Even if the pessimists are right, people always have to go to the grocery store, and this company dominates. The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) not only operates as a retailer in the United States and internationally, it also manufactures and processes food for sale in its supermarkets.
The company operates retail food and drug stores, multi-department stores, jewelry stores and convenience stores. Its combination food and drug stores offer natural food and organic sections, pharmacies, general merchandise, pet centers, fresh seafood and organic produce. The multi-department stores provide general merchandise items, such as apparel, home fashion and furnishings, outdoor living, electronics, automotive products, toys and fine jewelry. Its price impact warehouse stores offer grocery and health and beauty care items.
The company operates stores under the banner names of Kroger, City Market, Dillons, Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, Harris Teeter, Jay C, King Soopers and others. As of August 18, 2015, the company operated 2,626 supermarkets and stores in 34 states and the District of Columbia, as well as 780 convenience stores, 327 fine jewelry stores, 1,342 supermarket fuel centers and 37 food processing plants in the United States.
Kroger shareholders receive a 1.11% dividend. The $45 Merrill Lynch price target is a little higher than the consensus target of $43.27. The stock closed most recently at $37.95.
This stock checks in at high on the global pharmaceutical lists at many top Wall Street firms and is on the Merrill Lynch US 1 list. Eli Lilly and Co. (NYSE: LLY) is a global health care company with numerous core products in a number of primary-care pharmaceutical markets. The company generates revenues from its pharmaceutical product and animal health segments.
The product portfolio includes Zyprexa (for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder), Gemzar (pancreatic cancer), Evista (osteoporosis), Cymbalta (depression), Cialis (erectile dysfunction), Strattera (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), Erbitux (cancer) and Alimta (chemotherapy). Eli Lilly also has a strong presence in the diabetes market.
Fourth-quarter earnings were in line with Merrill Lynch and consensus expectations. While the overall numbers were unremarkable in the analysts’ view, Merrill Lynch is still very focused on the company’s outstanding late-stage product pipeline, which it views as very undervalued. The firm also remains very positive on what it calls the “huge growth potential” prospects for Jardiance, which is a prescription medicine used to lower blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes.
Shareholders receive a 2.84% dividend. The Merrill Lynch price target is $108. The consensus target is $95.52. Shares closed Tuesday at $71.92.
There you have it, four solid companies to buy and hold. They all can do well, and even if the market sells off, the demand for their products and services will not. Plus, they all offer a dividend, which will pay investors to wait should they trade sideways.