In times of uncertainty, I always fall back on my tried-and-true
system for picking stocks. Over the decades of being in this
business, my Portfolio Grader never has let me down. Now with
stocks down seemingly every day, we need to focus on the best of
the best. If you want to make money in this market, owning my
"A"-rated stocks can help you navigate this difficult market.
The basics of my fundamental grading system focus on earnings
growth, sales growth, margins and buying pressure or quantitative
pressure. Growing companies are companies that are healthy and
thriving. They have smart leaders who know how to run and manage a
smart business. If a company is struggling to sell its products or
is spending more than it makes, it's not a company you want to own
Buying pressure deals with market dynamics. It is the measure of
money that is buying or selling a stock. The more money that floods
into a stock, the more momentum a stock has to rise. Given that
owning a stock that goes up is good, these stocks on the move give
us the best chance to make money in the market.
Even during this recent sell-off, there are stocks that can and
do move significantly higher. Case in point: Green Mountain Coffee.
That fast-growing company with a rapidly appreciating stock jumped
more than 30% last week after reporting earnings results that blew
away even the most optimistic Wall Street estimates. Other examples
include Apple and Google.
As I look at my Portfolio Grader today, there are three
bulletproof blue-chip stocks that merit our attention. All three
stocks received the desired "A" grade in both fundamental and
quantitative measures. You can buy these three stocks with comfort,
knowing my system has a proven track record of picking winners.
Here are more details on these three bulletproof blue chips:
), a British technology blue chip, provides telecom services across
the globe. The company has been one of the rare shining stars in
the messy debt crisis in Europe. Shares of the company are up a
solid 13% this year at a time when the market is flat. The
appreciation is not of the crazy, nosebleed valuation kind. It is
steady and reliable, and it can be bought today at reasonable
Given the explosion of personal handheld computing devices or
smartphones, BT Group has plenty of room to grow further. The
average Wall Street estimate is for the company to make a profit of
$3.64 per share in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2012. In the
following year, that number increases by 6% to $3.87 per share. At
current prices, investors can buy this growing blue-chip stock for
nine times current year estimates.
In addition to the cheap valuation, investors get paid to watch
this stock grow. The company pays a dividend yield of nearly 5%.
The ingredients are in place for investors to make money in this
bulletproof blue-chip stock. The Portfolio Grader rates the company
Casinos are thought to be recession-proof. This current economic
malaise has had more of a negative impact on casino stocks thanks
to the transformation of Las Vegas into a destination resort city
instead of a gambling-only city. As a result, the name of the game
is hotel occupancy - in addition to the rake from gambling.
), it has a big bet on Chinese gambling site Macau. Combined, Wynn
Resorts is growing and thriving.
Shares of Wynn are up an impressive 43% so far in 2011. Those
gains were fueled by operating performance that has exceeded
expectations. In the most recent reported quarter ending June 30,
Wynn posted a profit of $1.60 per share. That whipped analyst
estimates of $1.04 per share. For the current year ending Dec. 31,
the profit estimate is $5.39, growing 16% to $6.27 in the following
Investors can buy that growth for 28 times current-year
estimated earnings. That premium is not excessive given Wynn's
potential. On Monday, it was reported that gambling revenue in
Macau increased by 48% in July. It has been my experience that Wall
Street misses the mark on quickly growing stocks like Wynn. I would
buy shares of this bulletproof blue chip with an "A" grade from my
Discover Financial Services
Consumer spending might be anemic, but the credit card business
shouldn't miss a beat. The slower spending did not impact
) in any material way. The company reported results Wednesday that
beat expectations. The credit chief said it made $4.76 per share
vs. an average estimate of $4.23 per share. That big beat sent
shares soaring by more than 13% on a day when stocks were quite
volatile and only finished fractionally higher.
The news bodes well for bulletproof blue-chip stock
Discover Financial Services
). The company that offers credit and payment services primarily in
the United States has adapted well to the new economic realities.
According to Mastercard, debit spending is on the rise. While
consumer spending might be falling, the use of plastic is alive and
well. Discover is up 34% this year, with more gains likely to come
when it reports results for the quarter ending this month.
Those gains have been fueled by four straight quarters of
impressive earnings results that beat Wall Street estimates by a
wide margin. Despite the stock gains and very strong profit
performance, shares of Discover trade for only seven times
current-year estimates. Portfolio Grader rates Discover an "A."