They say you can't put a price on your reputation, but when it comes to a company's reputation -- or rather, its brand -- you can definitely affix a value.
Just ask the market researchers at Interbrand, who every year compile a list of the world's top brands and determine what they're worth. From Apple to Spanish fast-fashion leader Zara, the rise and fall of name recognition is charted. Amazon.com at No. 20, for example, made the second biggest jump up the list behind Apple, rising 46% in brand value. Research In Motion
Yet the rich values these brands carry don't necessarily apply to their stocks. Over the last six months Intel
Sources: FinViz.com, Interbrand.
So if brand has any importance in investing beyond taking up space on the goodwill line of a company's balance sheet, we might want to take notice. The market could be offering us huge discounts on some good, if not great, companies.
Take a look at Toyota, which enjoyed one of the largest increases in car sales of any manufacturer in September, ahead of Ford
Yet the stock is being hurt by reports of sales in China plummeting 40% because of the brouhaha developing between Japan and China. And it's clear it's due to where the cars originate from, because South Korea's Hyundai and Germany's BMW enjoyed higher sales, up 15% and 55%, respectively. Nissan was also hurt by the row.
In fact, if you look hard enough, many of the top brands are cheap these days. Caterpillar, Cisco, and Hewlett-Packard all look cheap based on estimates of future earnings. Even Microsoft, at just nine times forward earnings, seems to be trading at a reasonable price.
It's said that value is where you find it. In today's market, you don't need to look any further than the tag on the collar of your shirt, the medallion on your car, or the logo on your computer to find a good stock to put your money down on.
Looking under rocks
Although Intel is having a rough go of it these days, it is one of many important partners that will play a part in determining the success or failure of Windows 8, which is Microsoft's big shot at reinvigorating the PC market. Read up on the chip maker's biggest opportunities ahead of it, including Windows 8, in the Fool's new premium report. Click here to get started.
Fool contributor Rich Duprey owns shares of Cisco Systems, Intel, General Electric, and Apple, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Click here to see his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Intel, Ford Motor, Google, McDonald's, Amazon.com, Microsoft, Cisco Systems, Coca-Cola, International Business Machines, and Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Intel, McDonald's, Coca-Cola, General Motors, Amazon.com, Google, Ford Motor, and Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a synthetic covered call position in Microsoft, a bull call spread position in Apple, and a synthetic long position in Ford Motor and International Business Machines. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.