For a value-conscious investor like me, IBM is a safe stock for any economy.

Resident economy watchdog Morgan Housel has a long-term time horizon and the temperament to go on vacation for a while and let his investments ride:

My investing style revolves around simplicity and diversification. If that sounds like you, too, I'd consider looking at some of the dividend-centric ETFs. Two I like are the SPDR S&P Dividend ETF (SDY), and the Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF (VIG).

Both funds select stocks with long track records of reliable dividend payouts and consistent dividend growth. Most of these are large-cap, multinational blue chip stocks with names you'd recognize. But both funds are fairly diverse, so there's no real need to track individual companies. It's more of a set-it-and-forget-it style.

Neither fund will shoot the lights out, but both should offer good returns for shareholders who have a long time horizon and the patience to accumulate steady dividends over time. After days like yesterday, an investor shouldn't ask for much more.

The stock market isn't the only place to put your dollars to work in this market. Motley Fool writer and fix-it girl Tierney Plumb recommends that future home sellers consider investing in improvements to increase their asking price down the road:

When it comes time to stick a for-sale sign in your front yard, deploying dollars into home-improvement projects is a smart investment. Considering that home prices in 20 major cities fell 4.5% year over year in May, according to S&P/Case-Shiller's late July report, potential sellers should consider some of these price tag-raising tactics.

Smaller-scale upgrades -- replacing an entry or garage door, minor kitchen remodeling or wood deck additions -- result in the most bang for your buck, according to Remodeling Magazine's most recent annual survey comparing the price of popular home improvement projects to their resale value.

Homeowners can score great deals on enhancement projects these days, thanks to cheap materials and many unemployed builders willing to take on jobs for less. Just be wary of improvements that will adversely affect a home's value, such as decreasing bedroom counts and making the house "unique" in some way, which may impact the sales price down the road.

Jonathan Berr hopes to strike it rich one day on "Antiques Roadshow." Until then, he'll daydream about what he would do with his millions – and float this investment idea for those who already have a fat balance in their accounts:

Some modern art and iconic collectibles have been known to hold their values better than stocks. However, investing in collectibles really is only recommended for the extremely wealthy. Consider that a painting by the Austrian painter Egon Schiele sold for $40 million at Christie's, almost double the previous record for the artist. A hat worn by Babe Ruth sold for $328,000 in 2008. That said, even if you can afford to acquire such treasures, consider the problem of liquidity: Finding buyers for this stuff is not easy. Still, we all can dream, right?

The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy that's a pleasant distraction for those who need a little something to calm their nerves today.


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seekerofknowledge

Barack Obama 2012 because the rest of the Republican candidates look like schmucks.

August 08 2011 at 4:54 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
NunyaB

After the fall?!!!! Its still falling!!!!! At least wait until some kind of bottom is put in before you advise others to start catching falling knives.

August 08 2011 at 2:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kingmanlr

wake up stupid Americans ,,,,,,,,,,,,,ARE YOU ALL THAT STUPID ------------ THAT YOU ALL CAN;T SEE,,,,,, ,,,,,,,WAKE UP ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,before it is to late ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,this country is falling apart ,the poor people of america --the freaks or the losers or con- people ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,- the free loader-------- know how to beat the system,,,,,,why should the go to work for 40 to 50 hours AND MAKE 10 DOLLARS AN HOUR ,,,,,AND SUFFER ,,,,,,,,when you go right to welfare and get everything free for life ,,,we have 545 morons running this country ,INTO THE GROUND they should all be fired ,,,,,,,AT one time people came to america to work and make something for themselves ,AND WERE PROUD ,,,,,,,,,,,,, but this is not the old america ,,,,,,THIS IS AMERICA THE NEW THIRD WORLD COUNTRY A WELFARE COUNTRY ,,,,there are no jobs IN THIS COUNTRY ANY MORE JUST COME HERE TO THIS SAD BANKEUPT COUNTRY AND GO STRAIGHT TO WELFARE --FOOD STAMPS ----------FREE MEDICAL AND SOCIAL SECURITY ,,THIS COUNTRY IN MY OPINION IS FINISHED WE ARE A THIRD WORLD COUNTRY ,,,,,,,ON THE NEWS TODAY THEY SAY NOW MEXICO HAS A STRONGER ECONOMY THAN THE UNITED STATES ,,,,,..................,,WHY I SAY ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,AM I THE ONLY ONE .TO SAY IT .AND HAVE THE GUTS TO SAY it .............ONLY I HAVE GUTS TO SAY IT .................WE TOOK ALL THERE REJECTS AND LOSERS AND POOR PEOPLE FROM MEXICO AND THEY LIVE HERE IN AMERICA ,GOD CAN-NOT SAVE AMERICA IT IS FINISHED OVER 48 MILLION PEOPLE NOW HAVE A FOOD STAMP CARD AND 70 MILLION PEOPLE COLLECT A FEDERAL CHECK AND IT GROWS EVERY WEEK ,,,,,,,,,,,THE END OF AMERICA IS COMING ,

August 08 2011 at 9:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
hayneschristina

where is a good place to put funds for retirement. I am 41 unemployed and want to save some cash.

August 08 2011 at 9:46 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
PARADE PAPER INC

that's life
free yesterday and now the new govt
the people choice and voted him in power. have fun .i quess we
start over again someday
GOD save America

August 08 2011 at 9:27 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
tarilop

Thanks Steven for comment put it into the mattress fund.

Thanks Mike for comment lovers your just rewards are now unstoppable.

Thanks simpsongrsm for comment If you have cash, look for some quality acres with good water, timber and some wildlife, tillable land.

I want to thank daily finance for posting: 6 Ways to Save Money in the Second Half of the Year
Lynnette Khalfani-Cox


http://www.walletpop.com/2011/07/01/6-ways-to-save-money-in-the-second-half-of-the-year/

Invest in any thing usefull don't have expire date, Invest depends on how much cash you have.

Thank you for reading.

August 08 2011 at 3:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
simpsongrsm

This is "not the time" to invest in the stock market unless you like to gamble. No one knows what this market is going to do and forget those talking heads who talk about the "long term" - I will tell you why! You could invest 100K and lose half of it in just a few months or weeks! After ten years, you may get it back -or not! This is NOT THE TIME to put any new money to work in ANY STOCK. If you have cash, look for some quality acres with good water, timber and some wildlife, tillable land is also a plus. If you have gold and silver - you are going to need weapons to protect it - and that means proficiency with weapons. Netherless, having some good hunting rifles and sidearms is a necessity at any time plus plenty of ammo and tools. One thing is certain "Obama has changed everything" and not for the better - he has done tremendous damage to our country and he will try to do even more. God help us if that imbecile gets elected for another 4 years.

August 08 2011 at 12:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to simpsongrsm's comment
seekerofknowledge

You're wrong. It's Tea Party Republicans that need to stop acting like "domestic terrorists" and hazarding our economy from improvement. This happened to Clinton and it's happening to Obama. History always repeats itself.

August 08 2011 at 4:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Steven

This President makes former Pres. Carter look like a genius.
Obama may not be the antiChrist, but definitely one of his demon helpers.
Pelosi on the other hand, well you figure it out.
Larry Burkett wrote a book in 1991, about this very economic climate we're living.
"The Coming Economic Earthquake"
Are we there yet?

August 07 2011 at 5:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Steven

if you have any money left, put it into the mattress fund. And invest in food, candles, and firewood

August 07 2011 at 5:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
tarilop

I agree with savemycountry911

Invest in dried beans.

I want to thank daily finance for posting good articles, they also post another article : Why You're 45% Poorer and What You Can Do About It ? !

Thanks rickpetersonms for comments 1:24 AM Mar 29, 2011

His advice is to buy stocks? OMG, the only reason stocks are "going up" is because the Dollar is crashing.
Bush/Obama/Bernanke have DOUBLED the money supply in the past 3 years! Carter increased
the money supply 13% and we had 12% inflation.
Now, they take unimportant stuff like food, fuel and housing out of the inflation numbers that are published, but, it isn't hard to do the math.
Screw the stock market. It's time to buy gold, silver, food, ammo, medical supplies, alcohol tobacco (even if you don't smoke) and other comodities because what is coming will make the first depression look like a cake walk.
Think about it, in 1930 we didn't have unfunded mandates like Social Security, Medicade, Medicare, federal government pensions, state pensions, and the like. Do a search under "heirloom seeds" see how Monsanto and the government are making it impossible for you to grow your own food. In 1930 most of the population lived on farms and knew how to grow food, and most importantly, they knew how to take care of themselves without a government handout. What do you think will happen now when the Social Security checks, the welfare checks and the umemployment checks stop?

I am sorry for what she said about leaders markets government Social Security Medicare federal government pensions, state pensions, if you are going to Invest then like what she said gold, silver, food, ammo, medical supplies, alcohol tobacco (even if you don't smoke) and other comodities.

Some patience will be required Thank you for reading.

August 07 2011 at 3:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply