Where to Invest Money in 2017: 3 Great Ideas

By Brian Feroldi Markets Fool.com

The new year is almost upon us, which makes right now a great time to comb through your portfolio and make any changes where needed. Perhaps you'll find a losing investment that you can sell to take advantage of tax-loss harvesting. Or maybe you have some money lying around that you can use to top off your annualIRAcontribution.

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Image source: Getty Images.

Regardless of where the money comes from, if you are looking to invest, you're going to need a few stocks to buy. Here's a closer look at three stock ideas -- CVS Health (NYSE: CVS), Paycom Software (NYSE: PAYC), and Illumina (NASDAQ: ILMN) -- that I think are great choices as we head into 2017.

Down, but not out

2016 was a rough year to be an investor in retail pharmacy giant CVS Health.The company's shares were slammed after management stated that it expects to lose 40 million retail prescriptions next year due to competitive pressure. The news caused management to forecast 2017 guidance that was a bit below Wall Street's expectation.

There's no doubt that the volume loss will sting, but I think the market is missing the bigger picture.CVS should still be able to grow revenue and profits in the years ahead on the back of new-store openings and the continued rollout of MinuteClinics. The company is also making good progress at growing itspresencein assisted-living and long-term-carefacilities. Plus, 10,000 baby boomers are retiring every day, so the overall demand for pharmacy services is bound to steadily increase.

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Image source: CVS Health.

In total, CVS Health is poised for a bright future, which is why its management team is projecting that it will grow its profits bydouble digitsin the years ahead. That's a strong growth rate for a company that is trading for only about 13 times next year's earningsestimates.

Give your paycheck a boost

The technological shift to cloud computing has been a disruptive force in many industries, and the payroll-processing market is one of the areas that has seen its effect. Paycom Software is an emerging leader in the space, and the company's easy-to-use software offering is attracting small and medium-size businesses to its platform in droves.

Paycom gets its foot in the door with new customers by focusing on payroll processing, but its platform can offer help with a number of mission-criticalHR functions. These include everything from background checks and scheduling to Affordable Care Act compliance and performance management. What helps separatePaycom from the rest of the pack is that the company's single sign-on system allows HR teams to track these functions in one place, which greatly simplifies their workload.

Image source: Getty Images.

What makes Paycom such a great investment opportunity is that payroll-processing and HR costs are ongoing expenses. That means that once a client signs on, it has to keep on paying to use the company's platform. In fact, 98% of Paycom's revenue is recurring, which gives the company a predictable base of revenue to grow from.

Paycom's revenue is expected to grow by more than 45% in 2016, and another 28% in 2017. The company's scalable business model should ensure that profit growth follows suit. While the company enjoys a premium valuation, this is one growth stock that I think is worth paying up to own.

The future of healthcare is already here

The odds are good that you have never had youDNA sequenced before, but that is likely to change in the not-too-distant future. Companies like Illumina have made huge advances over the last decade in bringing down the cost of genomic sequencing. A decade ago the process would have cost you more than$100 million, but today it can be accomplished for about $1,000.

Image source: Illumina.

The potential implications of these cost reductions are enormous. Over time, researches could be able to use DNA sequencing to detect diseases at far earlier stages, making them much easier to treat and manage. It could also open up the door to personalized medicine, which promises to make the drugs we take today far more effective. In total, it is not hard to imagine this technology could revolutionize the healthcare industry and ring up tens of billions in annual sales in the process.

That potential growth creates an enormous opportunity for investors in Illumina today. The company has been a leading equipment provider for years, and its razor/razor blade business model has helped drive enormous financial gains. That's resulted in the company's revenue growing at more than 62% annually over the last decade.

CAGR = compound annual growth rate. Image source: Illumina.

In spite of the company's long-term potential, shares of Illumina sold offhard earlier in the year over fears that near-term growth is slowing. While this remains an area to watch, the plunge has pulled the company's formerly sky-high P/E ratio all the way down to 42. That might not sound cheap, but it's actually one of the lowest valuations that the shares have traded at for years. As long as Illumina remains the market leader, then I can't help but feel that its future will be bright.

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Brian Feroldi owns shares of Paycom Software.Like this article? Follow him onTwitter, where he goes by the handle@Longtermmindset, or connect with him on LinkedIn to see more articles like this.

The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Illumina and Paycom Software. The Motley Fool recommends CVS Health. 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.