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Who among us hasn’t wished for the stock-picking savvy of Warren Buffett? The stock portfolio of the legendary investor has significantly outperformed the market during his 60- year investing career. Buffett’s advice is so highly regarded that an wealthy avid follower recently paid $2.6 million just to have lunch with him (the “fee” went to charity, of course).
Of course, given 60 years, billions of dollars to invest and ready access to America’s leading CEOs, it’s possible that some of us could develop his stock-picking acumen. However, there is a quicker path to success… To invest like Buffett, it’s not necessary to be him. You simply need to know how he picks stocks, which is information he readily shares.
I selected three stocks from among Buffett’s top 10 holdings. I think any of them would be great picks for a long-term investor.
1. Coca-Cola Co.(NYSE: KO)
Coca-Cola has the No. 1 selling soda brand worldwide and an industry-leading 42% market share. Coke is the company’s best-known product, but Coca-Cola also has 13 other brands (such as Minute Maid and Sprite) that generate more than $1 billion in annual sales.
In the past five years, Coca-Cola has increased earnings by 20%, dividends by 10% and produced a 33% ROE, which is more than twice the S&P 500 average ROE of 15%. Coca-Cola currently pays out only 34% of earnings, leaving plenty of room for dividend growth.
Although the current yield isn’t huge, Coca-Cola more than makes up for it with consistent dividend growth. Dividends have increased for 49 years in a row, including this April, when Coca-Cola raised the dividend by 7% to an annual rate of $1.88.
When Buffett purchased his Coca Cola stake in 1994, the stock traded near $18 and paid a $0.10 dividend. His original investment was $1.3 billion. Buffett anticipates receiving dividends of at least $376 million this year — a 29% return on his original investment — and that’s just from the dividends. He also expects Coca-Cola’s dividends to double within 10 years. If that happens, his annual dividend income will return nearly 60% of his original investment.
2. Proctor & Gamble (NYSE: PG)
Procter & Gamble owns many of the best-known brands in household products, such as Pampers diapers, Tide detergent, Crest toothpaste and Duracell batteries, to name a few. The company owns 23 brands, each generating at least $1 billion in sales. The company ranks No. 26 on the Fortune 500 list.
Because of its dominant brands and diversified portfolio, Procter & Gamble is able to deliver steady growth through good times and bad. In the past five years, the company has delivered 9% earnings growth, 12% dividend gains and an above-average ROE of 17%.
Procter & Gamble has been paying dividends consistently for 120 years and has raised the dividend every year for the past 55 years. The current annual rate is $2.10. The most recent quarterly dividend increase was nearly 9% and the dividend payout ratio is about 50%. Proctor & Gamble shares are valued at a multiple of just 17 times earnings, which is less than half of the average of 37 for the household goods sector.
Buffett’s original $464 million investment was in Gillette in 1989, before the company was acquired by Procter & Gamble in 2005. His dividend income from this investment will likely exceed $152 million this year, which represents a 32% yield on his original investment.
3. Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ)
Johnson & Johnson is the world’s largest medical device business and the eighth largest pharmaceutical firm. The company holds either the No. 1 or No. 2 market share in most of its product areas. Johnson & Johnson sells more than 100 drugs, including seven drugs that each produce more than $1 billion in annual sales. A steady stream of new products will drive future results; 25% of product sales last year were from products introduced within the past five years.
The company’s earnings have grown for 27 straight years. Dividends have increased 49 years in a row, including a 6% increase in April, to an annual rate of $2.28. In the past five years, earnings have grown 7% and dividends by 11%. ROE averaged 27% in the past five years — impressive, even by pharmaceutical industry standards.
Johnson & Johnson shares are priced at a P/E multiple of 15 and carry a deep discount to the pharmaceutical industry’s average of 25. In the spring of last year, Buffett took advantage of a price dip, triggered by recalls of Tylenol, Motrin and Benadryl, to add $1 billion worth of stock to his position.
Action to take–> Any of these steady-eddies should provide reliable dividend growth and increasing yields for long-term investors. More aggressive long-term investors also seeking capital gains should pay particular heed to Johnson & Johnson, which is currently valued near its 5-year low on a P/E basis and at a 40% discount to industry competitors.
–Lisa Springer Source: StreetAuthority
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