Investing in the stock market is no walk in the park. There are thousands of publicly traded companies to choose from, spanning every industry you can think of…and a few you probably can’t.
Tired of throwing your money at the “hottest new stock” touted by TV’s talking heads — without really knowing what it is you’re getting?
There’s an easy solution: Consider these “All-American” stocks instead: 10 companies that embody the American lifestyle and culture to their core.
They bleed red, white, and blue, they’re all household names, and they won’t be in financial danger anytime soon — unlike that inverse 3x Chinese Internet Stocks ETF or whatever it was that you heard about at your last cocktail party.
All-American Stocks to Buy: Coca-Cola (KO)
Market Cap: $176 billion
It’s tough to get more American than Coca-Cola (KO). Founded in Atlanta in 1886, the first Cokes went for 5 cents a pop. The small pharmacy that originally carried the beverage averaged sales of nine servings per day.
Today, the world’s most popular soda averages more than 5 million servings sold per day.
Although Coca-Cola stock hasn’t done much recently — it’s down about 4% over the last year — it’s reasonably priced, and rewards investors with an attractive 3.3% annual dividend. And that payout has grown for 52 consecutive years.
All-American Stocks to Buy: Deere & Company (DE)
Market Cap: $30 billion
Now that it’s summer, you might be seeing (and hearing) a lot more from this company’s most famous product.
John Deere lawnmowers, made by Deere & Company (DE), have been helping high schoolers earn some extra summer scratch for generations. Recently, the world’s most successful investor took notice. That’s right: Warren Buffett owns Coca-Cola … and disclosed a 5% stake in DE stock this year.
It’s no coincidence that Deere also pays a tidy dividend (2.6%) and is a card-carrying staple of American industry: The Oracle of Omaha is famously bullish on the long-term prospects of the U.S.
Although lower crop prices have prompted less demand for Deere’s agricultural equipment, Buffett feels like we’ve seen the bottom, and bought shares when they were battered and beaten. Maybe he’s right: So far this year, DE stock is up 6% to double the market.
All-American Stocks to Buy: Papa John’s (PZZA)
Market Cap: $3 billion
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know … pizza is Italian. But did the Italians invent stuffed crust? What about pizzas with three-and-a-half feet of bacon wrapped around them, or bacon cheeseburger pizzas?
To be fair, Papa John’s (PZZA) didn’t invent any of those either, but the point remains the same: The modern-day pizza is more American than Teddy Roosevelt.
But from the investor’s perspective, there’s something far more interesting than the limited-time promos Papa John’s and its competitors use to reel in customers: technology. That’s right, Papa John’s isn’t just a pizza stock, it’s a “pizza tech” stock.
Let me explain.
PZZA recently embraced a Venmo-powered bill-splitting technology called PayShare, which allows you and your buds to split the price of pizza on your cell phone. Its emphasis on online ordering is also helping Papa John’s to eat away at the market share of small-time pizzamakers without Papa’s web presence.
Investors have taken notice, and PZZA stock is up 75% over the past year.
All-American Stocks to Buy: Harley-Davidson (HOG)
Market Cap: $12 billion
Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based Harley-Davidson (HOG) has been around since 1903, the same year an ambitious chap named Henry Ford incorporated his eponymous Ford Motor Company (F). Founded by William S. Harley, who as a 21-year-old in 1901 devised the initial blueprints of a motor-powered bicycle, he teamed with Arthur Davidson and the two began selling mechanical freedom out of a 150-square-foot shed.
Fast forward to 2014, and Harley-Davidson is arguably the most recognized motorcycle brand in the world, with annual sales upwards of $6.2 billion. With some of the most devoted and brand-loyal fans in the world, HOG is working on lower-priced bikes and developing a battery-powered bike in efforts to embrace green energy.
HOG stock dishes out a 2.1% dividend and just approved a 15 million-share buyback plan, making this one awfully attractive all-American.
All-American Stocks to Buy: McDonald’s (MCD)
Market Cap: $93 billion
The McDonald’s (MCD) Golden Arches are recognized across the globe, but it all began right here, in the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Yes, MCD has seen its share of struggles of late. “Same-store sales” is a dirty word when it comes to McDonald’s, and Q1 earnings weren’t exactly promising, either.
And yet, MCD is slightly edging the market with roughly 4% gains in 2015. Why?
Well, while there’s only so much innovation that can happen in the fast food industry, McDonald’s is aggressively pursuing at least one new idea that some investors seem high on: the all-day breakfast menu. In a growing number of locations, Mickey D’s wildly popular breakfast offerings (don’t get me started on those bacon, egg and cheese biscuits) will be offered at any hour of the day. I have a tough time seeing how that couldn’t be a good thing.
Also attractive is McDonald’s quarterly payout. MCD has increased its dividend for 38 straight years, and with a current dividend yield of 3.5%, all you’ve gotta do is sit back, relax and collect your quarterly check.
All-American Stocks to Buy: General Motors (GM)
Market Cap: $58 billion
Founded in Flint, Michigan, in 1908, General Motors (GM) has been a staple of American industry for more than 100 years. Starting with only the Buick brand, GM now encompasses the Chevrolet, Cadillac and GMC lines as well.
Despite the devastation GM endured during the financial crisis — General Motors needed a bailout to save it from utter insolvency — the company is back on its feet now, and in 2014 posted net income of nearly $4 billion.
Today, General Motors has the highest U.S. market share of any auto manufacturer, commanding 17.7% of the domestic market so far in 2015. Year-to-date U.S. sales volume is also up 4.9% from 2015 — a figure led by the roaring growth in its light-truck sales, which have jumped 18.3% year-over-year.
Boasting a 4% annual dividend to boot, this All-American stock is worth a glance.
All-American Stocks to Buy: Starbucks (SBUX)
Market Cap: $81 billion
Yes, Starbucks (SBUX) is infamous for being everywhere. But the world’s largest coffee chain started in rainy Seattle, where its headquarters remain today. Millions of Americans frequent its stores every year, and its seasonal Pumpkin Spice Latte is a cultural phenomenon in and of itself.
Further cementing its status as an All-American stock, Starbucks is embracing the digital and mobile revolutions, encouraging shoppers to place orders through their phones with its mobile rewards program. SBUX also is expanding its offerings into tea, pastries and even alcohol as it looks to keep same-store sales on the rise.
With the company’s longtime visionary leader, Howard Schultz, at the helm, this company is in good hands.
All-American Stocks to Buy: Lockheed Martin (LMT)
Market Cap: $60 billion
What’s more American than fighter jets?
I’ll accept “fighter jets and cheeseburgers” … but for some reason, Lockheed Martin (LMT) and McDonald’s haven’t merged yet. (Not enough synergies, I guess.)
The highest-profile project on Lockheed’s table right now is a $391 billion F-35 contract with the U.S. military — a contract billed to eventually produce a fleet of 2,443 F-35s. The first 10 jets are scheduled to be tested for operational readiness in mid-July.
Lockheed also is developing futuristic, blimp-like “hybrid” aircraft that will be able to transport oil and mining equipment to and from remote areas without easily accessible roads or with too much treacherous terrain. Expected to be approved by the FAA in 2017, these airships have sparked strong initial demand, and Lockheed could begin making deliveries by 2018.
LMT stock is up 17% in the last year and pays a solid, 3.1% dividend.
All-American Stocks to Buy: Texas Instruments (TXN)
Market Cap: $57 billion
Everything’s bigger in Texas.
Headquartered down the street from “America’s team,” the Dallas Cowboys, Texas Instruments (TXN) is one of our country’s largest domestic chipmakers.
A Texas Instruments employee, Jack Kilby, literally invented the integrated circuit back in 1958, which today is found in all manner of electronics and is essential to modern technology as we know it. From calculators and sensors to data storage and audio, Texas Instruments does it all, and TXN stock is starting to follow suit.
Last year, the company broke a multiyear streak of sales declines, and revenue is expected to grow in 2015 and 2016 as well. The last two years have both seen net income climb by 20% or more, and despite being up 14% in the last year, the stock still looks attractively priced today.
All-American Stocks to Buy: Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD)
Market Cap: $202 billion
Finally, we come to Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD), the company behind the most American beverage there is: Budweiser.
Some might complain about this particular pick, considering Anheuser-Busch isn’t American anymore. The company sold itself back in 2008 to European rival InBev for $52 billion.
Personally, I don’t care. This company is American in spirit, no matter how many Belgians are in the board room.
Founded in 1852 in St. Louis, Missouri, the original Anheuser-Busch became an iconic U.S. brand, largely through its widespread marketing and advertising campaigns. The Budweiser Clydesdales captivated millions of eyeballs every Super Bowl for decades as they trotted their way through Budweiser’s latest and greatest commercials, and we’ve gotten countless other gems (like croaking dogs) throughout the years.
BUD has at least been treating U.S. investors well this year — its ADRs pay 2.8% in dividends and are up 11% year-to-date.
As of this writing, John Divine did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. You can follow him on Twitter at @divinebizkid or email him at email@example.com.