Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

3 Stocks You Don't Realize You Use Every Day

By Brent Nyitray, CFA – Jun 23, 2020 at 12:30PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

These companies operate in the background.

Some of the biggest companies in the U.S. are largely unknown to the public. While the following products or services pervade daily life, the corporate entities behind them are not well known, at least outside the investor community.

Here are three names that you have almost certainly used in the past day or two. 

Bull and bear on a financial newspaper

Image source: Getty Images.

Mobile data usage still has room to grow

If you used your cellphone today, you probably connected via a signal from American Tower (AMT -5.17%). American Tower is one of the largest real estate investment trusts (REITs) in the world that leases out cell towers to carriers, and it has benefitted from increased mobile data usage. 

The average U.S. smartphone user consumed about 9 gigabytes per month in 2019, up 450% from five years ago. The company quoted an industry study on its earnings conference call that forecast that same user will consume 45 gigabytes per month five years from now, as 5G usage increases. American Tower generally has longer-term leases with its tenants, which include automatic pricing escalators.

The stock is trading at 34 times 2019 funds from operations (FFO) per share, so it is on the pricier side, at least for an REIT. The company trades at a 1.7% dividend yield, so at least there is some income for investors. 5G stocks are hot at the moment, and American Tower is up 16% year to date. 

Connecting banks and merchants

If you used a credit or debit card recently, you may well have been a user of Fidelity National Information Services (FIS -2.45%) technology, which acts as the financial plumbing for banks and merchants. Fidelity's systems allow merchants to accept electronic payments, either at the point of sale (like a store) or online.

The company purchased Worldpay in 2019, and recently rolled out Open Banking Hub, which allows instant payments from a customer's bank account without needing to share account details with a third party. Essentially, the Open Banking Hub routes the customer to the bank's online app to complete the order. The customer can also check the account balance as well, which is an added benefit.

Fidelity National Information Services held up better in the March–April timeframe than most of the other financial stocks and is flat year to date. The stock is trading at 25 times expected 2020 earnings and has a 1% dividend yield. 

A historic name that has changed its focus

If you enjoyed a can of beer over the weekend, or perhaps used some aerosol product in an aluminum can, the container was probably made by Ball Corp (BALL -1.96%). The company has been around about 140 years, and was best known for the Ball mason jars that people used to preserve fruits and vegetables before refrigerators were common. Ball is no longer in the mason jar business, having sold those operations in the 1990s. It now focuses on aluminum cans and aerospace.

Aluminum beverage containers drive the business for the most part. The company is launching "infinitely recyclable" aluminum cups to replace plastic and paper, in response to consumer demand for a more sustainable solution. Ball is trading at 26 times expected 2020 earnings and is up 11% so far year to date. 

Sometimes the biggest names are largely invisible to the consumer. These companies operate in the background, they generally don't advertise on TV, and they don't have brand recognition. That said, you have probably used their products and services over the past day or two. 

Brent Nyitray, CFA has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends American Tower. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

American Tower Corporation Stock Quote
American Tower Corporation
AMT
$203.07 (-5.17%) $-11.07
Ball Corp Stock Quote
Ball Corp
BALL
$49.94 (-1.96%) $-1.00
Fidelity National Information Services Stock Quote
Fidelity National Information Services
FIS
$77.65 (-2.45%) $-1.95

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
339%
 
S&P 500 Returns
109%

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 10/06/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.