24/7 Wall St.’s Corporate Power Rankings (Week 10)

The 24/7 Wall Street Corporate Power Rankings of the thirty-two most important companies in America are determined by earnings, analyst rankings, important corporate news, trends in each firm’s industry, product introductions, management strength and changes, and credible rumors. It is, in effect, a new version of the DJIA.

The Corporate Power Rankings are released at midnight on each Sunday based on performance during the previous week.

McDonald’s (MCD) sharp improvement in same-store sales moved it to the top of the list. Google (GOOG) was beaten down by its probably decision to exit China.  Ford, which has been near the top of the list, what hurt by news that Toyota (TM) has posted strong sales in the early days of March

Company Rank (last week) Symbol Comment
McDonald’s 1 (9) MCD McDonald’s posted obscenely good February same-store sales up 4.8% from last year. People will eat fattening food even in a snow storm. Rival Burger Kings claims lousy results.
Disney 2 (3) DIS Disney’s crazy “Alice In Wonderland” films holds first place for another weekend. Mouse Company wised up and shutters underperforming Robert Zemeckis’ ImageMovers Digital. Sacks 450 people and wins Employee Morale Day award.
Berkshire Hathaway 3 (5) BRK Berkshire Hathaway boasts CEO Buffet as Forbes 3rd richest man in the known universe. But, best news is that Berkshire had no involvement with Lehman implosion.
Coca-Cola 4 (4) KO Coca-Cola bottling affiliate posts huge profit increase. More good press mention about soda company dividend increase.
Apple 5 (1) APPL Apple shares expected to rise from $226, near a 52-week high, to as much as $280 according to a new poll. COO Tim Cook gets $22 million bonus, so things must be going pretty well.
IBM 6 (7) IBM IBM thrashed Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and EDS in fourth quarter digital storage market share race. Company announces it plans to make money on cell phone tech for old people and students. Shows the firm’s ability to make money no matter what.
Ford 7 (2) F Ford sales may not do as well near-term as expected as aggressive incentives bring customers back to Toyota. But, No.2 US car company (No.1 some months) forecasts profit in small cars.
Abbott Labs 8 (14) ABT Abbott heart device operation gets big lift from new heart value replacement. Market laughs off Citigroup downgrade.
Wal-Mart 9 (8) WMT Walmart comes up with bright decision to put back on its shelves items that customers miss. Maybe it should not have removed them. But, news of hot China economy is good for big box boy.
Philip Morris 10 (10) PM Philip Morris declares $.58 dividend which now drives yield of 4.7%. Refinancing of debt pushes expensive obligations into the future.
Cisco 11 (6) CSCO Al Gore invented the internet. Router company makes big deal about making worldwide web as much as 12 times faster. Announcement falls flat.
Johnson & Johnson 12 (12) JNJ Johnson & Johnson is one of the drug companies that Barron’s say will lose $100 billion in sales to over the next five years. But, with medical device and consumer lines, JNJ is safest haven.
Oracle 13 (11) ORCL Oracle stock runs up sharply for the week, perhaps because Forbes named Larry Ellison one of the world’s richest men. Probably not, actually. Rebound in tech spending is best guess on Wall St.
Verizon 14 (16) VZ Verizon makes bizarre decision to list on NYSE and NASDAQ. On a better note, company will put NFL on wireless phones which should help sell handsets and wireless subs.
Proctor & Gamble 15 (20) PG P&G recalls Pringles. The good news is no one eats them anymore. On the other hand firm gets good PR for its “green cleaning” products.
GE 16 (13) GE GE faces uphill battle with regulators on NBCU deal with Comcast. Conglomerate tries to make big deal out of financing deal with Navistar. Wall St. won’t buy it.
Intel 17 (19) INTC Intel may benefit from PC companies push to get tablet PC to market ahead of Apple iPad. Gartner research operation says global chip gear spending to soar.
FedEx 18 (15) FDX FedEx warns of slow economic growth hinting results will be poor. Competitor Deutsche Post misses outlook which means FedEx could be taking market share. Or, whole industry may be weak.
Microsoft 19 (24) MSFT Microsoft wins big if Google leaves China and leaves Bing to graze. Mr. Softy also posts good numbers for Xbox 360 sales in February. Wack-a-moles Wii.
Dow Chemical 20 (17) DOW Dow Chemical gets hit by earnings estimate downgrade by Morgan Stanley. If Lyondell restructuring works, Dow has a new competitor.
Pfizer 21 (18) PFE Pfizer faces failure of early stage experiments on breast and lung cancer drugs. But, research shows doctors should prescribe more cholesterol lowering drugs like PFE Lipitor.
Exxon-Mobil 22 (27) XOM Exxon Mobil gets natural gas deal cleared in New Guinea. Makes gutsy call by increasing capital spending to $28 billion for this year. Leaves competition in the dust.
Hewlett-Packard 23 (29) HPQ Hewlett-Packard is best positioned to launch PC to flank iPad. Forecasts of substantial PC sales worldwide this year should help HP which holds No.1 market share position.
JP Morgan 24 (30) JPM JPMorgan settles pay-out for WaMu leaving major legal headache behind. Examination of Lehman collapse may mean some liability for JPM, but it gets Brownie points for saving Bear Sterns.
Goldman Sachs 25 (32) GS Goldman Sachs gets “buy” rating from Societe Generale. GS does not seem to have much exposure to Lehman fallout, yet. China chairman leaves firm, but no one liked him anyway
Caterpillar 26 (21) CAT Caterpillar should benefit from overheating Chinese economy and building spree. But, company economist only forecast 3.4% US GDP growth the year, a signal of bad earnings.
Google 27 (22) GOOG Google hints it is highly likely to close China search site which could cost it hundreds of millions of dollars over time. Company faces fed scrutiny over AdMob buy. But, all’s well as research shows Google maintaining huge market share lead in US.
American Express 28 (23) AXP American Express tells some customers that records were stolen by one of its employees. Signs consumer spending is still weak do not favor credit card firms.
Boeing 29 (25) BA Boeing told that FAA will inspect some 737s and Air Force grounds 104 FA-18. BA does pass important trial with 747-8 and looks a lock to get Air Force tanker deal, if the plane in not grounded.
AT&T 30 (26) T AT&T could face heavy costs if FCC gets it way on broadband expansion. CEO gets extraordinary pay package for weak results. Ma Bell one of the DJIA components that sharply underperforms index since historic March 2009 lows.
Bank of America 31 (28) BAC Bank of America loses tens of millions of dollars as it cuts debit card overdraft fees. Gets credit for accelerating home loan modification program. But, new data shows foreclosures still rising.
Home Depot 32 (31) HD Home Depot still on its back because of home building and home sales troubles. Analysts seem to like competitor Lowe’s better. It shows LOW stock outperforms HD recently.

-Douglas A. McIntyre

Sponsored: Tips for Investing

A financial advisor can help you understand the advantages and disadvantages of investment properties. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.

Investing in real estate can diversify your portfolio. But expanding your horizons may add additional costs. If you’re an investor looking to minimize expenses, consider checking out online brokerages. They often offer low investment fees, helping you maximize your profit.