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5 Blue-Chip Stock Buys to Beat the S&P

Sigma-Aldrich

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Chemical manufacturer Sigma-Aldrich (SIAL) is one of the biggest names supplying chemicals and consumable products to scientific laboratories across the world. From pharmaceutical and biotech labs to academic labs to R&D testbeds, SIAL boasts more than 100,000 accounts.

Short sellers are piling into the stock right now. A short interest ratio of 12.3 means that it would take two and a half weeks of buying pressure for short sellers to cover their positions right now.

Sigma has built an attractive business selling chemicals and research materials. Because the firm's products are typically a tiny fraction of research budgets, the folks signing the checks on those 100,000 accounts tend to be less concerned with price than quality. As a result, Sigma earns large net profit margins on its sales, dumping close to 20% of each dollar in revenues straight to the bottom line.

Investors should also like the fact that only a third of Sigma's sales come from the U.S. With more and more research facilities opening up abroad, Sigma's ability to capture sales in key emerging markets is critical to its ability to grow.

Sigma-Aldrich boasts a cash position that almost completely offsets its debt load right now, attractive positioning that gives SIAL the wherewithal to continue pushing its distribution network into emerging markets where science spending is a priority. Investors should keep an eye on this stock's Oct. 23 earnings call.

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