Top Blue Chip Companies To Invest In Right Now

With the market no longer on sale, the best way to make money is to own quality growth companies with sustainable competitive advantages and leading market positions within niche markets, suggests Jim Oberweis, editor of The Oberweis Report.

Indianapolis-based Interactive Intelligence Group (ININ) develops software for contact center infrastructure and unified communications software.

Across verticals like banking, insurance, government, utilities, and retail, Interactive Intelligence’s software helps companies manage their call centers and associated client interactions, irrespective of whether by phone, email, web, or fax. The firm is benefitting from three drivers.

First, call centers are moving en masse from traditional PBX-based systems to cutting edge Internet-based (IP) systems.

Second, communications systems are shifting to the cloud, with market growth of 18% for hosted systems, versus 2% for on-premise systems.

Third, customer service is an area of focus for world-class enterprises. From a product standpoint, Interactive’s products play to each of these trends.

Top Blue Chip Companies To Invest In 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 Paul Ausick]

    Again today the big market mover among the DJIA stocks was International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) which dropped 1.39% and traded at $189.94 in a 52-week range of $172.19 to $214.89 just ahead of the closing bell. Volume was on track to be about 10% above the daily average of around 5.2 million shares traded. A fund manager at AlphaOne Capital told CNBC he is shorting IBM stock, saying “the cloud is deflationary” for the company.

  • [By Jim Jubak]

    This is the part of the cloud market where Google competes—and where Google cuts prices. The public cloud sector is dominated by Amazon.com (AMZN) with Microsoft (MSFT), Google, IBM (IBM), and Rackspace Hosting (RAX) competing for the Number Two slot.

  • [By Annalisa Kraft-Linder]

    Nati Harnik/AP Warren Buffett, chairman of the board of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-B), is surprisingly open about his mistakes, chronicling them for all to read — and learn from — in his annual shareholder letters. The Cigar Stubs The textile mill that gave Berkshire Hathaway its name turned out to be an albatross for more than two decades as Buffett dithered over shutting it down. Located in Massachusetts, far from the new textile and cotton hubs down South, it was a money-loser from the start. He has since admitted his stubborn attachment to it probably cost Berkshire $200 billion in lost opportunity costs to invest in better companies. Back then, Buffett was more a proponent of the “cigar stub” theory of investing — buying a downtrodden company or stock and smoking out the last few puffs of profit. Another iteration of this thesis gone wrong was his purchase of Blue Chip Stamp Co. in the late ’60s. It was a lesser rival of the Sperry & Hutchinson Green Stamps Co. Both involved an early form of loyalty program in which shoppers collected stamps that could be redeemed for merchandise. “When I was told that even certain brothels and mortuaries gave stamps to their patrons, I felt I had finally found a sure thing,” Buffett said in his 2006 shareholder letter. However, Blue Chip revenues declined by more than 80 percent from 1970 to 1980 and by almost 99 percent by 1990 as credit-card loyalty programs and increasing affluence made shoppers reluctant to waste time pasting stamps in books. What Buffett learned became a new leg of his investing stool: to only buy businesses for their demonstrated profitability. The Economic Moat Buffett coined the term “economic moat” to describe the competitive and hopefully monopolistic advantages that will help a company thrive. He has long said he regrets buying Dexter Shoes in 1993, purchasing it with Berkshire Hathaway stock then worth $433 million for an estimated loss of $3.5 billion. He admits now it didn’t have t

  • [By Paul Ausick]

    Again today the big market mover among the DJIA stocks was International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) which lost 0.95% to give back about half the gains it made yesterday. The shares traded at $193.12 in a 52-week range of $172.19 to $214.89 just ahead of the closing bell. Volume was on track to be more than 10% higher than the daily average of around 5 million shares traded. No news today, so maybe some profit-taking, as the stock put up a year-to-date high yesterday.

Top Blue Chip Companies To Invest In 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 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,

  • [By Rick Aristotle Munarriz]

    Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images From a new player in the fast food market cleverly attacking the leader’s mascot to a social giant bringing out its inner shutterbug, here’s a rundown of the week’s smartest moves and biggest blunders in the business world. Twitter (TWTR) — Winner There are limitations inherent with Twitter, and the 140-character cutoff is just scratching the surface. Twitter’s had its monetization challenges because it’s not as interactive with multimedia, but that’s taking a step in the right direction this week with the hashtag hasher sprucing up its offerings for shutterbugs. Twitter will now allow Twitter users to tag fellow users in photographs. Twitter will also let someone include as many as four photographs in a single post. We live in visual times, and while Vine and Twitter’s original photo platform are decent, it’s great to see the dot-com darling take things up a notch. King Digital Entertainment (KING) — Loser There are tens of millions of Candy Crush Saga players on any given day, but apparently most of them would rather be matching candy pieces than buying into the game’s developer. Game creator King Digital Entertainment went public at $22.50 on Wednesday, and unlike many of the dot-com darlings that have pulled off blazing IPOs, the market spat the Candy Crush maker out. The stock opened lower and closed its first day of trading down 16 percent, at $19. It was easy to see this coming. Many key performance metrics had peaked at King during last year’s third quarter. Oculus — Winner Few figured that Facebook (FB) would rush into any big-ticket purchases after its $19 billion deal for Whatsapp, but then the social networking leader announced the purchase of Oculus for $2 billion. Oculus is a virtual reality headwear maker that started drawing attention as a Kickstarter campaign. Critics have pointed out that the backers of that crowdfunding campaign that raised $2.5 million on Kickstarter will get nothing out of this deal.

Top Blue Chip Companies To Invest In 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.

Top Blue Chip Companies To Invest In 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]

    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.

Top Blue Chip Companies To Invest In 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.

  • [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 Blue Chip Companies To Invest In 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 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.

Top Blue Chip Companies To Invest In 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 Douglas A. McIntyre]

    For all the work he did to help Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) become the third most valuable public company in the U.S. , CEO and founder Larry Page was paid $1 in 2013. Co-founder Sergey Brin was paid the same. Neither participates in Google’s cash bonus or equity award program. Their reasons are almost certainly the same as that of the late Steve Jobs, who was paid $1 a year as CEO of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) CEO during most of his tenure. Page and Brin each owns such a huge portion of company stock that a few million a year in compensation means nearly nothing.

  • [By Douglas A. McIntyre]

    The balance of the top 10 are ones which almost any consumer could identify. In order of four through ten: Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), Harley Davidson Inc. (NYSE: HOG), Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS), PepsiCo Inc. (NYSE: PEP), American Express Co. (NYSE: AXP), Kellogg Co. (NYSE: K) and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL).

  • [By Tim Brugger]

    Yes, such an important working partnership involving Microsoft and Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) feels a little like cats and dogs sleeping together, but its representative of the world we live in today. Microsoft deserves kudos, and its recent stock price appreciation, for taking the leap. However, some analysts believe that bringing Office to iPads will have a positive impact near-term, but destroy what little momentum Microsoft Surface tablets have enjoyed. The naysayers may be right, but let’s not write off Microsoft’s tablet ambitions quite yet.

  • [By Dan Burrows]

    It’s one thing to spruce up the bottom line by cutting costs. It’s quite another to grow the company by creating demand for BlackBerry smartphones — perhaps an impossible task now that Samsung (SSNLF) and Apple (AAPL) dominate the market.