Investing

5 Baird Top Growth Stock Picks for 2020 to Buy Now

Northrop Grumman

This is another top defense play, and it was ranked as one of the top five defense contractors by sales last year. Northrop Grumman Corp. (NYSE: NOC) provides innovative systems, products and solutions in unmanned systems, cyber, C4ISR and logistics and modernization to government and commercial customers worldwide. It is also one of the companies profiting most from war.

The Aerospace Systems segment designs, develops, integrates and produces manned aircraft, unmanned systems, spacecraft, high-energy laser systems, microelectronics and other systems and subsystems.

The Information Systems segment offers advanced solutions for Department of Defense, national intelligence and federal civilian, state, international and commercial customers. It provides products and services primarily in the fields of command and control, communications, cyber, air and missile defense, intelligence processing, civil security, health information technology, and government support systems.

The Technical Services segment provides logistics, modernization and sustainment services, as well as other advanced technology and engineering services, including space, missile defense, nuclear security, training and simulation services.

Northrop Grumman pays shareholders a 1.43% dividend. The $400 Baird price objective compares with a $403.72 consensus target price. The shares closed trading at $370.30 on Wednesday.

VFC

This top consumer apparel stock could be poised for a big 2020. V.F. Corp. (NYSE: VFC) is a leading apparel wholesaler of lifestyle brands, including North Face, Vans, Wrangler, Lee, Timberland and Nautica. VFC distributes products globally via department stores, independent retailers, specialty chains and its own retail (full price, outlet and e-commerce).

Coalition segments include Outdoor and Action Sports (68% of fiscal 2018 revenue), Jeanswear (21% of revenue), and Workwear/Imagewear (9% of revenue). The company reported solid results this year and recently spun off its Kontoor Brands to pay down debt.

Shareholders receive a decent 1.94% dividend. Baird has set its price objective at $114. The consensus target price is $101.71, and the stock closed Wednesday at $97.05.

Yum! Brands

Everybody has to eat, and this top company continues to expand its worldwide presence. Yum! Brands Inc. (NYSE: YUM), whose brands include KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, is one of the largest restaurant operators in the world with about 44,000 stores in more than 120 countries. A significant portion of operating profits is derived internationally, with a growing contribution from emerging markets, including a heavy presence in China.

Just this week the company announced it is acquiring Habit Restaurants for $375 million in cash, or $14 a share. Top analysts view the move as a modest positive for the company, but the relatively small acquisition size will limit the stock relevance. The deal represents another move in the restaurant asset land grab taking place as companies seek to build scale. See the best-selling chain restaurant foods of 2019.

Yum! Brands investors receive a tasty 1.65% dividend. The Baird target price for the shares is $120. That compares to the posted $112.74 consensus target and the most recent share price of $102.17.

With outstanding metrics and good dividends, these quality stocks make good sense for long-term outlook growth portfolios for 2020 and beyond. With solid total return potential, and somewhat less potential for volatility, they all are outstanding portfolio additions.