Updating McCormick & Co. LTD., Briggs & Stratton Corp., Dow Jones & Co. Inc., and AT&T Inc.

Article Excerpt

MCCORMICK & CO. LTD. $40 (New York symbol MKC; Income Portfolio, Consumer sector; WSSF Rating: Average) is thinking about acquiring a controlling stake in one of India’s biggest makers of spices and other foods. Demand for processed foods in India is growing strongly as average incomes rise. McCormick could use it to expand sales in other parts of Asia. The company has also raised its quarterly dividend 11.1%, from $0.18 a share to $0.20. The new annual rate of $0.80 yields 2.0%. But at 24 times earnings, the stock is vulnerable to a sharp drop on any earnings setback. McCormick is a hold. BRIGGS & STRATTON CORP. $27 (New York symbol BGG; Conservative Growth Portfolio, Manufacturing & Industry sector; WSSF Rating: Above average) will have to start installing catalytic converters in its lawnmower engines. A new anti-smog law in California now forces manufacturers to cut harmful emissions by 40%. Briggs has opposed this move, since it would add between $40 to $50 to the…

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