March 25, 2017

Should You Buy McDonald's 2.0?



Over the last two years, McDonald's Corporation (NYSE:MCD) has unleashed a stream of turnaround-related activities. The world's largest burger chain has simplified its menu while introducing all-day breakfast, closed underperforming stores, infused social consciousness into its brand, trimmed costs, streamlined its decision-making structure, and revised its reportable divisions.

Next up is an anticipated return to bona-fide growth, at least according to the "long-term global growth plan" McDonald's presented during its annual investor day earlier this month.

The plan consists of three major operational initiatives which themselves rest on three "strategic pillars." Taking a cue from the company's breakfast menu tweak last year, known as All Day Breakfast 2.0, we can think of this plan as a blueprint for a post-turnaround McDonald's 2.0.

In this two-part article series, we'll look at both the stated plan and the financial model behind it, to see if McDonald's is primed for both sales and profit resurgence.




March 24, 2017

Duke Energy Pays Steady Dividends For Retirement Portfolios



Duke Energy (DUK) is a popular holding in many retirement portfolios because of the company’s generous and dependable dividend.

Duke Energy has paid uninterrupted dividends for more than 90 years and increased its payout each calendar year since 2005.

With a dividend yield above 4%, a high Dividend Safety Score, and low stock price volatility, Duke Energy is worth a closer looks.

Let’s review Duke Energy’s business and dividend profile to see if the company is a solid candidate for investors living off dividends in retirement.




March 23, 2017

The 3 Best Big-Brand Stocks to Buy in 2017

How an investor can profit from global franchises including Tide, Listerine, and "Star Wars" this year.



It's no coincidence that the most successful companies on the planet often control the world's most valuable brands. Intellectual property -- particularly globally recognized and trusted franchises -- delivers higher profits and a defensible market position that translates into a huge competitive advantage for big-brand stocks.

With that in mind, here's why global brand powerhouses Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), and Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) deserve a top spot on investors' watch list for 2017.



March 21, 2017

3 Reasons Why General Electric Is No Match For Dividend King Emerson Electric


General Electric (GE) and Emerson Electric (EMR) are very similar companies. They operate in the industrial sector, and both are experiencing similar challenges right now, namely the strong U.S. dollar and weak commodity prices.

And, both stocks have attractive 3.2% dividend yields.

But Emerson Electric has one of the most impressive histories of raising dividends in the entire stock market. It has increased its shareholder payout for 60 years in a row.

As a result, it is a member of the Dividend Aristocrats, a group of companies in the S&P 500 that have raised dividends for 25+ years.

Not only that, but Emerson is also on the Dividend Kings list, which includes companies with 50+ years of consecutive dividend increases.

Emerson is one of just 19 Dividend Kings. You can see the entire list of Dividend Kings here.

This article will discuss three major reasons why I prefer Emerson stock over GE.




March 20, 2017

AT&T Vs. Verizon? It's Not Even Close


I have received several requests from my followers to compare and contrast AT&T (NYSE: T) versus Verizon (NYSE: VZ) over the past weeks as the wireless wars have heated up. In the past week I have spent an inordinate amount of time reviewing the two companies in order to answer this question.

I own both AT&T and Verizon stock currently at equal weights in my portfolio. I, like many of you, had come to the conclusion that the two companies were essentially a duopoly and the prudent thing to do would be to own both to diversify my portfolio and reduce risk. Nonetheless, after performing further due diligence, I have come to the conclusion that AT&T offers a much better investment opportunity going forward for dividend growth and income investors for several reasons. I went back through and read all the past articles comparing the two. Most were focused on the minutia and not the big picture. Most authors basically compare each fundamental statistic side by side and come to the conclusion there is no clear winner.




March 19, 2017

Notable Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades for Week of March 13, 2017


Upgrades:


Occidental Petroleum Co. (NYSE:OXY) was upgraded by research analysts at Bank of America Corp from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note issued to investors on Wednesday. Continue reading here.

Invesco Ltd. (NYSE:IVZ) was upgraded by Goldman Sachs Group Inc from a “neutral” rating to a “conviction-buy” rating in a research report issued on Wednesday. Continue reading here.

Franklin Resources, Inc. (NYSE:BEN) was upgraded by investment analysts at Bank of America Corp from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating in a report issued on Thursday. Continue reading here.

Barclays PLC (NYSE:BCS) was upgraded by analysts at Morgan Stanley from an “equal weight” rating to an “overweight” rating in a research note issued to investors on Friday. Continue reading here.

National Grid plc (NYSE:NGG) was upgraded by equities research analysts at Societe Generale from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued to investors on Friday. Continue reading here.

Aqua America Inc (NYSE:WTR) was upgraded by investment analysts at Barclays PLC from an “equal weight” rating to an “overweight” rating in a report issued on Friday. The firm presently has a $36.00 target price on the stock, up from their previous target price of $33.00. Barclays PLC’s target price indicates a potential upside of 12.25% from the stock’s current price. Continue reading here.

Downgrades:


Boeing Co (NYSE:BA) was downgraded by analysts at Morgan Stanley from an “overweight” rating to an “equal weight” rating in a research note issued to investors on Monday. They currently have a $190.00 price objective on the aircraft producer’s stock. Morgan Stanley’s price objective indicates a potential upside of 6.32% from the company’s current price. Continue reading here.

American Water Works Company Inc (AWK) was Downgraded by HSBC Securities to ” Hold”. Earlier the firm had a rating of “Buy ” on the company shares. HSBC Securities advised their Clients and Investors in a research report released on Mar 15, 2017. Continue reading here.

Intel Co. (NASDAQ:INTC) was downgraded by equities research analysts at Credit Suisse Group AG from an “outperform” rating to a “neutral” rating in a research note issued to investors on Wednesday. Continue reading here.

Ventas, Inc. (NYSE:VTR) was downgraded by research analysts at Goldman Sachs Group Inc from a “neutral” rating to a “sell” rating in a report released on Wednesday. Continue reading here.

Franklin Resources, Inc. (NYSE:BEN) was downgraded by equities research analysts at Morgan Stanley to an “underweight” rating in a research note issued to investors on Thursday. Continue reading here.

T. Rowe Price Group Inc (NDAQ:TROW) was downgraded by equities researchers at Morgan Stanley from an “equal weight” rating to an “underweight” rating in a report issued on Friday. Continue reading here.