Blue-chip stocks tend to have many positive characteristics. They are often industry leaders with proven, reliable business models. They also usually to deliver strong returns over the long term. And on top of that, they tend to pay dividends with regularly increasing payouts.
So, it isn’t difficult to imagine that stocks like that should command a premium. And that’s generally true.
That’s also what makes this list particularly interesting: The stocks listed here embody all of those characteristics. However, they’re also cheap, all trading below $15 at present — with several trading below $10.
Today’s top blue-chip stock picks are:
Ford (NYSE:F) stock has a clear path ahead, though that path is heavily reliant upon a transition from the internal combustion vehicles it’s famous for to electric vehicles. And while it hasn’t had a strong start to 2022, the overall arc of the company remains positive. In fact, the 10-year annual return on F stock averaged 5.79% through the month of June. That means $1,000 invested 10 years ago would have grown to $1,755 today without the inclusion of dividends.
That dividend yields a respectable 3.6%.
But an investor buying Ford shares right now seeks returns greater than 5.79% moving forward. There’s good news and bad news on that front.
Ford is investing $3.7 billion to increase production of both gas vehicles and electric-powered vehicles. The goal is 2 million electric vehicles produced annually by 2026.
At the same time, Ford recently recalled around 49,000 Mustang Mach-E vehicles over a safety issue.
Nevertheless, greater EV production volumes should equate to greater valuations moving forward and thus higher returns.
I’ve generally been hesitant regarding Carnival (NYSE:CCL) stock over the last few months. The problems I see include the notion that inflation affects it worse than many other stocks.
It’s a fairly straightforward premise: The less valuable Americans’ dollars become, the less likely we are to splurge on luxuries including cruises like those Carnival offers.
The Federal Reserve is likely to raise rates by at least another 75 basis points in July. That’s only going to make the American consumer more worried about the risk of a recession. In turn, the American consumer is going to draw their purse strings even tighter, leading to less demand for CCL stock.
I still believe all of that, but CCL stock isn’t going to fail. EPS figures are expected to turn positive in 2023. That should correlate with an upward surge in share prices. There will be volatility until then, but there’s a good chance the company will reinstate its dividend at that point, compounding growth in the process.
There are multiple catalysts and strong secular trends driving chemicals company BASF (OTCMKTS:BASFY) stock upward in the future.
Before jumping into those, note that BASF stock comes with a very respectable dividend yielding 8.3%. It has been reduced in the past, most recently in 2021, but it’s been in the same 80-to-90-cent range since 2016.
In other words, expect a strong dividend with any BASF purchase.
Fundamentally there’s a lot to like in the fact that sales grew by 19% in the most recent quarter. Net income decreased, but once supply chain disruptions are addressed BASF should be in a much better place.
It is one of the most important firms globally in terms of food production. That can’t be underestimated as global population rises and its important inputs in agricultural production increase in importance.
Barclays (NYSE:BCS) stock lets you invest in a premier name in banking that has fallen on difficult times. That could be an opportunity for those willing to take a risk.
The primary benefit I see here relates to the firm’s dividend policy. Barclays U.S. division sold more structured debt notes than it was allowed per Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rules over a year period. As it stands now, it looks like it was a simple clerical error rather than anything done with nefarious intent.
Barclays will likely have to buy back the notes at a loss.
The news also caused the company to have to delay a share buyback until it concludes its investigation into what occurred.
The opportunity here lies in the fact that the firm’s semi-annual dividend payment has gone up and down over the last several years.
Given that its payout ratio is a very low 17%, it is reasonable to guess that management may reward investors with a larger dividend once all is said and done.
American Airlines (AAL)
It’s fair to say that American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL) has been the weakest performer among the major U.S. air carriers throughout the pandemic. So, it was difficult to recommend it over its peers in any realistic comparison.
But at the same time, its upside simply can’t be denied. AAL stock carries an average target price near $20. That implies well above 50% returns for what’s the biggest or second-biggest airline in the world depending on how you define it.
American Airlines is probably the biggest gamble on this list as well. History isn’t on its side as it has returned a paltry 0.95% annually over the past 10 years. In other words, $1000 invested in AAL stock a decade ago would be worth less than $1,100 today.
Put in those terms, this investment isn’t very persuasive. However, management sees profitability returning as soon as Q2. That will send prices upward quickly.
Amcor (NYSE:AMCR) stock represents a company that produces packaging for consumer goods and healthcare products. The company currently pays a dividend yielding 3.8%. And per its most recent investor overview, it expects to provide shareholders with annual returns between 10% and 15% inclusive of EPS and the aforementioned dividend.
Essentially, Amcor is the company that fulfills the packaging needs of a who’s-who in the CPG industry. Chances are that you’ve touched its packaging at some point, thanks to its global reach. Sales growth is expected to reach 12.2% throughout 2022.
Amcor might not have a ton of upside built into target prices, but what it lacks there it makes up for in terms of its stability. AMCR stock carries a five-year beta of 0.34. Even when markets fluctuate wildly, Amcor performs steadily as consumers need goods that have been properly packaged no matter the economy.
Northwest Bancshares (NWBI)
Northwest Bancshares (NASDAQ:NWBI) is a holding company under Northwest Bank. Northwest Bank was recently named among the world’s best banks in a Forbes survey which should lend some credibility to NWBI stock. In fact, Northwest Bank was ranked 25th best bank in the U.S. among the 75 U.S. banks that made the list.
There are two strong reasons to consider investing in NWBI shares. First, the stock has performed very well over the past 10 years with an annual return of 6.78%. That means money invested a decade ago would have nearly doubled by today without the inclusion of dividends.
That’s the other point: NWBI stock carries a dividend yielding 6.3%. If that were factored in, an investment in the company a decade ago would have easily doubled. And no worries — although 6.5% is a strong dividend, it hasn’t been reduced dating back to 1995.
On the date of publication, Alex Sirois did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.