LONDON — Vodafone (LSE: VOD ) (NASDAQ: VOD ) has drawn first blood in the ongoing saga with Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ ) over the ownership of Verizon Wireless, after the U.S. telecoms Goliath relented after claiming initially that Wireless’s dividend payout was not assured this year.
Instead, today saw the Verizon Wireless board approve a dividend payment to the tune of 4.6 billion pounds, of which Vodafone will receive 2.1 billion pounds as a 45% stakeholder in the company, with the remaining 2.5 billion pounds heading to Verizon.
Previously, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam had said that the top priority for Wireless is to pay down $5 billion worth of debt, due between now and mid-2014, in a move widely recognised as an attempt to force Vodafone’s hand into selling its interest in Wireless.
However, to reference Owain Bennallack’s analogy of these negotiations as a poker game, it appears that Verizon has failed with this bluff and folded on this particular round, with other Fools recognizing that Verizon needs the dividends as much as Vodafone.
Top 10 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.
- [By WWW.DAILYFINANCE.COM]
Susan Walsh/APSen. Carl Levin of Michigan. WASHINGTON — Caterpillar executives defended a tax strategy Tuesday that has saved the manufacturing giant billions in U.S. taxes. They got support from Republican senators, including one who said the company deserves an award. Caterpillar (CAT) has avoided paying $2.4 billion in U.S. taxes since 2000 by shifting profits to a wholly-controlled affiliate in Switzerland, according to a report released by Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich. Levin chairs the Senate investigations subcommittee. On Tuesday, Levin grilled Caterpillar executives and their accountants at a hearing on the company’s tax strategy. “Caterpillar is an American success story that produces iconic industrial machines,” Levin said. “But it is also a member of the corporate profit-shifting club that has transferred billions of dollars offshore to avoid paying U.S. taxes.” Julie Lagacy, a Caterpillar vice president, was adamant that the Peoria, Ill.-based manufacturer follows all tax laws. “We pay everything we owe,” she told the subcommittee. Caterpillar got support from Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who questioned why the subcommittee was even holding the hearing. “I think rather than having an inquisition, we should probably bring Caterpillar here and give them an award,” Paul said. “You know, they’ve been in business for over 100 years. It’s not easy to stay in business.” Paul said Caterpillar and its accountants have an obligation to shareholders to minimize their taxes. “It is a requirement that you try to minimize your costs. So rather than chastising Caterpillar we should be complimenting them,” Paul said. Caterpillar is the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, with sales and revenues last year of nearly $56 billion. The company says it has increased U.S. employment by 13,000 jobs since 1999, growing to nearly 52,000 workers last year. The company says it has 118,000 employees in 21 countries. In the U.S., it has 69 ma
- [By Louis Navellier]
The first way is to use Portfolio Grader, which includes a letter grade for analyst earnings revisions. If you plug Apple (AAPL) , you’ll see that it receives a C for earnings revisions.
- [By Arrow Analysis]
The X isn’t Nokia’s first venture into the smart phone market. To compete with Apple (AAPL) and Samsung (SSNLF), the Finnish phone maker had produced the Symbian smartphone but unsurprisingly the attempt was unsuccessful. In February 2012 Nokia released Nokia 808 in the market which was its last Symbian Smartphone.
- [By John Bonnanzio]
The fund’s top holding are Google (GOOG), Apple (AAPL), Gilead Sciences (GILD), Amazon (AMZN) and Facebook (FB).
Along with our desire to slightly deemphasize value stocks, we are also buying Fidelity Mid-Cap Stock (US:FMCSX), which leans towards growth.
Top 10 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.
- [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.
- [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.
Top 10 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.
Top 10 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.
- [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.
- [By Kelley Wright]
Tobacco is a controversial business; but for Philip Morris International (PM), it’s a market basically unaffected by economic slowdowns or rising commodity prices, which means it is stable and defensive; a combination we can live with. We also like the $3.76 dividend, outstanding growth, and a five-year average return on equity of over 160.
Top 10 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.
- [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.
Top 10 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.
- [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.
- [By Paul Ausick]
McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) traded up 1.02% today at $97.14. The company said it would offer free coffee at breakfast time for a two-week period beginning next Monday. Investors apparently like the idea that the company is responding to new competitive breakfast offerings. The 52-week range for the stock is $92.22 to $103.70. Trading volume for the shares was about 25% below the daily average of around 5.3 million shares traded.
- [By Bloomberg Businessweek]
Alamy McDonald’s (MCD) may recently have struggled to lure customers, but it still does far more business at each location than rival burger chains. The average McDonald’s restaurant in the U.S. drew $2.6 million in revenue last year. Average sales for No. 2 chain Burger King (BKW): $1.2 million, according to data from its largest franchisee, Carrols Restaurant Group (TAST). What accounts for this more-than-a-million gap? “Everything from marketing and site selection to product initiatives and franchisee selection have been historical factors,” said Nick Setyan, vice president in charge of equity research at Wedbush Securities, in an email. Here are four factors that drive higher sales volumes at McDonald’s: 1. McDonald’s gets more customers during off-peak hours. Look no further than the strength of its breakfast business relative that of Burger King, says Darren Tristano, executive vice president at restaurant consultancy Technomic. Egg McMuffin is part of the fast-food vocabulary in a way Burger King can’t match. And beverage and snack offerings such as McCafe and wraps have helped increase McDonald’s sales between meals. The dramatic impact from off-peak business explains why chains such as Taco Bell (YUM) are entering the battle for morning customers, while others such as Starbucks (SBUX) are seeking more afternoon and evening business. 2. The power of the Happy Meal. McDonald’s has the largest share of kids meal sales in the fast-food industry and gets about 10 percent of total sales from Happy Meals, the most commonly advertised child-oriented fast-food item on television. Burger King, meanwhile, is still trying to win back “parties with kids and seniors and women,” said Josh Kobza, Burger King’s chief financial officer, at a conference last year. One way to do that: “We got rid of the creepy king character that tended to scare away women and children.” 3. McDonald’s has an edge on efficiency. Despite recent operational challenges at McDonald’s,
Top 10 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.
- [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.
- [By John Reese]
Chevron Corporation (CVX)
Since I started tracking my Guru Strategies nearly ten years ago, the performance of my Graham-based model has been rather remarkable. Even though the strategy Graham outlined is now more than 60 years old, it just keeps on working.