5 Blue-Chip Stocks to Buy: Navellier

The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.

NEW YORK ( InvestorPlace) -- Even with the political strife erupting around the globe, stocks logged their third straight month of gains this February. I expect this strong performance to continue and for the top stock picks to do even better in March as a fresh wave of buying pressure enters the market.

Whether you're one of those investors who has been riding the bench or you've been in the game all along, you want to have quality blue-chips in your portfolio. So I have put together a list of the top blue-chip stocks to buy to take advantage of this coming strength.

AutoZone (AZO)

AutoZone Inc. ( AZO) remains my favorite blue-chip. The company will release earnings for its fiscal second quarter today, and I think we'll really see the stock take off. Analysts are currently forecasting that the company will post earnings of $3.06 per share and sales totaling $1.6 billion. AutoZone has a history of beating analysts' estimates, and I'm confident that the company will pull out another good surprise this time around.

The company has a history of buying back stock, which helps increase earnings per share and, thus, drives the share price higher. I expect it to post strong quarterly earnings, and when that happens, much of the investor hesitation that has surrounded the stock of late will fall away. Buy AZO when it's trading for less than $274.

Novo Nordisk (NVO)

Novo Nordisk ( NVO) is up more than 9% in the past month. In the latest quarter, the company announced that sales increased 23% and profits surged 70% thanks to strong sales, reaching $724 million. In addition to a fantastic earnings report, the company announced that it would be implementing a share repurchase program, which began on Feb. 2, and will be in effect until April 26. Novo is a leader in diabetes management and recent regulatory failures of competitors have given it the green light to increase market share. The company just expanded its leading pharmaceutical services to include mobile technology. Novo Nordisk has developed the first mobile application to help doctors diagnose bleeding disorders. The application, Coags Uncomplicated, allows doctors to input test results and provides a list of possible diagnoses and descriptions that helps speed up the diagnosis process. Continue purchasing shares of NVO at less than $135.
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  • Ilumina Inc. (ILMN)

    Ilumina Inc. ( ILMN) announced absolutely fantastic fourth-quarter earnings, which is part of the reason the stock has made our list this month. I don't often recommend biotech companies to blue-chip investors as their earnings are erratic, but we have a rare exception in this case. The biotech company, which specializes in DNA-studying products, said its revenue increased 45% to $261 million in the quarter. Earnings also received a big boost, more than tripling to 29 cents per share.

    The company continues to showcase strong growth, and its newest product, the MiSeq sequencer, will surely help boost sales further. For 2011, Ilumina is expecting its earnings to grow more than 30% and revenue to climb an additional 20%. Buy ILMN at less than $77.
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  • Baidu (BIDU)

    The Chinese Internet search engine company Baidu Inc. ( BIDU) received a big boost after reporting yet another glowing quarterly earnings report, which beat analysts' earnings estimates by 9%. Revenue also increased by more than 100% in the quarter. There is something about the Chinese Internet market that only Chinese companies get. Baidu is the clear leader and Google ( GOOG) is a distant second, and from the recent quarterly performance, I don't see this changing any time soon. This year, I expect to see Baidu chase increasing advertising demand in China. And now that the country has overtaken Japan as the second largest economy in the world, the company is sure to see even more demand and room for expansion. The stock reached a new 52-week high on Valentine's Day of $131.63 per share and is positioned to go even higher. Buy BIDU at less than $143.
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  • Chipotle Mexican Grill

    Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc.'s ( CMG) recent expansion of same-store sales and operating margins suggest to me that earnings are about to surprise to the upside in 2011. An excellent fourth-quarter earnings report pushed the stock 5% higher on the day after its earnings were released. The stock hit a new 52-week high on Feb. 14 of $275, but has since pulled back to $245. With Chipotle opening more than 100 new locations in 2011, and opening a new Asian-cuisine branch, we're sure to hear a lot more from the company in the coming months. Given that the stock has been on an impressive run in the last 12 months, I have very high hopes for the stock. Buy CMG at less than $289.

    >To see these stocks in action, visit the 5 Blue-Chip Stocks to Buy portfolio on Stockpickr.
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  • As of this writing, Louis Navellier was recommending all of these stocks as members of his Blue Chip Growth stock newsletter.

    One of Wall Street's renowned growth investors, Louis Navellier is the editor of four investing newsletters: Emerging Growth (formerly known as MPT Review), Blue Chip Growth, Quantum Growth and Global Growth. His longest-running publication, Emerging Growth, has a track record of beating the market nearly 3 to 1. Navellier is the author of a BusinessWeek bestseller, "The Little Book That Makes You Rich," and the chairman and founder of Navellier & Associates, Inc.

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