OK, I have to admit this is getting pretty fun. If you have followed at all, then you may have seen my previous two articles on diversification and why it is important. Just to recap, diversification is important. With that said, I offer you yet another three stocks for a diversified portfolio.
I suppose the great unknown when it comes to health-care reform legislation has a lot of investors spooked, and rightfully so. However, I see this as the prime opportunity to consider Becton, Dickinson and Company (NYSE: BDX ) for a spot in the portfolio. Becton, in simplest terms, is a medical technology company. However they are a very diverse medical technology company, which can go a long way in the mayhem that is health care reform. Becton has three distinct segments: medical, diagnostics and biosciences, which all contribute healthily to the bottom line. Products range from injection systems and labware to surgical products and everywhere in between. And a lot of these are products are one and done disposables, so customers have to keep coming back for more.
While Becton does go against much bigger competitors such as Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT ) , health care is a huge market and there is plenty of room. With offices in close to 50 countries around the world, the company truly has a global presence and is sure to benefit from growing populations and advances in health care technology. Perhaps most compelling is the amount of cash that Becton is able to generate. Over the past five years alone they have brought in an average of about $880 million in free cash flow on an annual basis, and they use some of that cash to pay out a nice little 2.2% dividend. Plus, the stock has a history of returning value to shareholders through share repurchases. Priced at about 12.4 times trailing free cash flow, Becton, Dickinson and Company could be the large cap remedy for a volatile market.
Let's call this pick my shout-out to my daughters Hannah and Ainsley, for I may not have even thought about Mattel (Nasdaq: MAT ) as an investment were it not for them. Whether your kids are 2 or 12, chances are they are they are playing with several Mattel toys all the way through their childhood. Mattel boasts such iconic brands as Barbie, Disney Classics, and Hot Wheels, just to name a few. In addition, Mattel also includes the ubiquitous childhood brand Fisher-Price which gives the company additional exposure to popular names such as Dora the Explorer, Go Diego Go!, and Sesame Street. Add Toy Story into the mix and I think you get it: The company has a knack for knowing what kids want and what parents want for their kids.
As the company continues to grow and diversify its portfolio of brands, it faces heavy competition from companies such as Hasbro (NYSE: HAS ) , but Mattel has proven it can hold its own. The company boasts a clean balance sheet with only $165 million in net debt, which it can more than easily cover with its more than $800 million in free cash flow, and rakes in almost 50% of gross sales from its international segments. With the stock currently trading at a low EV/EBITDA multiple of 7.2 and offering a 3.5% yield to boot, Mattel looks like a nice shiny new toy to add to your portfolio.
What exactly is the Baltic Dry Index and how can it affect you? Unless you have an interest in a company like Diana Shipping (NYSE: DSX ) , you probably wouldn't pay much attention to it, that's for sure. But from an investing standpoint, the "BDI" is an index often used to gauge the cost of transporting raw materials (metals, grains, coal) by sea. Now while the BDI is significantly off of its highs from mid-2008, calmer seas may be ahead if the global economy continues to heal and demand for these raw materials starts to pick up, and Diana Shipping could be a prime beneficiary. The company has 22 vessels that they use to ship cargo all over the globe. Make no mistake, shipping is a cyclical business for sure and when the global economy sputters Diana Shipping is affected. Paying attention to indices such as the BDI can definitely give us an idea of where things stand and where they are going.
Other shippers like fellow Greek DryShips (Nasdaq: DRYS ) have also witnessed pressure with the global recession, so it hasn't been something unique to Diana. But I like Diana's balance sheet position with only $24 million in net debt, and the company can produce some cash flow when demand comes back around (and I am confident it will). The company is trading right now at its tangible book value, which is historically low, so this may be a good time to consider loading up on a few shares.
I would be remiss if I failed to mention that, of course these are ideas meant for further research and not formal recommendations. Nevertheless, I submit a medical supply giant, a toy company (sweet!), and a global shipping operation all for your consideration. Yet another three ways to realize your destiny with diversity.
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