Going for Global Growth
04/19/2010 1:00 pm EST
Since we left the market bottom in our rearview mirror in March 2009, you can't deny the momentum that has developed in economies the world over. This is the primary reason that we're "going global" with so many of our stocks. All you need to do is look at the recent trends in manufacturing around the world—one of the most important measures of growth.
In the end, the low interest rate policy at the [Federal Reserve], coupled with a weak dollar, a strong earnings environment, a tremendous amount of cash earnings from equities, and next-to-zero returns for money market funds translates—I believe—to the US stock market bringing us excellent long-term returns in the coming years.
In the more immediate term, there's booming growth to capture abroad. Remember that a weaker dollar boosts the earnings of multinational companies. And this is precisely why we have been adding these stocks to our balanced portfolio of stocks over the last several months. In fact, our new Buy for this month is a global company fighting disease worldwide.
Switzerland-based Novartis AG (NYSE: NVS) combats illnesses on four fronts:
2. Vaccines and diagnostics
3. Generic drugs, and
4. Consumer health.
The company's pharmaceuticals division develops and manufactures prescription drugs to treat a wide spectrum of ailments. Its vaccine and diagnostics division manufactures vaccines and blood-screening tools. Novartis's generics subsidiary, Sandoz, produces generic drugs, as well as active pharmaceutical ingredients.
The company's consumer health unit includes over-the-counter medications, including Benefiber, Excedrin, and Theraflu, along with CIBA Vision's contact lenses and eye care products. The company also has an animal health companion unit and agricultural animal care products.In the fourth quarter, Novartis's earnings rose 53.3% to $2.3 billion, or $1.26 per share, compared with $1.5 billion in the same quarter in 2008. During the same period, the company's sales rose 28% to $12.93 billion. Novartis' pharmaceutical sales grew a healthy 21% to $7.8 billion, and its sales in its vaccines and diagnostic division surged 182% to $1.4 billion, thanks in part to sales of the H1N1 flu vaccine.
The analyst community had estimated earnings of $1.19 per share and sales of $11.95 billion, so Novartis posted a 5.9% earnings surprise and a whopping 8.2% sales surprise! For the first quarter, the analyst community is estimating 21% annual sales growth and 44.8% annual earnings growth.
So, the next time you reach for that bottle of Excedrin to combat one of springtime's allergy headaches, remember to add some shares of this conservative stock to your Blue Chip Growth portfolio. The “buy below” price for Novartis is $57. (It closed above $53 Friday—Editor.)