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The following is a list of consumer goods companies. All of these companies have been more profitable than their competitors over the past 5 years, based on average gross and net profit margins.

This list might offer an interesting starting point for investors looking to invest in defensive sectors. Full details below.

Profitability data sourced from Reuters, short float and performance data sourced from Finviz.

1. Procter & Gamble Co. (NYSE:PG): Personal Products Industry. Market cap of $182.53B. 5-year average gross margin at 50.91% vs. industry average at 7.3%. 5-year average net profit margin at 13.65% vs. industry average at 1.27%. Short float at 0.98%, which implies a short ratio of 2.55 days. The stock has gained 8.17% over the last year.

2. Church & Dwight Co. Inc. (NYSE:CHD): Cleaning Products Industry. Market cap of $4.67B. 5-year average gross margin at 40.0% vs. industry average at 7.3%. 5-year average net profit margin at 8.02% vs. industry average at 1.27%. Short float at 3.47%, which implies a short ratio of 5.69 days. The stock has gained 13.31% over the last year.

3. Newell Rubbermaid Inc. (NYSE:NWL): Housewares & Accessories Industry. Market cap of $5.02B. 5-year average gross margin at 33.77% vs. industry average at 7.3%. 5-year average net profit margin at 5.25% vs. industry average at 1.27%. Short float at 9.06%, which implies a short ratio of 6.81 days. The stock has gained 21.09% over the last year.

4. Harley-Davidson, Inc. (NYSE:HOG): Recreational Vehicles Industry. Market cap of $7.47B. 5-year average gross margin at 39.65% vs. industry average at 21.65%. 5-year average net profit margin at 12.84% vs. industry average at 3.27%. Short float at 7.06%, which implies a short ratio of 6.67 days. The stock has gained 22.54% over the last year.

5. Coach Inc. (NYSE:COH): Textile Industry. Market cap of $15.28B. 5-year average gross margin at 74.78% vs. industry average at 44.42%. 5-year average net profit margin at 22.1% vs. industry average at 5.87%. Short float at 3.39%, which implies a short ratio of 2.98 days. The stock has gained 49.06% over the last year.

6. The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO): Beverages Industry. Market cap of $146.1B. 5-year average gross margin at 64.58% vs. industry average at 49.05%. 5-year average net profit margin at 20.69% vs. industry average at 5.86%. Short float at 0.88%, which implies a short ratio of 2.36 days. The stock has gained 16.05% over the last year.

7. Mead Johnson Nutrition Company (NYSE:MJN): Processed & Packaged Goods Industry. Market cap of $12.2B. 5-year average gross margin at 63.88% vs. industry average at 31.12%. 5-year average net profit margin at 15.91% vs. industry average at 5.29%. Short float at 1.3%, which implies a short ratio of 2.2 days. The stock has gained 34.44% over the last year.

8. Kimberly-Clark Corporation (NYSE:KMB): Personal Products Industry. Market cap of $25.29B. 5-year average gross margin at 31.46% vs. industry average at 24.35%. 5-year average net profit margin at 9.15% vs. industry average at 3.06%. Short float at 1.34%, which implies a short ratio of 1.97 days. The stock has gained 1.62% over the last year.

9. Hansen Natural Corporation (HANS): Beverages Industry. Market cap of $4.44B. 5-year average gross margin at 52.48% vs. industry average at 49.05%. 5-year average net profit margin at 15.53% vs. industry average at 5.86%. Short float at 1.98%, which implies a short ratio of 1.98 days. The stock has gained 46.17% over the last year.

Disclosure: No positions