Despite a positive start, stocks fell off after opening and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) finished down 0.16%, or 26 points. It was the blue chips' fifth straight session with little movement, as investors seem to be unsure if the market deserves to go further into record territory with earnings continuing to roll in. June new home sales topped expectations, coming at 497,000 versus estimates of 483,000, but Wall Street seemed to be unimpressed by President Obama's remarks on the economy. In his address, Obama touted mostly recycled ideas such as investing in infrastructure and raising the minimum wage that have gained little traction in the divided Congress.
Two industrial powerhouses on the Dow delivered earnings today. First, Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT ) shares finished down 2.4% after missing estimates as many had expected. The slowdown in Chinese construction has hurt demand for materials and thus mining equipment, a key component of Caterpillar's business. The world's largest maker of earth-moving equipment said profits fell 43% as EPS came in at $1.45, down from $2.54 a year ago, and worse than estimates at $1.69. Revenue dropped 15.8% to $14.6 billion, below expectations of $15.1 billion. Management promised cost-cutting to cope with the decrease in demand, and cut its full-year EPS outlook from $7 to $6.50.
Best Information Technology Companies To Buy Right Now: Chevron Corporation(CVX)
Chevron Corporation, through its subsidiaries, engages in petroleum, chemicals, mining, power generation, and energy operations worldwide. It operates in two segments, Upstream and Downstream. The Upstream segment involves in the exploration, development, and production of crude oil and natural gas; processing, liquefaction, transportation, and regasification associated with liquefied natural gas; transportation of crude oil through pipelines; and transportation, storage, and marketing of natural gas, as well as holds interest in a gas-to-liquids project. The Downstream segment engages in the refining of crude oil into petroleum products; marketing of crude oil and refined products primarily under the Chevron, Texaco, and Caltex brand names; transportation of crude oil and refined products by pipeline, marine vessel, motor equipment, and rail car; and manufacture and marketing of commodity petrochemicals, plastics for industrial uses, and fuel and lubricant additives. It a lso produces and markets coal and molybdenum; and holds interests in 13 power assets with a total operating capacity of approximately 3,100 megawatts, as well as involves in cash management and debt financing activities, insurance operations, real estate activities, energy services, and alternative fuels and technology business. Chevron Corporation has a joint venture agreement with China National Petroleum Corporation. The company was formerly known as ChevronTexaco Corp. and changed its name to Chevron Corporation in May 2005. Chevron Corporation was founded in 1879 and is based in San Ramon, California.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Roadmap2Retire]
I initiated a new position in AT&T Inc (T). AT&T barely needs an introduction being the behemoth ($184B market cap) in the telecommunications sector. AT&T is one of the 30 companies that compose the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), a yardstick to measure the health of the economy. This is my fourth DJIA stock in my portfolio following Chevron (CVX), General Electric (GE) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ).
- [By Dan Caplinger]
Chesapeake is still seeking to raise more cash through further asset sales this year. In February, Chesapeake sold a 50% interest in some of its Mississippi Lime acreage to China's Sinopec (NYSE: SHI ) . Then, earlier this month, Chesapeake said it's looking to sell further acreage in the Utica Shale play in the U.S. Midwest. Motley Fool contributor Tyler Crowe believes that Chevron (NYSE: CVX ) might be a natural buyer for Chesapeake's Utica property, given its recent commitment to focusing on unconventional domestic energy plays for further growth.
- [By Dan Caplinger]
Given its size, Exxon has to work hard just to stand still on the production front. Because existing wells naturally see declines in output over their productive lifetimes, Exxon has to look for new sources constantly in order to replace aging wells. The company is even less nimble than fellow Big Oil players Chevron (NYSE: CVX ) and ConocoPhillips, both of which expect much greater production growth than Exxon's targeted 2% to 3% growth. Chevron now expects 6% growth per year through 2017, while Conoco is seeking 3% to 5% annual growth over that period.
- [By Claudia Assis]
Energy companies in the Gulf also shut down about 40% of natural gas production. Several energy firms, including BP PLC (BP) , Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (APC) , Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDS.A) ,�Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) �and Chevron Corp. (CVX) , began evacuating workers earlier in the week.
10 Best Blue Chip Stocks To Watch Right Now: McDonald's Corporation(MCD)
McDonald?s Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, operates as a worldwide foodservice retailer. It franchises and operates McDonald?s restaurants that offer various food items, soft drinks, coffee, and other beverages. As of December 31, 2009, the company operated 32,478 restaurants in 117 countries, of which 26,216 were operated by franchisees; and 6,262 were operated by the company. McDonald?s Corporation was founded in 1948 and is based in Oak Brook, Illinois.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Neha Marway]
However, several industry observers feel that the chicken issue is not the sole reason for the quick service restaurant chain�� China woes. The food industry grew in China mainly because of the increasing disposable income of the middle class. However, now China�� middle income group has restricted their spending after the government�� strict measures. Additionally, KFC and other Western-based corporations including McDonald�� (MCD) and Burger King (BKW) are facing tremendous competition from local eateries of the economy.
- [By Dividends4Life]
Fair Value: In calculating fair value, I consider the NPV MMA Differential Fair Value along with these four calculations of fair value, see page 2 of the linked PDF for a detailed description: 1. Avg. High Yield Price 2. 20-Year DCF Price 3. Avg. P/E Price 4. Graham Number CINF is trading at a discount to only 3.) above. The stock is trading at a 36.8% premium to its calculated fair value of $34.96. CINF did not earn any Stars in this section. Dividend Analytical Data: In this section there are three possible Stars and three key metrics, see page 2 of the linked PDF for a detailed description: 1. Free Cash Flow Payout 2. Debt To Total Capital 3. Key Metrics 4. Dividend Growth Rate 5. Years of Div. Growth 6. Rolling 4-yr Div. > 15% CINF earned two Stars in this section for 1.) and 2.) above. A Star was earned since the Free Cash Flow payout ratio was less than 60% and there were no negative Free Cash Flows over the last 10 years. The stock earned a Star as a result of its most recent Debt to Total Capital being less than 45%. The company has paid a cash dividend to shareholders every year since 1954 and has increased its dividend payments for 54 consecutive years. Dividend Income vs. MMA: Why would you assume the equity risk and invest in a dividend stock if you could earn a better return in a much less risky money market account (MMA) or Treasury bond? This section compares the earning ability of this stock with a high yield MMA. Two items are considered in this section, see page 2 of the linked PDF for a detailed description: 1. NPV MMA Diff. 2. Years to > MMA The NPV MMA Diff. of the $62 is below the $500 target I look for in a stock that has increased dividends as long as CINF has. If CINF grows its dividend at 1.2% per year, it will take 5 years to equal a MMA yielding an estimated 20-year average rate of 3.68%. Memberships and Peers: CINF is a member of the S&P 500, a Dividend Aristocrat, a member of the Broad Dividend Achievers��Index and a Divid
- [By Andrew Marder]
Yesterday, Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX ) announced that starting next week, it will provide calorie counts on all of its menu boards in its U.S. stores. The move follows earlier menu updates by McDonald's (NYSE: MCD ) and others, as companies try to get out in front of any new legislation. Since 2010, when health care legislation came into effect, the FDA has been working on a law requiring businesses to display calorie information. That effort seems to have stalled out due to strong lobbying and sharp differences between the sides in the debate.
- [By Dan Caplinger]
McDonald's (NYSE: MCD ) , also a defensive favorite, had its own problems today, falling from new highs to end down 0.4%. For the fast-food giant, an outbreak of bird flu in China could lead to reduced numbers of customers in the emerging nation, which has been an important part of the McDonald's growth story in recent years. Reported price cuts could help, but they might also merely exacerbate sales declines by trimming margins and leading to further weakness.
10 Best Blue Chip Stocks To Watch Right Now: Philip Morris International Inc(PM)
Philip Morris International Inc., through its subsidiaries, engages in the manufacture and sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products in markets outside of the United States. Its international product brand line comprises Marlboro, Merit, Parliament, Virginia Slims, L&M, Chesterfield, Bond Street, Lark, Muratti, Next, Philip Morris, and Red & White. The company also offers its products under the A Mild, Dji Sam Soe, and A Hijau in Indonesia; Diana in Italy; Optima and Apollo-Soyuz in the Russian Federation; Morven Gold in Pakistan; Boston in Colombia; Belmont, Canadian Classics, and Number 7 in Canada; Best and Classic in Serbia; f6 in Germany; Delicados in Mexico; Assos in Greece; and Petra in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. It operates primarily in the European Union, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Canada, and Latin America. The company is based in New York, New York.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Ben Levisohn]
Shares of Phillip Morris (PM) have been performing about as well as a soggy cigarette–but Morgan Stanley still hopes they will catch fire.Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
How bad has performance of Phillip Morris been? Its shares have dropped 1.9% during the past 12 months, while American-focused Altria Group (MO) has gained 15%. British American Tobacco (BTI) has gained 3%, Reynolds American (RAI) has advanced 14%, and Lorillard (LO) has jumped 26%.
And now Morgan Stanley’s David Adelman and team have cut their earnings-per-share forecast for Phillip Morris by 11 cents thanks to the strong dollar, after cutting it by 41 cents six weeks ago. Adelman explains why:
While PM�� significant EM exposure has been an important driver of its 8%+ constant-currency 2008-2013 EBIT CAGR, recent weakness in a number of important EM currencies (e.g., Argentina, Turkey and Indonesia) will undoubtedly weigh on 2014 reported results. Further, it remains somewhat unclear the extent to which added Yen weakness will impact results, as PM�� F/X guidance already suggests that it was somewhat hedged on USD/Yen. Finally, with ~60% of its operating expenses denominated in ��ard dollar��currencies (USD, EUR and CHF), we have also incorporated a significant estimated transactional F/X impact (+40% of our $0.52/share est.).
Still, Adelman kept Phillip Morris rated Overweight. He explains why:
Remain OW, as stock should benefit from recent weakness and achievable 2014 targets: After underperforming US Tobacco and Staples by 18% and 24%, respectively, in 2013, and with expectations already lowered to a conservative level of 6-8% currency-neutral underlying EPS growth in 2014, we believe current valuation of ~14.5x 2015e P/E and <10x EV/EBITDA remains attractive. We continue to view local-currency earnings risk as to the upside, particularly as no new issues have appeared to emerge entering 2014 (such as unforeseen outsized excise
10 Best Blue Chip Stocks To Watch Right Now: Apple Inc.(AAPL)
Apple Inc., together with subsidiaries, designs, manufactures, and markets personal computers, mobile communication and media devices, and portable digital music players, as well as sells related software, services, peripherals, networking solutions, and third-party digital content and applications worldwide. The company sells its products worldwide through its online stores, retail stores, direct sales force, third-party wholesalers, resellers, and value-added resellers. In addition, it sells third-party Mac, iPhone, iPad, and iPod compatible products, including application software, printers, storage devices, speakers, headphones, and other accessories and peripherals through its online and retail stores; and digital content and applications through the iTunes Store. The company sells its products to consumer, small and mid-sized business, education, enterprise, government, and creative markets. As of September 25, 2010, it had 317 retail stores, including 233 stores in the United States and 84 stores internationally. The company, formerly known as Apple Computer, Inc., was founded in 1976 and is headquartered in Cupertino, California.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Evan Niu, CFA]
It had appeared that Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ) had bottomed out in April after hitting $385 just days before earnings. When the company reported its most recent figures, it took time for investors to digest the new information since Apple made a shockingly large increase to its capital return program and also said it would be partially be funding it with debt.
10 Best Blue Chip Stocks To Watch Right Now: International Business Machines Corporation(IBM)
International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) provides information technology (IT) products and services worldwide. Its Global Technology Services segment provides IT infrastructure and business process services, including strategic outsourcing, process, integrated technology, and maintenance services, as well as technology-based support services. The company?s Global Business Services segment offers consulting and systems integration, and application management services. Its Software segment offers middleware and operating systems software, such as WebSphere software to integrate and manage business processes; information management software for database and enterprise content management, information integration, data warehousing, business analytics and intelligence, performance management, and predictive analytics; Tivoli software for identity management, data security, storage management, and datacenter automation; Lotus software for collaboration, messaging, and so cial networking; rational software to support software development for IT and embedded systems; business intelligence software, which provides querying and forecasting tools; SPSS predictive analytics software to predict outcomes and act on that insight; and operating systems software. Its Systems and Technology segment provides computing and storage solutions, including servers, disk and tape storage systems and software, point-of-sale retail systems, and microelectronics. The company?s Global Financing segment provides lease and loan financing to end users and internal clients; commercial financing to dealers and remarketers of IT products; and remanufacturing and remarketing services. It serves financial services, public, industrial, distribution, communications, and general business sectors. The company was formerly known as Computing-Tabulating-Recording Co. and changed its name to International Business Machines Corporation in 1924. IBM was founded in 1910 and is based in Armonk, New York.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By MONEYMORNING.COM]
On Tuesday afternoon, Apple announced a "landmark partnership" with International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM). Together, the two companies aim to gain foothold in segments of the corporate world like healthcare, retail, and transportation. And they intend to use mobile to do it.
- [By Mani]
International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) is making the right kind of investments to position itself to win across key growth drivers including cloud, mobile, analytics and big data. All these mega-themes are expected to evolve in the next 3-5 years.
10 Best Blue Chip Stocks To Watch Right Now: Visa Inc.(V)
Visa Inc., a payments technology company, engages in the operation of retail electronic payments network worldwide. It facilitates commerce through the transfer of value and information among financial institutions, merchants, consumers, businesses, and government entities. The company owns and operates VisaNet, a global processing platform that provides transaction processing services. It also offers a range of payments platforms, which enable credit, charge, deferred debit, debit, and prepaid payments, as well as cash access for consumers, businesses, and government entities. The company provides its payment platforms under the Visa, Visa Electron, PLUS, and Interlink brand names. In addition, it offers value-added services, including risk management, issuer processing, loyalty, dispute management, value-added information, and CyberSource-branded services. The company is headquartered in San Francisco, California.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Reuters]
Steven Senne/AP BOSTON -- Companies that help Target process payments could face millions of dollars in fines and costs resulting from the unprecedented data breach that struck the retailer during the holiday shopping season. Investigators are still sorting through just how thieves compromised about 40 million payment cards and the information of about 70 million Target (TGT) customers. But people who have reviewed past data breaches believe Target's partners could face consumer lawsuits and fines that payment networks such as Visa (V) and MasterCard (MA) often levy after cybersecurity incidents. Target's partners "have deep pockets and are intimately involved in certain aspects of how Target gets paid," said Jamie Pole, a cybersecurity consultant in Asheboro, N.C., who works for government agencies and the financial industry. Fines and settlement costs could reach into the millions of dollars for individual companies, he said, though much will depend on how the ultimate liability for the breach is determined. Boston attorney Cynthia Larose of Mintz Levin said Target would likely seek to add its partners as defendants to lawsuits already filed over the breach. "These class-action lawsuits start to bring everyone in at some point," she said. After its systems were penetrated by hackers in the mid-2000s, retailer TJX Cos. (TJX) agreed to pay up to $40.9 million to cover fraud costs in a settlement with Visa. Visa also issued penalties of $880,000 against Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB) of Ohio, which processed transactions for TJX. Asked about the business relationships and possible costs, Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder declined to comment, citing the ongoing investigation and pending suits. A Visa spokeswoman declined to comment. A MasterCard spokesman said the company couldn't discuss an ongoing investigation. Handling Target Transactions Several companies are involved in any purchase from a store such as Target. A bank issues the consumer's payment card
- [By Sue Chang and Ben Eisen]
American Express Co. (AXP) �shares gained 3.6% while its competitor Visa Inc. (V) �rose 4.7%. American Express said late Thursday its fourth-quarter earnings jumped to $1.31 billion, or $1.21 a share, from $637 million, or 56 cents a share, a year ago. Excluding expenses, AmEx would have earned $1.25 a share. Revenue increased to $8.55 billion from $8.14 billion a year earlier.
10 Best Blue Chip Stocks To Watch Right Now: Colgate-Palmolive Company(CL)
Colgate-Palmolive Company, together with its subsidiaries, manufactures and markets consumer products worldwide. It offers oral care products, including toothpaste, toothbrushes, and mouth rinses, as well as dental floss and pharmaceutical products for dentists and other oral health professionals; personal care products, such as liquid hand soap, shower gels, bar soaps, deodorants, antiperspirants, shampoos, and conditioners; and home care products comprising laundry and dishwashing detergents, fabric conditioners, household cleaners, bleaches, dishwashing liquids, and oil soaps. The company offers its oral, personal, and home care products under the Colgate Total, Colgate Max Fresh, Colgate 360 Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Travis Hoium]
Toothpaste and toothbrushes may not be exciting business, but it's consistent and consumers tend to develop habits they rarely break. Once they find a toothpaste brand they like, it could be years before they try another one. That leads to another incredibly consistent business for Colgate-Palmolive (NYSE: CL ) , one that has paid back investors with a dividend since 1895. �
- [By Holly LaFon]
A: The stock market is a market of individual stocks that represent fractional ownership interests in real businesses. The key to investment success is first and foremost to identify individual, highly durable businesses and then have the discipline to buy them when prices are attractive and the risk/reward trade-off is compelling. We invest in what we understand, continuing to pour over the universe of businesses within our many circles of competence that meet our management, capital allocation, business model, and valuation criteria. Some areas that we believe offer the greatest opportunity in terms of prospective returns include:Global market leaders such as Nike (NKE), Colgate-Palmolive (CL) and Philip Morris International (PM) that are beneficiaries of a growing global middle class and consumer culture. The global wealth effect, particularly in developing economies, is a real and very powerful force that should serve as a tailwind for these types of global brands over the long term. Well-managed financial services companies with true franchise value due to the success of their particular products or brand that have the ability and management prowess to build market share over time in a highly fragmented marketplace. Wells Fargo and Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B) are representative examples in this category. The depth of the recent financial crisis is well known. What is less understood is that certain market leaders used the downturn to dramatically strengthen their capital base and significantly grow their market share at the expense of weaker competitors. Certain health care-related businesses such as UnitedHealth Group and Laboratory Corporation of America that stand to benefit from growing health care spending by aging populations around the world. Workhorse technology companies such as Texas Instruments (TXN), Microsoft (MSFT) and Google that are market leaders with durable competitive moats and that also offer an attractive risk/reward proposition at
- [By Ben Levisohn]
Shares of Procter & Gamble have dropped 3.2% during the past 12 months, lagging Unilever’s (UL) 2.5% rise, Colgate-Palmolive’s (CL) 8.7% advance and Kimberly-Clark’s (KMB) 3.1% gain.