Hot Blue Chip Stocks To Watch Right Now

Floating rate funds can offer a hedge against rising interest rates; here’s a look at the basics of these funds, along with our top picks, says Walter Frank in MoneyLetter.

Floating rate—of bank loan—funds invest in floating rate loans, which are issued by firms with below-investment grade refit ratings.

Compared to traditional bonds, which are issued by a firm directly to the public, floating rate loans are issued by banks to firms that need to raise capital. Then, these loans are repackaged for sale to investors.

Traditional bonds generally have a fixed coupon rate that does not change for the life of the bond. In the case of a floating rate security, interest payments are based on a floating rate that is reset periodically, usually every 30 to 90 days.

That means that, even should interest rates climb, the securities should be fairly well protected from price declines, since the interest rate reset is never far away.

Eaton Vance Floating Rate (US:EVBLX), yielding 3.72%, invests in a broadly diversified portfolio of firms. The long-time management team focuses on fundamental credit analysis, liquidity, asset coverage, and management strength.

Hot 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 Matthew Coffina]

    Philip Morris International (PM)

    Among our holdings, Philip Morris is arguably the most exposed to depreciating emerging market currencies, since it doesn’t have any US sales. Unfortunately, currency fluctuations are an unavoidable tradeoff for emerging markets’ relatively stable cigarette volumes.

  • [By Lawrence Meyers]

    That means you should go with either Altria Group (MO) or Philip Morris International (PM). And if you’re only interested in buying one, I think I’d select MO stock. It pays a slightly better divided (5.2% vs. 4.7%).

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Shares of Lorillard have jumped 4.6% to $51.29 at 1:32 p.m. today, while Reynolds American has gained 2.5% to $52.12 and British American Tobacco has dropped 1.1% to $107.62. Altria Group (MO), meanwhile, has risen 0.4% to $36.43 and Philip Morris International (PM) has declined 0.9% to $80.21.

Hot 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 Rustic Nomad]

    Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD), a Minneapolis-based restaurant chain, recently declared its fourth-quarter financial results and they were not impressive. Amid tough competition from its rivals such as Dine Equity (DIN) and McDonald’s (MCD), analysts were expecting better financial results, which the company failed to provide.

  • [By Andrés Cardenal]

    The war for breakfast is getting hotter than ever, with big fast-food companies such as Yum! Brands (NYSE: YUM  ) , McDonald’s (NYSE: MCD  ) , and Burger King (NYSE: BKW  ) intensifying their competitive pressure in that lucrative niche. On the other hand, at the higher end of the pricing spectrum, Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX  ) could be a clear winner in that competition thanks to its differentiated quality and successful menu innovations.

  • [By Ravagadus]

    The breakfast wars are heating up nicely in the form of a three-way challenge between McDonald’s (MCD), Yum Brands (YUM) Taco Bell and Starbucks (SBUX). The fight is on to lure unsuspecting customers from One Breakfast table to another.

Hot 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 Reuters]

    Gene J. Puskar/AP WASHINGTON and NEW YORK — Comcast (CMCSA) sought to rebut critics of its planned $45.2 billion takeover of Time Warner Cable (TWC), arguing that newcomers such as Google and Apple would ensure competition in both Internet and video markets. In a 175-page filing with the Federal Communications Commission that coincides with the formal launch of the controversial deal, Comcast argued that either all or key areas of its and Time Warner Cable’s businesses compete with an “array of sophisticated companies with national or even global footprints.” The U.S. Department of Justice will conduct the antitrust review and the FCC will examine whether the deal is in the public interest. Comcast has pledged to divest some cable subscribers so the combined company would serve just under 30 percent of the U.S. pay television video market. The company said it would serve between 20 and 40 percent of the U.S. broadband subscribers. MoffettNathanson research estimates the company would cover about 33 percent of the high-speed Internet market. Opponents have raised concerns that the combined company will have too much power over what Americans can watch on television and do online, becoming a powerful buyer of Web and pay-TV content. The cable companies are expected to face those concerns on Wednesday when their officials, Comcast’s executive vice president David Cohen and Time Warner Cable’s finance chief Arthur Minson, testify in Congress. In Tuesday’s filing, Comcast argues that such concerns are unwarranted, especially given the growing competitiveness of both the video and internet markets. The filing names Amazon.com (AMZN), Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOG), Microsoft (MSFT), Verizon Communications (VZ), Netflix (NFLX), Dish Network (DISH) and DirecTV (DTV) as companies making progress over the last decade in competing against Comcast with video content, while cable operators have lost subscribers. “In the evolving video marketplace in which these comp

  • [By Damian Illia] in Japan.

    On the other hand, the firm is near to completing the roll out of its fiber to the home network, which has a broader reach than its competitors. Moreover, it allows broadband speeds of 200 Mb/second, which is faster than cable operators’ offering and a rarity among incumbent telecom operators.

    Downsides

    However positive for long-term growth, the building of its FTTH network depressed Nippon’s returns on capital. Even though this situation is improving as the rollout nears completion, returns in the fixed-line division still lag those of most incumbent telecom operators.

    Returns are also being pressured by KDDI Corp. (KDDIY), the second largest telecom operator in Japan. This firm acquired J:COM, the largest cable TV company in the country, in 2010. As a result, competition has turned more aggressive, since it now offers a quadruple play of services that includes broadband and television as well as wireless and fixed telephony.

    A Clear Horizon

    Nippon has a strong balance sheet with a solid cash position, which it is using to increase its dividend, buy back stocks, make acquisitions and pay down debt.

    Despite the company having difficulties generating decent returns in its fixed-line division, revenue declines in this unit will be sufficiently offset by the growth expected in data usage and its wireless segment.

    Nippon’s stock trades at 10.9 its trailing earnings, a compelling multiple compared to the industry median of 16.80. The growth of its earnings per share is also attractive, boasting a 2.2% against its rivals’ average of 0.60%. Its return on invested capital, in turn, showcases a healthy 26.5% compared to its competitors’ median of 23.05%, and will continue to grow as the rollout of its FTTH network finishes, giving capital expenditures a respite.

    Hence, although investment gurus David Dreman (Trades, Portfolio) and Charles Brandes (Trades, Portfolio) reduced their hold

  • [By Vinay Singh]

    Pandora Media (P)’s results for the quarter ending in December were quite impressive, with both profits and revenue increasing. But the forecast for earnings per share for this year lies between $0.13 and $0.17, which is below analysts’ expectations of $0.19 per share. The main reason behind this weak forecast for earnings is the aggressive investments that Pandora is making to keep up growth in users and to boost advertisement sales in the face of tough competition from Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG).

  • [By MONEYMORNING.COM]

    Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) is reportedly interested in acquiring Renesas SP Drivers, a Japanese chip maker whose products are designed to improve smartphone image display and preserve battery life.

Hot 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 Douglas A. McIntyre]

    Some traditional brand powerhouses have lost ground in the Top 100 since 2009. These include BMW, FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) and Colgate-Palmolive Co. (NYSE: CL).

  • [By Lee Jackson]

    Colgate-Palmolive Co. (NYSE: CL) is a top consumer staples name to make the UBS. Colgate sells its products in more than 200 countries and makes more than 75% of its revenue outside the United States, which provides geographic diversification and growth opportunities in emerging markets for the company. This diversity, matched with a huge list of consumer products, keeps revenues and dividends growing. Investors are paid a 2.3% dividend. The consensus target is $67.14. Colgate closed Tuesday at $64.34.

  • [By TaniaC]

    Colgate-Palmolive Company (CL) is a consumer products company whose products are marketed in over 200 countries and territories throughout the world. It operates in two segments: Oral, Personal and Home Care and Pet Nutrition.

  • [By Dan Caplinger]

    Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG  ) will release its quarterly report on Friday, and investors have watched the stock hit new all-time record highs in November before falling back in the past two months. Despite the optimism, Procter & Gamble earnings face pressure from international giant Unilever (NYSE: UL  ) as well as domestic rivals Colgate-Palmolive (NYSE: CL  ) and Kimberly-Clark (NYSE: KMB  ) . The question facing investors is whether P&G can sustain its longtime competitive advantages against its rivals and bolster its growth.

Hot 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 base d in Armonk, New York.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Benjamin Pimentel]

    The tech sector also was weighed down by shares of Twitter Inc., (TWTR)  which were down 2.7% to close at $45.73, Intel Corp. (INTC) , which shed 0.4% to close at $25.89 and IBM Corp., (IBM)  which slipped 0.5% to close at $193.55.

  • [By Louis Navellier]

    Take a look:

    General Motors (GM): In the past three months, estimates have been revised down by 24%. Analysts now forecast a 46.4% drop in sales and a 47.7% plunge in earnings for this quarter. HES is a sell. Goldman Sachs (GS): In the past month, estimates have slipped by 9%. Analysts now see a 12.2% decline in sales and a 15.6% drop in earnings for this quarter. GS is a sell. Hess (HES): In the past three months, the consensus estimate has plummeted by 52%. Analysts now expect just 3.5% annual sales growth and a 25.4% drop in earnings for this quarter. . International Business Machines (IBM): In the past 90 days, analysts have revised their estimates down by 29%. The consensus now calls for a 2% drop in sales and a 15% reduction in earnings. IBM is a sell. Mattel (MAT): In the past 60 days, estimates have fallen by 33%. Analysts now expect a 5.2% year-on-year drop in sales and a 27.3% decline in earnings for this quarter. . Newmont Mining (NEM) In the past 90 days, analysts have slashed their estimates down by 55%. The consensus now calls for a 14.9% drop in sales and a 73.2% dive in earnings. NEM is a strong sell. Nordstrom (JWN): In the past two months, estimates have fallen by 15%. Analysts now expect just 4.3% annual sales growth and a 6.8% decline in earnings for this quarter. . Target (TGT): In the past 90 days, analysts have reduced their estimates down by 28%. The consensus now calls for just 2% sales growth and an 11% decline in earnings. TGT is a strong sell. Tesoro (TSO): In the past 90 days, the consensus estimate has plunged 39%. The consensus now calls for 10% annual sales growth and a 5.5% reduction in earnings. TSO is a sell. Weyerhaeuser (WY): In the past three months, estimates have been reduced by 14%. Analysts now expect just 6.8% annual sales growth and a 3.8% dip in earnings for this quarter. WY is a strong sell.

    As I mentioned, there are two easy ways to check out how your holdings are perceived by the analyst community.

Hot 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 Paul Ausick]

    Another big gainer today was Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) which traded up 1.59% at $215.50 in a 52-week range of $161.27 to $235.50. The Dow’s highest priced stock slipped initially Monday morning as investors seemed worried about the suit filed against the company last week by Walmart. But the stock popped back up as quickly as it had dropped and remained at a higher level the rest of the day. Volume was about two-thirds the daily average of around 3.3 million shares traded.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Stocks bucked their recent Monday weakness today as Visa (V), International Business Machines (IBM), United Technologies (UTX), Micron Technology (MU) and Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX) gained. But your view of today likely depended on the index you were watching.

    Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

    The S&P 500 gained 0.5% to 1,872.34, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.8% to 16.457.66. Those benchmarks were trumped by the Nasdaq Composite, which advanced 1% to 4,198.99, and the small-cap Russell 2000, which finished up 1.8% at 1,173.04.

    The price-weighted Dow was given a boost by its big weightings in Visa, which rose 1.8% to $215.86, International Business Machines, which advanced 1.1% to $192.49 after Morgan Stanley named it a top alpha generator among mega-cap stocks, and United Technologies, which gained 1.8% to $116.83. United Technologies’ Sikorsky division agreed to pay $3.5 million to settle claims that it charged too much for spare parts. Micron Technology gained 8% to $23.66 after a positive report at RBC Capital Markets and Drexel, and Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX) rose 4.3% to $70.72.

    Deutsche Bank’s David Bianco notes that small-caps and non-mega caps need interest rates to stay low…

    On 2014E EPS, Russell 2000 (R2000) PE is 23.6 and S&P 500 PE is 15.6. The relative forward PE of the R2000 vs. the S&P at 1.5x is amongst the highest since 1995. Within the S&P, the PE at non-mega caps is also demanding vs. history. The median trailing PE of S&P 500 stocks at 18.5x is 2 points higher than its average since 1983 and is well into the late 1990s range. EPS growth, while expected to accelerate, is unlikely to reach the mid to low teens pace of the last two cycles. Hence, we think small and non mega-cap stocks are more dependent on interest rates staying below historical norms to justify current valuations and are more susceptible to moderation in growth expectations.

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  • [By Paul Ausick]

    The stock doing its best to sink the Dow 30 today was Visa Inc. (NYSE: V). The credit and debit card issuer was hit with a $5 billion lawsuit this morning. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) is the first of the big retailers to file its own case for damages related to card swipe fees charged by Visa and other issuers. Visa’s stock traded down 1.91% today at $211.65 in a 52-week range of $161.27 to $235.50. Trading volume was nearly equal to the daily average of around 3.2 million shares traded.

  • [By Paul Ausick]

    After announcing last Friday that they would not be processing any transactions for Russian banks, Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) and MasterCard Inc. (NYSE: MA) restarted payment processing on Saturday. Payment processing was halted following the inclusion of individuals who own banks on a list of 20 Russian officials and businesspeople who have been identified as targets of U.S. sanctions related to Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

Hot Blue Chip Stocks To Watch 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 Robert Rapier]

    This is obviously an item of significant interest for fossil fuel companies and shareholders. In fact, in February several investor groups filed shareholder resolutions with 10 fossil fuel companies, including ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM), Chevron (NYSE: CVX), Devon (NYSE: DVN), Kinder Morgan (NYSE: KMI) and Peabody Energy (NYSE: BTU), seeking an assessment of the possibility that some of their fossil fuel reserves may become stranded under a low-carbon scenario.

  • [By Vanina Egea]

    The upside to Cameron International is the strong order flow and backlog of around $11.5 billion for subsea products and services. BP, Petroleo Brasileiro (PBR), StatoilHydro (STO) and Chevron (CVX) have all made orders. Another good characteristic is the geographical diversity of the orders: North America, Latin America, Asia/Pacific and Middle East. Most importantly, the Deepwater Horizon incident elicited a higher safety standard creating a favorable context for equipment developers and providers like Cameron International.

  • [By Jon C. Ogg]

    Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) CEO John Watson recently told a Houston audience that crude oil running $100 per barrel is becoming the new standard in the oil and gas industry — and that consumers will pay more than they used to. Merrill Lynch just recently upgraded shares of BP PLC (NYSE: BP) and Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) with Buy ratings. They were targeting close to 20% expected total returns in their calls, when you include dividends. These two Buy ratings would almost certainly not be in place if they thought oil would go to $75 and stay there.