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The FTSE 100 is still underperforming the S&P 500. Here are 2 US stocks I’d buy today

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UK stocks have done pretty well so far this year. Year-to-date, the FTSE 100 index is up roughly 7%. What’s interesting however, is that US stocks have done even better. Year to date, the S&P 500 index is up about 10%.

This underperformance from the UK shows why it’s generally a good idea to have some exposure to US stocks. By allocating capital to the US, UK investors may be able to boost their returns (and lower their overall portfolio risk).

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Here, I’m going to highlight two US stocks I’d buy for my own portfolio today. Both have had a good run over the last 12 months. However, in the long run, I think they can go much higher.

Warren Buffett’s top stock

One US stock I’d buy today is Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL)Warren Buffett’s top holding. This is a world-class company, in my view. Not only does it own one of the most powerful brands in the world, but it also has a formidable ‘ecosystem’ that locks customers in.

Looking ahead, I think the future looks pretty exciting for Apple. For starters, we’re about to see a huge 5G ‘upgrade cycle’ where consumers trade up to 5G-compatible handsets.

Secondly, revenue in its services division, which includes Apple Music, iCloud, and the App Store, looks set to keep rising rapidly. With the company charging a 30% commission on many paid apps and in-app purchases, the App Store is set to bring in billions in revenue in the years ahead.

There are risks to consider here, of course. One is the global semiconductor shortage that’s affecting a lot of tech firms. This could impact sales in the short term. Another is competition from rivals such as Samsung.

Overall however, I think the long-term investment case here is very attractive. With the stock down 8% from its 2021 high and currently trading on a forward-looking price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 30, I’d buy it today.

A top US growth share

Another US stock I’d buy today is Pinterest (NASDAQ: PINS). It’s a social media company that offers a ‘visual discovery’ engine. It’s often talked about as the ‘friendly’ social media platform due to the fact there’s very little trolling and abuse on the platform compared to other platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

The reason I like Pinterest is I believe it has a lot of potential in the e-commerce space. Last year, the company formed a partnership with online shopping powerhouse Shopify that allows its retailers to upload their product catalogues to the Pinterest platform. This makes it easy for users to go from searching for inspiration to buying goods online. Looking ahead, I expect to see retailers increase their ad spend here substantially, as the platform is an advertiser’s dream.

I will point out that this is a more speculative stock. Profits are still very small, and the valuation is quite high (the forward-looking P/E is close to 100). If future growth is disappointing, the stock could fall.

However, I’m encouraged by the fact that Microsoft approached Pinterest about a takeover recently. This indicates to me Pinterest is a very good, desirable company with a lot of growth potential.

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Edward Sheldon owns shares in Apple, Pinterest, Microsoft and Shopify. Teresa Kersten, an employee of LinkedIn, a Microsoft subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Randi Zuckerberg, a former director of market development and spokeswoman for Facebook and sister to its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. The Motley Fool UK owns shares of and has recommended Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Pinterest, and Twitter and recommends the following options: short March 2023 $130 calls on Apple and long March 2023 $120 calls on Apple. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

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