3 Consumer Staple Stocks To Buy, 2 To Avoid

Includes: CL, KMB, MDLZ, PG, UL
by: Dividend Kings

There are always consumers in need of goods to consume. It is so amazing that, even when money is supposedly scarce, it never really is! People will always be hungry, thirsty, and trendy. Companies that deal in consumer goods are, thus, safe havens in which to invest. Let's look at my best ideas in this sector and see whether they are bargains on a relative value basis. Please use my list as a starting point for your due diligence.

Kimberly-Clark Corporation (NYSE:KMB): $72 per share in a 52-week range of about $61-$74. It yields a dividend of 3.9% with earnings per share of $ 4.19, and price to earnings ratio of 17.37. Its market capitalization is $28.65 billion. Its quarterly year-on-year earnings growth is -7.90%. Its debt-equity ratio is a bit high for me at 133.44. Its current ratio is 1.12. Growth for 2012 is 3% and 2013 is 8.9%. The annual growth for the next 5 years is projected at 5.7%, pretty close to that of the previous 5 years which was 3.73% per annum. High price target is $82. I say hold this if you have it. If you don't own it, don't be in a rush to buy. The debt figures just put me off. But you may take a look at it from time to time. It does give a good dividend and it did earn the 2011 American Business Ethics Awards.

Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE:PG): While you fork over $65 or so per share, you get a dividend yield of 3.2%, earnings per share of $3.94, and price to earnings ratio of 16.72 in this $181.06 billion market cap company. A famous name for sure. Its quarterly year-on-year earnings growth is -1.9%, surprisingly. Its debt-equity is 51.57 and still high, but lower that its competitor Kimberly-Clark . Its current ratio is a bit low at .83. This year's growth is expected to be 6.1%, and next years', 8.8%. A growth of 8.77% per annum has been projected for the next 5 years. I call this a buy, with a high price target of $81. Procter & Gamble owns all the names we love like Bounty and Covergirl. It was called Exhibit A for dividend growth investing for very good reason.

Colgate-Palmolive Company (NYSE:CL): Another well-known name, one share costs around $88 in a 52-week range of $74-$94 approximately. With an earnings per share of $4.98 and price to earnings ratio of 17.78, it has a dividend yield of 2.6%. It has cost- cutting initiatives in place for 2012 as is reported here, and seems sound in every other respect, thus, it has investor sentiment which I hope will continue, so I would tend to differ on calling it "Neutral" as the UBS did. Its return on equity is a massive 90.27% and quarterly year-on-year earnings growth is 3.9%. A consistent growth of 9% per annum is expected over the next 5 years as it was 11.88% per annum in the past 5 years. Growth of 4.1% expected in this year. High price target being $101, this is a buy.

Unilever PLC (NYSE:UL): With shares priced at about $31, earnings per share is $1.94, price to earnings ratio is 16.24, and dividend yield is 3.9%. Return on equity is 33.14% and quarterly year-on-year earnings growth is 5.2%. Its debt-equity ratio is 69.41 and current ratio .89. This tends to detract from the overall picture for me. Unilever PLC is expected to show a growth of 13.4% for this year and a per annum growth of 7.7% for the next 5 years. In terms of recent headlines, Unilever got some props as being diversified with global distribution and, thus, being able to ride challenges better than other companies. The high price target is $40. This share is a Neutral to me and a glance-at at best. As in, stay away from it. It doesn't excite me.

Kraft Foods Inc. (KFT): Another well-loved name, you pay about $37 for one share and it yields you a 3.1% dividend, with an earnings per share of $1.83, and price to earnings ratio of 20.61. Market capitalization of this company is $66.73 billion. It has a return on equity of 9.07% which is a bit on the low side, and a good year-on-year quarterly revenue growth of 22.3%. What is the debt situation? A debt-equity ratio of 80.56…not so awe-inspiring. Current ratio also could be higher: it is .85. Growth is expected to be 12.4% for 2012 and 9.98% per annum for the next 5 years. It could go up to $44 per share; I would call it a strong buy if not for its debt. It was mentioned on the list of 14 best yielding consumers stocks with a buy or better rating. I like Kraft, I think it can and will always ride on its long-standing reputation. I hope it tackles its debt fast. I call it a medium buy.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.