Each month we come out with our list of outstanding stocks in our Top Ten Common Stocks Countdown. Here is the list for April:
1) Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ): This month’s number-one pick is Verizon. Mobile technology is catching up to Verizon’s LTE network. With the debut of the Apple iPad 3, a product has hit the market that will fully utilize the super-fast data speeds of Verizon’s 4G LTE network. With customers devouring an ever-increasing amount of data, Verizon is sure to benefit. In a recent article, The Wall Street Journal’s tech guru, Walt Mossberg, compared the 4G networks of the four largest telecoms in the U.S.–Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile.
Mossberg found Verizon’s LTE network to be up to 32 times faster than some public Wi-Fi networks. Speeds that fast could encourage many Internet subscribers who only have access to DSL in their neighborhoods to ditch wired Internet altogether and go completely wireless via LTE.
The rollout of LTE gives Internet users the ability to upgrade not only speed, but also quality. With LTE, normal Internet users may still stream the same number of videos on their smartphones or tablets. But the quality of those videos will be better. Mossberg writes that “some apps and websites, sensing the higher LTE speed, will automatically send down larger, higher-quality data files, especially video.” Verizon yields 5.3%.
2) Toronto-Dominion Bank
Toronto Dominion (NYSE: TD) is Canada’s second-largest bank and one of America’s 10 largest banks. The focus at TD Bank is on the company’s retail banking businesses—its personal and commercial banking and wealth and insurance businesses in the U.S. and Canada. The retail banking portion of TD Bank’s business generates 89% of the revenues. TD is Canada’s largest online broker and largest direct writer of home and auto insurance.
3) T. Rowe Price Group
If you have not purchased T Rowe (NASDAQ:TROW) shares on my advice from the last two issues, initiate a position today. Don’t let inertia prevent you from enjoying investment success.
Based in Basel, Switzerland, Syngenta (NYSE:SYT) is a world-leading herbicide, seed, and seed-care company. Syngenta spent around $1 billion in 2011 on research and development to improve its world-class portfolio of crop protection and seed products. With prices of both agricultural inputs and outputs growing, farmers are demanding better crop protection and production. They want better seeds, and fields free from weeds and bugs.
5) Procter & Gamble
I often write about how important the power of branding is to the success of a business. Sometimes a business’ brands become so strong that it does not have the resources to fully exploit the brand’s power alone. For example, the Pampers brand owned by P&G (NYSE:PG) is the world’s top-selling brand of baby diapers. To leverage that brand power, P&G partnered with a company run by former P&G employees to market Pampers’ Kandoo soap.
By licensing brands like Pampers and other patents that simply aren’t big enough for P&G to tackle, the company is wringing the most out of its innovation budget. P&G’s externally licensed products generated over $3 billion in revenue during each of the last three years.
6) Kinder Morgan
Kinder Morgan (NYSE:KMI), is breaking out over its IPO valuation, and the stock is up 34% since December.
On March 8, the board of directors at Colgate-Palmolive (NYSE:CL) increased the quarterly common stock dividend by 7%, to 62 cents per share. Colgate has paid a dividend every year since 1895. Colgate sells a line of household products that generated nearly $3 billion in cash flow from operations in 2011. I want you to focus on companies like Colgate that churn out cash and return it to shareholders.
8 ) Coca-Cola
Over the last 18 months, I have advised Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) seven times, three times as my number-one pick. You may have thought it redundant, but Coke was a conviction buy that has succeeded. Currently, the stock is headed toward $80 a share, and the board has increased the dividend for the 50th year in a row–this time by 8.5%.
9) American Express
The revolution in cellular technology has created new ways to purchase products using mobile phones. These mobile phone systems still need a network of trusted companies to execute transactions, and American Express (NYSE:AXP) is preparing itself for the evolution toward mobile payments.
Surveys have shown that the younger generation known as Millennials will lead the transition to mobile payment technology. American Express is pursuing Millennials by focusing on the quality of its payment technologies.
10) NextEra Energy
For the fifth year in a row, Fortune named NextEra Energy (NYSE:NEE) the most admired company in its industry. It’s not hard to see why. NextEra is North America’s largest producer of renewable power from wind and solar sources. The clean energy leader also pays a dividend near 4%.