With the Fourth of July holiday on the radar, consumers are about to be treated to a bevy of Americana … hot dogs, apple pie, and fireworks.
There’s another layer of the U.S. culture, however, that’s just as all-American as our celebrations. That is, some of our homegrown companies.
While all United States-based corporations are important to the nation’s historical, social and financial tapestries, a handful of them are outright iconic fixtures of American life. Owning them is ownership in the future success of the nation.
In no particular order, with our love rekindled for our country, here’s a closer look at 10 of the best, most-loved American stocks to buy and hold for the long haul.
All-American Stocks to Buy #1: Boston Beer Co (SAM)
What better place to start a list of all-American stocks to buy than where the seeds of our nation were first planted?
Boston-based beer company Boston Beer Co Inc (SAM) fits the bill perfectly. In fact, its Samuel Adams brand is named after one of the country’s most memorable founding fathers.
Those who know Boston Beer will know the last couple of quarters have been less than thrilling, with sales as well as profits being crimped by competition. And even with 50% slide from its early-2015 highs, SAM shares are still priced at an expensive 22 times its forward-looking earnings.
But Boston Beer literally redefined craft beer, and still is a rampant innovator that has landed numerous hits, especially in its seasonal offerings.
And there’s just something about a founder that makes company executives fly coach like the rest of us that you have to admire.
All-American Stocks to Buy #2: U.S. Steel (X)
Even without the patriotic name United States Steel Corporation (X) — more often just called U.S. Steel — would be a buy-worthy American name. It supplies much of the metal our cars, buildings, and machinery are built with. Without its hardworking blue-collar employees, the U.S. simply wouldn’t function the way it does.
But is cheaper Chinese steel is making it impossible for United States Steel to make a buck?
Not so fast.
After a lengthy, exhausting process, last week the U.S. Department of Commerce finally put in place some steep tariffs on Chinese steel shipped into the country, effectively putting these companies back into a higher gear.
Credit Suisse analyst Curt Woodworth recently opined on U.S. Steel and its peers: “We remain very bullish on the US steel industry and our new supply / demand model for the US flat rolled market indicates continued deficits for value add sheet into 3Q-16, supporting prices well above fair value levels.”
All-American Stocks to Buy #3: Ford (F)
Speaking of steel, there’s nothing more Americana than some good ol’ Detroit Iron. That puts Ford Motor Company (F) on a list of great U.S. stocks to buy at a point when F shares are just wildly undervalued. The trailing P/E ratio is a mere 5.9.
But what about so-called “peak auto,” which implies that the industry’s strongest sales are now in the rear-view mirror? There’s probably some legitimate concern to the idea, though what has largely been overlooked is that the worst-case scenario is already priced into the stock.
Although General Motors Company (GM) CEO Mary Barra was talking about the Ford rival at the time, the two automakers share the same fate and face similar fiscal scenarios, and Barra says U.S. auto sales could plunge from last year’s 17.5 million to as low as 10 million, and GM would still turn a profit.
The same likely applies to Ford.
All-American Stocks to Buy #4: Coca-Cola (KO)
Yes, The Coca-Cola Co (KO) may do more business overseas than it does in the United States, but there’s no denying it’s an all-American company. Founded in 1886 in Atlanta, Georgia, not only is it the nation’s oldest soda company, it’s one of the nation’s oldest companies from any sector.
That being said, it’ has hardly been stuck in the past. It’s also the owner of brand names like Dasani water, Minute Maid juice and Powerade, just to name a few.
The latest addition to the Coca-Cola family says the company continues to keep with the times too. It’s acquiring Argentina’s AdeS, which makes (of all things) soy-based beverages.
All-American Stocks to Buy #5: Deere & Company (DE)
Drive across any decent-sized stretch of American farmland, and odds are good you’ll see some green-and-yellow equipment at work. Those are, of course, the familiar John Deere colors, painted on by Deere & Company (DE). Many farmers choose Deere just because their fathers did, and because their fathers did.
Not that the company hasn’t earned that repeat business. Most owners agree with the company’s slogan that “Nothing runs like a Deere.”
Like most other companies that rely on firm commodity prices, weak crop prices last year ultimately crimped the farm equipment maker’s top and bottom lines in 2015. Crop prices are rising firmly now, though. Corn prices, for instance, have soared from $3.75 bushel as of the end of March to a multimonth high of $4.24 as of last week. And they’re still going strong.
Farmers may be able to justify spending on new equipment again later this year and early next year.
All-American Stocks to Buy #6: Harley-Davidson (HOG)
In the same sense that GM represents the best of Detroit Iron’s four-wheeled vehicles, Harley-Davidson Inc (HOG) motorcycles are the quintessentially American two-wheeled vehicle. There’s nothing else out there quite like them, and their distinctive look is recognized — and desired — all over the world.
Not everyone thinks that matters right now. Goldman Sachs recently downgraded HOG from a “Buy” to a “Hold,” saying:
“Concerns about long term brand relevance, and demographic headwinds that we thought would be offset by the strength of the cyclical recovery could continue to take center stage once again, muddling our buy thesis.”
That’s not a consensus opinion, though.
Morningstar’s Jaime Katz is impressed that Harley-Davidson is willing slow down deliveries just to maintain pricing power while it refocuses on rebuilding its domestic business.
All-American Stocks to Buy #7: Bank of America (BAC)
Contrary to what the name suggests, Bank of America Corp (BAC) isn’t the entire country’s bank. It is the nation’s second-biggest bank though, controlling just a bit over 10% of the nation’s total bank assets.
So it’s much closer than most other banks to being “the bank of America.”
That’s not the reason BofA has earned a spot on a list of the country’s top stocks to own, however. As Jeff Reeves pointed out just a few days ago, BAC shares are only priced at about 75% of their book value.
CEO Brian Moynihan is also getting more than serious about expense control, and in the first quarter of the year — despite a lethargic economic environment — lending activity was actually up 3% for the bank.
All-American Stocks to Buy #8: International Speedway (ISCA)
International Speedway Corp (ISCA) isn’t exactly a household name for investors, though it’s possible some investors are more familiar with the company then they realize. See, International Speedway owns 12 different race tracks and hosts more than 100 events per year.
Better still, it’s partnered up with an industry that’s not just uniquely American, but rabidly loved: NASCAR. An estimated 75 million Americans are NASCAR fans, and its fans are more affluent than one might imagine.
In other words, International Speedway hitched its wagon to the right star. The proof is in the numbers. Analysts collectively expect last year’s bottom line of $1.44 per share to grow to $1.55 this year and reach $1.71 per share next year on a respectable improvement in revenue.
All-American Stocks to Buy #9: General Dynamics (GD)
What better way to celebrate the freedoms established on July 4, 1776, by buying one of the companies that helps the nation defend those freedoms still today?
That’s General Dynamics Corporation (GD).
The knee-jerk assumption may be that no defense contractor should be included on a list of stocks to buy, with a new president — and therefore new spending uncertainties — in the works. In the case of 2016’s election, though, both Clinton as well as Trump have made it clear they’re looking to expand and improve the military, as the war on terror is no longer one anyone can pretend doesn’t have to be fought.
In the meantime, it’s worth noting it’s been more than three years since General Dynamics has failed to beat quarterly earnings estimates.
All-American Stocks to Buy #10: Amazon.com (AMZN)
Last but not least, Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN) belongs on a list of the nation’s top local-hero stocks to buy.
Calling a spade a spade, more than any other organization, Amazon.com ushered in and largely defined e-commerce. It’s set the pace all other retailers must keep, and set the bar all other retailers must meet.
More than that though, Amazon is an all-American success story. CEO Jeff Bezos started out on 1994 with nothing more than a few boxes of books he was selling out of his garage, and he turned it into a business that over the past four quarters has generated $113 billion worth of revenue.
Say what you want about the company’s minimal, inconsistent profitability, but nobody can deny it’s an American capitalism dream-come-true — a sweat-equity rags-to-riches story.
Would-be entrepreneurs draw motivation from Bezos’ success.
As of this writing, James Brumley did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.