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Google Inc (GOOG), The Coca-Cola Company (KO), Apple Inc. (AAPL): Who’s a Steal?

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In the summer of 2011, I set out to show Fools, step-by-step, how I would be building my own retirement portfolio. Picking out 10 stocks I planned to hold for at least three years, I’ve put at least $4,000 of my family’s retirement money behind each stock.

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)

Since then, that initial $40,000 investment has grown to $55,760 — or $3,320 more than if the money had simply been invested in the S&P 500. And as you’ll see, one of these ten stocks is ripe for the buying right now.

Company Publication Date Change Vs. S&P 500 (Percentage Points)
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) 6/26/11 78.2% 44
PriceSmart  6/28/11 74.1% 42
Baidu* 9/15/12 23.7% (7)
Intuitive Surgical 7/25/11 (3.6%) (32)
National Oilwell Varco  7/28/11 (4.7%) (36)
The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) 6/21/11 20.8% (12)
Whole Foods  7/5/11 73.9% 46 7/12/11 36.4% 6
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) 6/30/11 50.9% 21
Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) 8/1/11 44.6% 11
 Total  39.4%  8.3

Source: YCharts.
*Includes original position which was in ATVI, and sold in September 2012.

Two of the biggest losers since last month’s check-in are the two dividend stalwarts in the portfolio: Coke and Johnson & Johnson. Coke’s downward trend continued after a poor earnings release that was blamed on bad weather — but has some investors questioning whether the company’s core soda business is in a long-term decline.

Johnson & Johnson, on the other hand, has dropped 8.6% over the past month. Some of that could be blamed on the company’s pending lawsuits stemming from complications of Tylenol usage. But I think it’s just as likely that the stock was getting a little expensive, and with the overall market trending down for the month, Johnson & Johnson naturally got a bigger haircut than the rest.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), on the other hand, was the only company showing significant gains since last month. Buzz has been building around the company’s likely release of the iPhone5S in early September, as well as the possibility of a cheaper version for use in China.

Even after the past month’s 6% gain in shares, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) still trades for a very low 12 times expected earnings for its next fiscal year. That being said, the company didn’t make it as this month’s stock to buy.

Google is a steal right now

Instead, it is California counterpart Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) that I think is the best buy of the bunch right now. The company’s stock has quietly trended downward by about 7% since topping out at $928 in mid-July.

More important than that, however, the underlying fundamentals of the company remain solid, and it is trading for 21 times non-GAAP earnings per share and 23 times free cash flow. When you consider that the company’s volume of advertising clicks has more than offset the decline in cost-per-clicks, any short-term worries should be assuaged.

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