Personal Finance

3 Big Brand Stocks to Buy in January

Brand Names Ideas Inspiration Getty

Warren Buffett loves to find companies with "economic moats," or those sustainable competitive advantages a business possesses that allows it to generate high profits while discouraging the competition. One of those unassailable market barriers is the creation of a brand name that consumers associate with quality, durability, and resiliency.

Brand Names Ideas Inspiration Getty

Brand names light a path for consumers that signifies strength, reliability, and quality. Investors can profit when they find big brand names offered at a discount.

When you can also find a brand that exhibits a discounted or even reasonable entry price, investors ought to take notice. We assembled a panel of three top Motley Fool contributors and asked each to highlight a favorite big-brand company with a stock worth buying in January. Here's why McCormick (NYSE: MCK) , Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG) , and Tyson Foods (NYSE: TSN) made the list.

Spice up your portfolio's returns

Brian Feroldi (McCormick): McCormick has grown into a big brand company by dominating the spice market for more than 125 years. In fact, the odds are quite good that you currently have at least one of the company's products in your kitchen right now.

Being the top dog in the spice market offers investors several advantages that should lead to long-term growth. First off, while tastes vary greatly by region, the spices themselves offer universal appeal. As consumers grow wealthier, so too will their demand for better-tasting food. That plays right into McCormick's playbook as its products can be found in more than 140 countries and territories around the world.

Spices Mccormick Mck Getty

Image source: Getty Images.

Second, McCormick should benefit from the trend toward eating out. The company counts all of the top 10 foodservice restaurant chains as customers, as well as nine of the top 10 food and beverage companies. That positions the company well to benefit from their continued growth.

Finally, McCormick's products are recession-resistant, which provides the company with great economics even during times of distress. That has allowed the company to increase its dividend for 30 consecutive years, which is a feat very few other companies can claim.

In total, McCormick is a big-brand company that investors can learn to love. With shares down more than 13% from their recent high, I think right now is a great time to consider becoming a shareholder.

Stick with boring at a reasonable price

Brian Stoffel (Procter & Gamble): Often times, you'll hear investors in high-flying companies talk about buying growth at a reasonable price (GARP). That's certainly a valid investment style, but one that probably doesn't receive as much attention is BARP -- boring at a reasonable price.

OK, so maybe that acronym is my own creation, but it's hard to beat boring. Boring means a company's revenue and earnings are largely predictable, and that there's no history of major surprises -- be they beneficial or adverse. That's why I think investors are getting a pretty solid deal on big brand names like Gillette, Old Spice, Tide, and Pampers by buying shares of Procter & Gamble.

Protein Beef Chicken Poultry Pork Getty

Image source: Getty Images.

Tyson is one of the world's leading food companies that not only is diversified across the various proteins of beef, poultry, and pork, but also diversified across channels of distribution, mealtime day parts, and meal occasions, while holding either the No. 1 or 2 spot in a baker's dozen of brands. With a strong balance sheet and an ability to produce strong free cash flows, Tyson Foods can overcome the headwinds it's currently facing.

It suffered from changes in demand that it did not respond to quickly enough and was beset by higher input costs, such as higher prices for soybean meal that narrowed margins. And though beef prices have eased significantly from their recent record highs, it's still a costly meat that has sapped consumption. Moreover, it was those high prices that had consumers turning to poultry that formed the basis for the price-fixing charges leveled against it and other poultry processors like Sanderson Farms and Pilgrim's Pride .

According to a bevy of purported class action lawsuits, the processors colluded to manipulate the supply of poultry in the market, thereby keeping prices elevated above what competition should have had them at. The suits are based on a research report published by an analyst, which Tyson contends contains speculative conclusions and factual errors, and it plans on defending itself against the charges.

Tyson announced in early December the formation of a $150 million venture capital fund to invest in high-tech products and services, including alternative proteins and elimination of food waste, and it previously took a 5% stake in fake meat specialist Beyond Meat.

Trading at 14 times earnings and 12 times next year's estimates, Tyson Foods is giving investors a big discount as the stock goes for just a fraction of its sales and earnings growth rate. Its enterprise value also trades at 14 times the free cash flow it generates, which, while not bargain-basement territory, is cheap nonetheless. An investment in Tyson now could make for a great start to the new year.

10 stocks we like better than Tyson Foods

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*Stock Advisor returns as of Nov. 7, 2016.

Brian Feroldi has no position in any stocks mentioned. Brian Stoffel has no position in any stocks mentioned. Rich Duprey has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends McKesson. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days . We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy .

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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