In this Motley Fool Money podcast segment, host Chris Hill asks Million Dollar Portfolio's Jason Moser and Matt Argersinger, and Total Income's Ron Gross to tell us about the companies they have their eyes on this week, and why: pest-control giant Rollins (NYSE:ROL), home-improvement retailer Home Depot (NYSE:HD), and wireline telecom Frontier Communications (OTC:FTR).
A full transcript follows the video.
This video was recorded on Aug. 11, 2017.
Chris Hill: Let's get to the stocks on our radar this week. We'll bring in our man Steve Broido from the other side of the glass to hit you with a question. Ron Gross, you're up first. What are you looking at?
Ron Gross: I'm going to go back to Rollins, ROL, which is a pest and termite control company. Most people probably know some of their brands -- Orkin, Western. They're really rolling up the industry, making many, many acquisitions of smaller companies. Really impressive, steady performer. Has increased revenue and earnings for 45 consecutive quarters. More than 80% of sales are recurring. They're raised their dividend every year for the past 15 years. Return on equity is greater than 30%. Really strong company. Stock isn't dirt cheap, but you're paying a little bit of a premium for a solid company.
Hill: Forty-five straight quarters?
Gross: Not too shabby, huh?
Steve Broido: Ron, have you ever hired a pest company, and for what if so?
Gross: We actually have an annual contract. We had it with Western, then Western was purchased by Rollins. I think now, somehow, we've switched to Orkin, which is also owned by Rollins.
Broido: What's going on at your house, Ron?
Gross: [laughs] You have to keep things tidy. My wife's a Realtor. She's always thinking about--
Broido: Are you talking about raccoons? Skunks? What do we got?
Gross: No, just little vermin.
Hill: Jason Moser, what are you looking at this week?
Jason Moser: More along the lines of the retail discussion, taking a look at Home Depot, ticker is HD. Earnings hit next Tuesday. We have this on the watch list in MDP. Given the state of retail today, it seems like you're either doing well or you're planning your own funeral. And certainly Home Depot is in the former. They reiterated sales guidance for the year in last quarter's call, actually boosted earnings guidance a little bit on some cost efficiencies there. The neat thing is, weather doesn't really come into play for these guys. If it's raining? That's OK; they've got what you need. If it's snowing? Hey, they've got what you need. And if it's sunny? Get out in the garden and plant some azaleas. Just a lot of different ways for Home Depot to perform well. And it has, they're growing earnings at an annualized pace of 20% over the last five years, which would explain the multiple, but this is a very good business.
Hill: Steve Broido?
Broido: If you were betting on their HDX sub-brand, which is their branded products -- they have their own brand of Home Depot stuff; a scrub brush, you can buy that -- would you double down there? Or would you steer clear, if you're Home Depot?
Moser: I don't know that I would double down on it. But I do think they see that as another opportunity to bring a, perhaps, better price point to their customers. We see Amazon doing the same thing with Amazon Basics. So all in all, I applaud that move.
Hill: And we've seen that forever with Costco and Kirkland, and how they offer the Kirkland brand, but they're not going to let it get too big.
Gross: Exactly. It's quality stuff, though.
Hill: Matt Argersinger?
Matt Argersinger: I'm short Frontier Communications, ticker FTR, and I think everyone should be. It's a regional wireline phone company that actually makes most of its money from DSL, which is rapidly becoming obsolete. They lost $900 million in the last 12 months; they have $18 billion in debt. The Better Business Bureau has given FTR a customer service rating of "F." They just did a 15-to-1 reverse split -- never a good sign. I give the company less than two years before they're bankrupt. So, short FTR.
Hill: Fifty-to-1 reverse stock?!
Hill: That's still not good. Steve Broido, question about Frontier?
Broido: Is there any way they could regain your trust and love?
Hill: Frontier Communications, Home Depot, Rollins. Three pretty interesting choices there, Steve. Do you want to go rogue and add a short to your watchlist?
Broido: No. I would go Home Depot, because I think you're absolutely right. I've said this before, but I've never gone there without spending over $100. You just walk in and cash flies out of your wallet. It's impossible. You just need stuff and it's there.
Hill: Did Ron's stock pick kind of freak you out a little bit?
Broido: I'm not going to his house for dinner.