If there is any holiday celebrated in the United States that is a favorite of all citizens, it has to be the Fourth of July. It transcends through all walks of life, and the secular nature of the celebration makes it one for all who live here, as we honor a day that is perhaps the most important in our history. From the largest cities to the smallest rural communities, the pride and participation of small kids to senior citizens marks this truly special day.
At 24/7 Wall St. we thought it was a good time to look at top companies that are usually big winners and may be even bigger this year as the celebration falls on a Thursday, so many may be up for an extended long weekend. With parades, barbecues, boating, bands and much more, many Americans will be going to the store to get provisions for the big day, or heading out for fun vacations.
We screened the Merrill Lynch research database and found five top stocks that may have a solid start to the third quarter because of the Independence Day holiday. All are rated Buy.
This top Warren Buffet holding not only offers safety but an incredibly strong worldwide brand with 40% overseas sales. Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO) is the world’s largest beverage company, refreshing consumers with more than 500 sparkling and still brands.
Led by Coca-Cola, one of the world’s most valuable and recognizable brands, the company’s portfolio features 20 billion-dollar brands including Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Coca-Cola Zero, vitaminwater, Powerade, Minute Maid, Simply, Georgia and Del Valle. Globally, it is the number one provider of sparkling beverages, ready-to-drink coffees and juices and juice drinks.
Through the world’s largest beverage distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy Coca-Cola beverages at a rate of more than 1.9 billion servings a day. With coolers getting packed for picnics, parades and vacations you can bet that they will be stuffed with products from this iconic American company. Also remember that the company also owns 16.7% of Monster Beverage, which continues to deliver big numbers.
Coca-Cola investors receive a 3.1% dividend. The Merrill price target for the stock is $55, while the Wall Street consensus price target is $52. The stock closed Tuesday at $51.98.
This is a top consumer media company with multiple streams of income to push revenue, and it is a member of the Merrill Lynch US 1 list. Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) stock continues outperforming on a near-term and long-term basis. With the movie studio business poised to improve, as with accelerating theme park business, the network programming continues to drive viewership with extensive sports programming. Combine that revenue growth with the company’s solid media networks and interactive presence, and 2019 and 2020 revenue estimates could be conservative.
The Disney Media Networks segment operates broadcast and cable television networks, domestic television stations and radio networks and stations, and it is involved in the 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.
Families will be flocking this summer to the company’s theme parks such as Disneyland, Walt Disney World in Orlando, Magic Kingdom Park, Epcot and also the international park. The long holiday week could jumpstart and push attendance even higher.
Disney shareholders receive a 1.24% dividend. Merrill has a $168 price target, and the consensus target is $151.43. Shares closed at $142.53 on Tuesday.