Merrill Lynch US 1 List Update: Momentum Stock Panera Bread Is Out

Uh oh, it seems as though some of the portfolio strategists are maybe starting to get a little nervous as the summer winds down and the danger months of September and October approach. More and more at 24/7 Wall St., we are beginning to see firms that we cover starting to take a more conservative stance on high-flying momentum stocks. In a new report, Merrill Lynch chops one out of the prestigious US 1 list.

While the Merrill Lynch reports states that the removal of Panera Bread Co. (NASDAQ: PNRA) is part of an overall composition adjustment and of a portfolio rebalancing, which is common, the stock is up 30% over the past year and 100% since the fall of 2011. The bottom line is the firm is doing the right thing and taking the 30% gain as the stock was put in the portfolio in early September of 2014.

We screened the US 1 list and Panera Bread was the only real momentum stock in the portfolio. We also screened for some dividend contrarian plays that could make good sense now.


This top consumer media company with multiple streams of income got absolutely hammered after disappointing earnings prompted a big fear that consumers are “cutting the cable cord.” The Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) has the movie studio business poised to improve, as with accelerating theme park business, the network programming continues to drive viewership with extensive sports programming. Most importantly, the company produces tons of content that will keep it a long-term media alternative, and recently announced that Star Wars-themed areas will be coming to Disneyland park and Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla.

ALSO READ: Key Changes in Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway Stock Holdings

The Disney Media Networks segment operates broadcast and cable television networks, domestic television stations and radio networks and stations, and it is involved in television production and television distribution operations. Its cable networks include ESPN, Disney Channels and ABC Family, as well as UTV/Bindass and Hungama. This segment also owns eight domestic television stations. Disney is also one of 24/7 Wall St.’s top stocks to own for the next decade.

Disney shareholders are paid a 1.23% dividend. The Merrill Lynch price target stays at $130, and the Thomson/First Call consensus target is $122.10. Shares closed most recently at $106.94.