Stock Watch


5 Stocks for a Summer Cookout

Jennifer Schonberger

These companies' products can help you celebrate this summer, and their shares may brighten your portfolio.



Ah, summer. The season for lightning bugs, pool parties and barbeques. But the next time you squirt some ketchup on your burger or pour yourself a cold one, consider the companies behind the products you're enjoying. Load your plate with the five stocks described below, and you could fill your wallet as well as your belly. All of these companies offer their products around the globe and are expanding their sales in fast-growing emerging markets.

Always Coca-Cola

When it comes to multinationals, Coca-Cola (symbol KO) is the real thing. The world’s largest beverage company derives 70% of its sales outside the U.S., and foreign business, particularly in emerging markets, will continue to drive Coke’s bottom line.

But Coke is also taking steps to get its languid domestic sales moving. For example, Coke acquired its North American bottlers last October. That should help it reduce costs -- the company ultimately expects to realize annual savings of $350 million -- and respond more nimbly to changing consumer preferences. Coke has also been coming out with new formats for its fizz, offering, for instance, 1.25-liter bottles to supplement its 2-liter and 20-ounce bottles.

Meanwhile, Coke continues to invest in Asia and South America to capitalize on rising incomes in those regions. The company is aiming to double its total business by 2020. At $68.81, Coke stock trades at 18 times estimated 2011 earnings of $3.88 per share and yields 2.7%. (All prices and related data are through July 28.)

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The Joy of Pepsi

Unlike Coke, which is essentially a pure play on liquid refreshments, PepsiCo (PEP) is also a big player in snack foods. But like Coke, Pepsi is benefiting from growing sales overseas, especially in emerging markets. And the company is expanding in those markets. For example, last February Pepsi acquired a majority interest in Wimm-Bill-Dann Foods, a Russian dairy company.

The owner of such brands as Pepsi-Cola, Gatorade, Tropicana, Frito-Lay and Quaker Oats is also revamping its global beverage unit to boost profitability. For starters, Pepsi has begun to market its drinks on a global basis rather than marketing brands differently in each country in which it operates. Last year, the company bought its two largest North American bottlers, which should benefit Pepsi in the same way that Coke’s bottler acquisitions should help that company. Pepsi is also trying to improve the healthfulness of its food and beverage products -- for example, introducing sweeteners that reduce the sugar in soft drinks.

At $63.89 Pepsi sports a 3.2% dividend yield and trades at 14 times estimated 2011 earnings of $4.46 per share.

Give Your Portfolio a Buzz with Bud

As summer heats up, cool down with shares of the world’s biggest brewer, Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD). The Belgium-based producer of Budweiser, Michelob and Stella Artois is the product of the 2008 purchase of Anheuser-Busch, the iconic St. Louis–based beer maker, by InBev, which wisely adopted Anheuser-Busch’s snappy trading symbol.

The company sells its key brands in the world’s five most-profitable beer markets: the U.S., Brazil, Russia, Canada and Mexico. What’s more, BUD dominates most of the markets it serves. It also owns a 50% stake in Grupo Modelo, the Mexican brewer that owns the Corona brand and has 70% of the Mexican market. The BUD growth story is mainly about Brazil, where the company has a 70% lock on a market in which millions of people are joining the middle class every year. Credit Suisse analyst Anthony Bucalo estimates that Latin America will provide 80% of the company’s sales and profit growth until 2020. That growth will offset sluggish sales in Western Europe and North America.

First-quarter sales in Brazil disappointed some analysts. But they still expect earnings to increase 20% in 2011, to $3.75 per share. The company nearly doubled its annual dividend in March, to $1.16 per share, and once it finishes paying down the debt it took on to acquire Anheuser-Busch, it’s likely to boost its dividend more. The stock, which trades in the U.S. as an American depositary receipt, yields 1.7% at a price of $58.50 and sells for 16 times 2011 earnings projections.

Squirt Some Heinz into Your Portfolio

Heinz (HNZ) is expanding into emerging markets to reinvigorate growth. For example, the maker of ketchup, Ore-Ida potatoes and Weight Watchers frozen dinners bought a Chinese manufacturer of soy sauces and bean curd last November. And in April, Heinz acquired an 80% stake in a Brazilian maker of tomato sauces, ketchup and condiments; the company expects that unit’s sales to double in the first full year of its ownership. Heinz sees emerging markets accounting for more than 20% of its sales in the fiscal year that ends next April, up from 16% in the year that ended April 2011.

Heinz has sought to offset the impact of rising costs for raw materials by increasing productivity and raising prices on ketchup and other products. Like other multinationals, Heinz will also benefit if the dollar continues to weaken, as sales and profits generated overseas are translated into a greater number of dollars.

The stock trades at $52.76. Heinz, which recently raised its dividend by 6.7%, yields 3.6% and sells for 16 times estimated earnings of $3.34 per share for the year that ends next April 30.

Store Your Money in Tupperware

Tupperware parties have gone global. There were 18 million Tupperware parties in 2010, and most of them were overseas. That trend will continue as the maker of food-storage containers takes its concept to Brazil, India, Indonesia and other developing nations. In fact, revenues from developing nations rose 18% in 2010 and accounted for 56% of Tupperware’s sales of $2.3 billion.

Tupperware relies mainly on female entrepreneurs to sell its wares. Expanding in developing countries is allowing Tupperware to capitalize on the lack of jobs for women, as well as growing middle classes.

Tupperware (TUP) shares plunged 13% on July 27 after the company said third-quarter earnings would come in below expectations. At the same time, Tupperware raised its earnings outlook for the full year by a nickel per share, to between $4.50 and $4.60. Analysts on average expect earnings to jump 23% this year, to $4.58 per share and to climb at an annualized rate of nearly 15% per year over the next three to five years. The decline in the stock gives investors an opportunity to buy into an attractive emerging-markets play at a much lower price. At $62.97, Tupperware trades at 14 times estimated 2011 earnings and yields 1.9%.

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