Procter & Gamble
This stock is trading at the same level it was this time last year, in part because the company has a very large 65% of sales directed to foreign customers. That should improve as the dollar’s run looks to be slowing. Procter & Gamble Co. (NYSE: PG) is a solid consumer staples stock especially for conservative investors to consider. The company sells lots of run-of-the-mill household items that are essential for everyday life, and it is not content to rest on its laurels.
The company is innovative in its product development process and uses that to help ensure future growth and cash flow. This should provide investors years of steady growth and dividends. While currency headwinds have weighed on recent earnings and projections, the dollar may be topping out this fall, and that would bode well for the future.
The company posted very solid fourth-quarter results in January and, despite earning expectations that have been lowered somewhat, Merrill Lynch feels comfortable that the stock can continue the current positive momentum.
Procter & Gamble shareholders are paid a very solid 3.3% dividend. Merrill Lynch has as $89 price target, and the consensus target is posted at $84.79. The stock closed Thursday at $81.30 per share.
This is utility the Merrill Lynch team remains positive on. PPL Corp. (NYSE: PPL) serves 321,000 natural gas and 397,000 electric customers in Louisville and 16 surrounding counties, and 543,000 customers in 77 Kentucky counties and five counties in Virginia. The company also provides electric delivery services to approximately 1.4 million customers in Pennsylvania and operates electricity distribution network for the Midlands, South West, and Wales in the United Kingdom.
In addition, the company offers a range of customer-care and back-office services to competitive retail energy suppliers, including customer enrollments; contract management; electronic data exchange; simple and complex billing; and call center operations comprising telemarketing, payment processing and collections of overdue accounts.
PPL is one of the leading utility companies in the United States that plans to continue to increase regulated operations and lower earnings volatility attached to competitive operations. The company raised cash and lowered debt late last year by selling some hydroelectric assets to NorthWestern energy.
PPL investors receive a solid dividend that comes in at 3.3%.The Merrill Lynch price target for the stock is $40, and the consensus target is $39.57. Shares of PPL closed Thursday at $38.32.
Thursday, stocks were all over the board, and that could be a blueprint for the rest of the year. However, buying safe, dividend-paying stocks is a smart way to stay invested and generate income without taking an inordinate amount of risk.