One thing economic bad times does is to take down most all companies, including the strongest, and this often provides us with a unique investment opportunity.
Heartland Advisers newest pick is a company who's probably known by almost everyone living on Planet Earth. It is McDonald's (NYSE:MCD).
McDonald's was founded way back in 1940 in Oak Brook, Illinois, which is still the company headquarters. How many burger chains have come and gone since then?
In speaking of technology companies I have stressed the need to adapt. McDonald's success has been gained because although its hamburgers today are pretty much the same as they were in1940; they have kept pace with the changes in the fast food business, offering a myriad of new products such as fruit smoothies, salads, Chicken McNuggets, to list a few of them.
Back then in had one restaurant; at last count McDonalds now has 33,517 restaurants, which are located all over the world. Given the European Debt Crisis, some are thinking that it might hurt McDonald's earnings.
I think that no matter how bad the economy becomes, most everyone can afford to pay the cost of a Big Mac. In fact, the economic situation may very well benefit McDonald's as people scale back on dining out, due to hard times. Seriously, how many people around the world are going to let the European Debt Crisis affect what they have for lunch?
As far as stocks are concerned, McDonald's is the bluest of the blue chips. In addition to being a restaurant, McDonald's actually owns much of the property its restaurants sit on, which is not the case with other fast food chains.
Even in the bad world economy in 2011, McDonald's return on equity was 38.2%, which is stratospheric.
In addition to all of this,at its current selling price of around $86 per share, it has a dividend of about 3-¼ %, which is way better than you can get on any A rated bond. Since1996, which was the earliest publication of Value Line, the dividend has been raised every year, and I see no reason why this won't continue.
Disclosure: I am long MCD.