Duke Energy Corp. (NYSE: DUK) operates as a regulated utility company in the United States and is based in Charlotte, North Carolina. The company operates regulated electric utilities in the Midwest, Florida and the Carolinas and supplies electric service to approximately 7.5 million residential, commercial and industrial customers. Duke owns 50,000 megawatts of capacity.
The regulated gas utilities serve more than 1.6 million customers in the Carolinas and Ohio. A commercial arm owns contract renewables and pipelines across the United States.
Merrill Lynch upgraded the stock in June and noted why:
We upgrade shares to Buy and raise our price target as we up estimates are a victim of large-cap regulated utility sell-off. Wall Street still does not believe management at $5.19 versus the Merrill Lynch estimate of $5.35 and implied range of $5.30-5.60. Story has been sizably de-risked in North Carolina, trading at 3-yr low and a 15% discount to peers on 2020 price to earnings.
Shareholders receive a 4.66% dividend. The $86 Merrill Lynch price target compares with the $84.50 consensus target and the most recent close at $79.61 a share.
This is a top international financial and a solid purchase for growth and income accounts. HSBC Holdings PLC (NYSE: HSBC) is the leading cross-border international banking group, with particular strength in Asia, but also the United Kingdom, Middle East and the Americas. Regional franchises are largely focused on retail and business banking in the U.K. and Hong Kong home markets.
With more than $50 billion in revenues and over $180 billion in capital, HSBC is one of the largest global banks. It operates in more than 65 countries across four main business segments: Retail Banking and Wealth Management, Commercial Banking, Global Banking and Markets and Global Private Banking. More than half of its revenue comes in Asia, followed by Europe at about 30%.
Investors receive a 6.12% dividend. Merrill Lynch has a price target of $51.71. Because the posted consensus target is the same, so it’s safe to assume the Merrill Lynch target is the only one available. The shares closed on Monday at $44.65.
Kraft Heinz Co. (NYSE: KHC) was formed almost three years ago via the merger of H.J. Heinz and Kraft Foods. The company is the leading global food company, with $29 billion of annual revenues generated by well-known brands such as Kraft, Heinz, Oscar Mayer and Maxwell House.
The company is the third largest food and beverage manufacturer in North America, and it derives 76% of revenues from that market and 24% from International. The company’s many brands also include ABC, Capri Sun, Classico, Jell-O, Kool-Aid, Lunchables, Ore-Ida, Oscar Mayer, Philadelphia, Planters, Plasmon, Quero, Weight Watchers Smart Ones and Velveeta.
Shareholders are paid a 4.42% dividend. Merrill Lynch has set its price target at $85. The consensus target is $67.81, and shares closed Monday at $56.52.
These five top companies are liquid, pay big dividends and look like safe havens as the market volatility continues to churn. Needless to say, a massive market sell-off will take everybody down, but these five will weather the storm better than tech momentum darlings, and they make sense for income and growth investors as rates edge higher.
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