For well over a year now, I've been doing my best to help the world invest better. Every month, I publicly call out a few stocks that I'm considering adding to my Roth IRA; next Monday, I'll let you know which stock made the cut.

So far, my monthly picks have returned about 3%, underperforming the S&P 500 return over the same time frame by 2.6 percentage points. A big reason for that is that three stocks I've invested heavily in are down, but I am confident they are still very solid investments.

Read below to find out what five stocks I'm thinking about buying and why, and at the end I'll be offering up access to a special premium report that digs super-deep into the details of one of the companies I'm considering.


Baidu
It only makes sense for me to include Baidu -- operator of China's largest search engine -- here. I've already called it out as my top stock pick  for 2013, and I just made it a Core holding for my growth portfolio

The company has grown revenue and earnings by over 50% per year for the last five years, yet only trades for just 17 times predicted earnings in 2013. Some of this is due to worries about increased competition, and some due to it being a Chinese company with possibly shady accounting. For now, I think those concerns are overblown.

Textainer
This pick also makes perfect sense to include here, as just today, I named Textainer my top dividend pick for 2013. I'll keep my reasons short and sweet here, as you can read more about the pick by clicking on the link above.

Textainer is the largest leaser of intermodal carriers in the world. With 95% of the world's goods being transported via shipping, and with a slowly recovering global economy, Textainer is well positioned to prosper. The company's list of worldwide shipping customers helps it efficiently utilize its carriers better than anyone -- and it offers a 5.6% dividend to boot!

Apple
The roughly 30% fall of Apple's stock from its September highs is a little confusing. Sure, the company has sent signals that earnings may not be the eye-boggling figures that they have been in the past. And the company has also endured two earnings misses in a row.

But let's not forget that Apple has still grown its revenue by 45% over the past year, and earnings by 59%. Knowing this, and coupling it with the simple fact that Apple is probably the greatest company of the past decade, I think today's shares -- which trade hands at just nine times expected earnings -- are a great deal.

Intuitive Surgical
Intuitive, maker of the da Vinci robotic surgical system that is commonly used in prostate and hysterectomy procedures, hasn't gotten the kind of respect that it probably deserves. Some of this is due to weakness in Europe -- one of the company's more significant markets -- and the fact that some doctors are putting off procedures in lower-risk patients.

But as with Apple, let's review the facts. The da Vinci is already being tested in a slew of other procedures. Over the first nine months of 2012, revenue has grown by 25% and earnings by 38%. And yet, the stock trades hands at 27 times expected earnings. That's not a screaming deal, but for such an innovative company, it's a good deal nonetheless.

National Oilwell Varco
Finally, we have National Oilwell. The company is responsible for supplying the parts that oil and gas companies all over the world need to safely extract energy from the earth. Dubbed "No Other Vendor" because of its ubiquity, the company is a solid long-term energy play that's now trading for less than 12 times earnings and stands to benefit from a large-scale upgrade of the world's oil rigging fleet.

A very solid long-term pick
Though it doesn't necessarily mean that it is my pick, I consider National Oilwell to be one of the lesser-known solid stocks out there -- especially when compared to stocks like Apple and Baidu.

I especially encourage you to read up pn it because this company alone makes up over 8% of my real-life portfolio.

National Oilwell is perhaps the safest investment in the energy sector due to its industry-leading 60% market share. To help determine if it's a nice fit for your portfolio, check out our premium research report with in-depth analysis on whether National Oilwell is a buy today. For instant access to this valuable investor's resource, simply click here now and claim your copy today.

The article 5 Stocks I Want to Buy Before 2013 originally appeared on Fool.com.

Fool contributor Brian Stoffel owns shares of Apple, Intuitive Surgical, National Oilwell Varco, and Baidu. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Baidu, and Intuitive Surgical. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Apple, Baidu, Intuitive Surgical, National Oilwell Varco, and Textainer Group. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. 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.

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