A couple days ago, I told you that I thought the recent market rout had presented some real buying opportunities for the type of blue-chip "forever" stocks StreetAuthority Co-founder Paul Tracy preaches about to his Top 10 Stocks readers. During my research, I found 20 such potential long-term buys.
I've already gone through the first five, and here is round two...
2002 sales: $7.2 Billion
2011 sales (est.): $16 billion
Eaton will be celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2016, and over the years, has built an impressive array of businesses. The company is one of the leading suppliers of power distribution components, hydraulic systems, auto drivetrains, manifold systems and more. It can be a cyclical business (sales fell 23% in 2009) but rose every other year in the past decade. More importantly, Eaton has always been profitable, typically earnings $2 to $ 3 a share.
Business is especially good right now, thanks to an expansion into emerging markets, setting the stage for EPS of $4 this year and perhaps $4.50 in 2012. Reflecting the company's impressive growth, Eaton's stock ran from $20 in 2000 to $30 to 2005 to a recent $56 this spring, but a recent plunge has pushed it all the way down to $33 -- or just eight times projected 2011 profits.
7. FedEx (NYSE: FDX)
Fiscal (May) 2002 sales: $22.5 billion
Fiscal 2011 sales: $39.3 billion
Much of the package delivery firm's growth came in the first half of the last decade, as sales had already reached $38 billion by fiscal 2008. You'd have to go back to fiscal 2006 to find peak profits, when EPS hit $6.48. This may explain why shares slipped from $110 in 2007 to $100 this past spring. And then the market storm blew in. Shares are now below $70, back where they were in 2004, when FedEx's revenue base was 35% smaller than it is now. It's hard to spot upside for this stock while the global economy slows down. This is a great long-term holding that has just had a "30% off" sign slapped on it.
8. Gilead Sciences (Nasdaq: GILD)
2002 sales: $467 million
2011 sales (est.): $8.4 billion
Gilead was a leading biotech in the fight against HIV, posting tremendous annual growth in sales and profits. Sales grew at least 26% every year during the last decade. Yet expectations of an eventual slowdown in growth led this stock to peak at $55 in 2008. Now, it sits below $40. Sure enough, sales growth cooled to 13% in 2010, and will likely be in the single-digits this year and next. The fact that this formerly hot biotech trades for just nine times projected 2012 profits tells you it's more of a value stock than growth stock these days.
But analysts think Gilead's era of go-go growth is not permanently over. They cite a very robust pipeline of cardio-pulmonary drugs that should fuel more robust sales growth in 2013 and beyond. Meanwhile, the HIV franchise still has plenty of life left in it as key drugs get tweaked to boost efficacy. That's why analysts think EPS can grow from $4.50 in 2012 to $5.25 in 2013 (making this $38 stock look like quite the bargain). Analysts at Needham have a price target of $48 on this once-and-future biotech highflyer.
9. Hasbro (NYSE: HAS)
2002 sales: $2.8 billion
2011 sales (est.): $4.7 billion
This toy and games maker hasn't come up with a lot of new characters and board games recently. But it's done a remarkable job of finding additional spin-off ideas and ancillary revenue streams for its core properties. As a result, per share profits are likely to hit a record $3 this year and could exceed $3.50 next year. Investors were increasingly bullish on the company's prospects, pushing shares up toward the $50 mark last fall, but they can now be had for around $35.
As this chart shows, this stock has been marked by gains and setbacks, but the long-term trend is higher. The current setback may just be a pause before the next upward move.
[You can read Adam Fischbaum's latest analysis on Hasbro here.]
10. Illinois Toolworks (NYSE: ITW)
2002 sales: $9.5 billion
2011 sales (est.): $17.9 billion
This is a similar play to Eaton. Illinois Toolworks provides a range of industrial components and equipment used by other manufacturers. Like Eaton, Illinois Toolworks is seeing great success with a push into emerging markets, helping sales rise in the low teens this year while the U.S. and European industrial markets have hit a temporary flat spot. Like Eaton, this is also a company that has never lost money in the past decade. The bottom-line should also have your attention: Illinois Toolworks earned $3 a share last year, but should earn around $3.75 this year, which would be a company record.
Risks to Consider: As is the case with many blue-chip stocks, this could be a "dead money" portfolio until the market finally regains its footing. Eaton and Illinois Toolworks likely have the greatest economic risk, and would see a large reduction in forward earnings estimates if the global economy fell into a prolonged slump. Gilead Sciences and Hasbro likely carry the least earnings risk.
Action to Take --> These are part of a group of 20 solid companies that possess solid long-term track records. There's no reason to suspect these companies won't flourish in the decades to come as well. And as I said in my previous article, many of these stocks are sitting at levels that represent compelling entry points for new investors.