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CAMPBELL SOUP CO. $33 (New York symbol CPB; Conservative Growth Portfolio, Consumer sector; Shares outstanding: 342.9 million; Market cap: $11.3 billion; Price-to-sales ratio: 1.5; Dividend yield: 3.3%; WSSF Rating: Above Average) expects sales to rise by 2.5% to 3.5% in its current fiscal year, which ends July 31, 2010. That’s less than its earlier prediction of 4% to 5% growth.
The weak economy is prompting more consumers to eat at home, and many are choosing cheaper, generic-brand canned soups. Campbell is responding by launching new soup promotions. It is also making its soups with fewer ingredients and less packaging. These moves should lift its fiscal 2010 earnings by around 10%, to $2.43 a share. The stock trades at 13.6 times that estimate.
Campbell Soup is a buy.
BUCKEYE PARTNERS L.P. $57 (New York symbol BPL; Income Portfolio, Utilities sector; Units outstanding: 51.4 million; Market cap: $2.9 billion; Price-to-sales ratio: 1.7; Dividend yield: 6.6%; WSSF Rating: Average) is considering building a new pipeline that would pump natural-gas liquids from the Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Basin to a petrochemical plant in Sarnia, Ontario. Buckeye would own and operate this pipeline. The partnership did not say how much the new line would cost, or when it might start operating. However, the Marcellus Basin is one of the world’s largest unconventional natural-gas deposits. That cuts this project’s risk.
Buckeye Partners is a buy.
NEWELL RUBBERMAID INC. $14 (New York symbol NWL; Aggressive Growth Portfolio, Consumer sector; Shares outstanding: 277.7 million; Market cap: $3.9 billion; Price-to-sales ratio: 0.7; Dividend yield: 1.4%; WSSF Rating: Average) makes plastic storage bins, tools, window blinds, pens and a number of other household items.
In 2009, the company earned $1.31 a share. That’s up 8.3% from $1.21 in 2008. These figures exclude costs related to Newell’s cost-cutting plan, which included closing plants and discontinuing less-profitable products. Sales fell 13.8%, to $5.6 billion from $6.5 billion. Without the negative impact of foreign-exchange rates, sales would have fallen 7%.
Newell Rubbermaid is a hold.
GENUINE PARTS CO. $40 (New York symbol GPC; Conservative Growth Portfolio, Manufacturing sector; Shares outstanding: 159.6 million; Market cap: $6.4 billion; Price-to-sales ratio: 0.6; Dividend yield: 4.1%; WSSF Rating: Average) has a long history of raising its dividend, no matter what the overall economy is doing. That’s because its strong balance sheet supports it during cyclical downturns.
The auto-parts distributor recently raised its dividend for the 54th straight year. The new annual rate of $1.64 a share, up 2.5% from $1.60, yields 4.1%.
Genuine Parts is a buy.
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