Happy Fourth of July weekend! The Fourth of July is a time where we reflect on one of the most important moments in history, a moment and a revolution that created the longest running democracy in the history of the world. Now, let’s put all negative feelings aside, all politics should be put to rest for a day, all spears and spite lowered because this weekend is a weekend of history, family, fireworks and BBQ. I figured that I would put together an A-Z list of companies to invest in that will invest in America.
- American Tower (AMT) – American Tower – Massachusetts based company builds cell phone towers. Look for movement in the company with the expansion of 4G networks to urbanized and suburban areas and the expansion of 3G coverage to more rural areas.
- Berkshire Hathaway – (BRK.A) – If there is anyone who believes in America and buys American it is Warren Buffett. He believes in rail cars, brick and mortar companies, insurance and good advice.
- Caterpillar (CAT) – Somber moment, the infrastructure of America is in disrepair. Highways, bridges, dams and toll roads are all in need of a major overhaul and CAT will be part of that government and private spending boon.
- Disney (DIS) – It has become a small world after all. Theme park turned entertainment and advertising super star. Disney has great brand recognition and brand control. The company has been able to effectively lobby to have copyright law changed numerous times. It is a force to be reckoned with.
- EMC (EMC) – Is the parent company of VMWare. The company will make computers more efficient, protect data and maintain data integrity. EMC is a major IT solution provider and as computers expand even further in use and become more prevalent in all aspects of life the company will be well positioned to profit.
- FORD - (F) – Ford is a company that did not take any bailout money from the government. It is a company that seems to be listening to consumers and adapting its products with a forward looking view. The recent problems at Toyota have opened a window of opportunity even wider for this American auto giant to forge a return to prevalence and continued automotive relevance.
- Google – (GOOG) – Infrastructure, Infrastructure, Infrastructure. Not roads to drive on but certainly information highways and a commuter cloud! Talk about the best and the brightest, move over NASA. Google continues to innovate and enter new product markets. They are a currently unparalleled search engine that has managed to stay disentangled from more moneyed interests. Finally, Google continues to invest in new VC and PC ideas fostering more American growth and innovation.
- Hewlett Packard – (HPQ) – With Dell’s recent woes and looming legal problems, HP, like Ford, has a great opportunity to completely dominate and revolutionize the computing market. HP has moved from a printer company to a PC company to a flat screen TV maker to a maker of high quality digital devices across many spectrums. As well HP, is like our next candidate, Intel, and the engineers at HP have been pushing the limit on computer chip design.
- Intel – (INTC) – Intel has and will be a driving tech force. The corporate culture is the value.
- Johnson and Johnson – (JNJ) – That’s right folks the people that make your baby shampoo, they love America. But really this behemoth of a company is a medical device maker. With the passage of the new health care reform bill JNJ stands to profit and prosper as more people will have access to surgeries and procedures that will be able to take advantage of the products that JNJ puts out for medical device purposes.
- Coca-Cola (KO) -- So I cheated a little on this one by listing Coca-Cola by their ticker KO. But this is a company that has been getting beaten up a little bit in the market lately. Make no mistake Coca-Cola is still king. There is still a strong grown potential in the global scheme.
- Lowe's (LOW) – Much like their Home Depot counter part, Lowe's is in a tricky position of being in a place where the recession and housing slow down will defiantly affect the company short term. But as the infrastructure projects pick up to rebuild and revive America I think that Lowe's will be well positioned to be in a highly profitable area of the market.
- McDonald’s – (MCD) - McDonald’s… need I say more? They pay dividends, they grow domestically and globally, they have almost unparalleled brand recognition. McDonald’s has started serving good coffee at a low price and is rumored to be testing out low fat breakfast options with even an oatmeal offering, showing that they are still looking to innovate their product offering. If the price is right I can see customers leaving Starbucks and other higher end stores for the lower cost McDonald's option.
- Northrop Grumman Corporation – (NOC) – If you are a news junkie like me then you saw that Israel is still blockading Palestine. Iran has threatened to try to bust the blockade by force and is sending ships to aid in the effort. The US is sending cruisers up the Suez now for the potential show down. The Koreas have tensions running high. The United States has armed forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Until the world returns to a more sane mind frame I am a strong believer that weapon makers are a good buy now.
- Oracle – (ORCL) – Essentially the database king, ORCL stands alone atop a computing mountain. With software that runs most corporate enterprises and even mom and pop shops Oracle is a stock to own. More and more Oracle is trying to offer the complete business solution and be the hardware and software provider. The growth potential for this company is ever expansive because it has a corporate culture to be acquisitive and pick up good ideas and bring them into the Oracle fold.
- Pfizer – (PFE) – With the pick up of Wyeth, Pfizer has breathed new life into its company. Wyeth had a good pipeline and also has some strong brands with good market recognition. PFE is still hunting out its next blockbuster drug. But with Merck (MRK) flagging recently PFE looks like the stronger of the pharma giants.
- Quest Diagnostics Incorporated – (DGX) – Just like JNJ, I believe that Quest stands to profit from the new health care overhaul. As medicine shifts to a preventative focus Quest will be well positioned as more of the tests are done for people as medicine attempts to catch and treat illness before it becomes catastrophic.
- Raytheon – (RTN) – Push too far and you see a strong backlash. I support and believe in the current administration, but when cuts on spending or defense are pushed too far I believe that there is an inevitable backlash. I also like this pick now because as spending has been cut the stock may be able to be picked up on the cheap. I see tensions in the geopolitical sphere also creating additional demand for RTN’s products.
- Starbucks – (SBUX) – Good corporate culture, great corporate governance, creates a fantastic product. Starbucks is still the number one premium beverage provider. The company pays well, has a good health insurance plan, offers tuition reimbursement for barristas, these programs create good will and put investors' minds at ease. If other companies acted like Starbucks acted then I do not even think many of the government programs that we have would be necessary. Want a smaller government? Get better corporations.
- ATT - (T) – Has a killer iPhone, has moved away from unlimited data plans and has better customer service. Verizon (VZ) is terrible for customer service. VZ representatives are horrible to work with in the stores, brutal. T – gets my vote for a long term investing prospect as they have had the iPhone for longer and have had to deal with a much higher volume of data being transmitted over their system.
- United Technologies Corporation - (UTX) – This is a conglomerate company that has some great bread and butter brands that will continue to churn out profits along with a little more high flying division that deals with aerospace engineering and getting humans from point A Earth to point B outer space. While NASA is on the ropes the destiny of human space flight seems to be solidly set as a long term goal and vision. The private sector will have to take the reins on this project and make the magic and the money happen as we reach for the stars.
- Visa – (V) – It’s everywhere you want to be! Visa and the other big card companies are potentially in for a hit as the new FinReg law looms large. I would wait till the dust settles on the new rule and see if the market looks attractive. As the recession begins to end consumer and corporate spending will increase and V will be a good long term selection.
- WTR – Aqua America - (WTR) – Spending on America will require that the utilities update their lines. WTR is a specialist at finding distressed water utility companies and making them into turn around stars. As the infrastructure of the USA ages I believe that this company will be a strong selection in the consolidated water delivery market.
- Exxon Mobil - (XOM) – Big oil just got bigger. With the pick up of XTO XOM is well positioned for the near future. I worry about the lack of spending on alternative forms of energy that I am seeing from this decided oil company. I want XOM to look forward a little more and become an energy company. One cannot argue with their results, the dividend and the fact that they are relatively cheap now due to the oil prices lagging across the globe due to the current recession.
- Yahoo – (YHOO) – the company may symbolize America. We do not always get it right, we try hard. We are willing to make deals. We want to give access and choice and deep down we think that we are making the right and good decision. Here is a company that is trying to transform itself into a media portal. Why do I think this company has upside? The baby boomers. Yahoo makes the internet easy. It is a good portal for games, news, email and search. iGoogle is 1 step to complicated and Bing might not have enough on their splash page besides a nice picture. Yahoo is the happy medium and has room for regrowth.
- Zoll - (ZOLL) – Medical device maker and software maker!
Now set off the fireworks! Again Happy Fourth! If I goofed up on a company actually being an American Company mea culpa. My disclaimer is that I was going quick before the holiday weekend as I too can’t wait for some good ole fashioned Americana.
Disclosure: LONG DIS, LONG JNJ, LONG WTR, LONG XOM, LONG RVBD