When it comes to Comcast's upside potential, the three most important factors are: network, network, and network. Comcast's cables span 40 states and Washington, D.C., reach that gives Comcast significant advantages over its rivals. Because cable has significant bandwidth, Comcast has been able to ramp up its offerings without having to lay new cable -- compare that to Verizon's (VZ) FiOS program, which has spent mountains of cash to lay fiber optic cable to every house it serves. That makes the breakeven time a whole lot shorter for Comcast, and it gives the firm more leeway in its pricing.
The decision to buy the controlling stake in NBCUniversal should pay off for Comcast. It gives the firm a tighter integration between content creation and distribution that should help to boost margins and increase promotional opportunities for new films and shows. A big pile of cash on Comcast's balance sheet helped to finance the deal, and the firm's liquidity continues to look attractive, even if debt did increase in the process. That's why a boost to Comcast's 16.25-cent quarterly dividend looks likely.
Currently, Comcast pays a 1.73% yield.
Coca-ColaCoca-Cola (KO) is another name that looks likely to announce a dividend hike in the next quarter. Right now, the world's biggest beverage company pays out a 25.5-cent quarterly dividend, giving Coke a 2.73% yield at current price levels. But a portfolio of brands that includes Coca-Cola, Sprite, Fanta, and Dasani should help to pay for a raise for investors. For Coke, scale matters. As the biggest nonalcoholic beverage company in the world, the company's distribution network reaches more than 200 countries, as well as a market share that gives Coke claim to around 3% of all the drinks served every day worldwide. As burgeoning middle class populations in emerging market countries start upping their consumption of soft drinks and bottled water, Coke should continue to see impressive growth abroad. At home, innovations like the Freestyle fountain machine should help wring some growth out of markets that have remained stagnant. Frankly, there isn't much that's "fun" about pouring a fountain drink, but the touch-screen Freestyle changes that with more than a hundred customizable drink options. As the machine becomes more ubiquitous, it should give Coke a big edge in the food service market -- and it will provide Coke's marketing team with customer favorites that it can put on store shelves. I'm looking for a dividend hike in the next quarter for Coke.
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