Top picks 2013: Oracle
This stock scores well on models based on strategies of Warren Buffett and Peter Lynch.
By John Reese, Validea Hot List Newsletter
Oracle (ORCL), my top conservative stock for 2013, has a couple of nice macroeconomic trends behind it.
One is that the tech world is becoming increasingly cloud-focused, and Oracle offers a myriad of cloud-related products and services. Another is that in a slow-growth economy, businesses are looking to do more with less, and Oracle's offerings are designed to increase efficiency and lower costs.
Perhaps more importantly, the firm's fundamentals are excellent. Oracle has upped earnings per share in each year of the past decade (and is on pace to do so again in 2012).
This is one reason it gets very high marks from the "Guru Strategy" that I base on the approach of another Oracle -- the "Oracle of Omaha", Warren Buffett.
My Buffett-based model also likes that Oracle could, if need be, pay off its $18.5 billion in long-term debt in less than two years given its $10.3 billion in annual earnings.
And it likes Oracle's 24.9% ten-year average return on equity -- a sign of the "durable competitive advantage" Buffett likes to see in his buys.
My Peter Lynch-based approach also has strong interest in Oracle. The firm's 19.1% earnings per share growth rate (I use an average of the three-, four-, and five-year EPS growth rates to determine a long-term rate) and high sales make it a "stalwart" according to the Lynch approach -- the kind of large, steady firm that Lynch found offered protection during tough times.
Lynch famously used the P/E-to-Growth ratio to find bargain-priced stocks, and when we divide Oracle's 15.9% price/earnings ratio by the sum of its long-term growth rate and dividend yield, we get a very solid yield-adjusted PEG of 0.8.
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While the former looks to expand its snack and soda exposure, the latter struggles to stabilize management.
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