Johnson & Johnson is about as diversified as a healthcare firm can be. The firm's business includes everything from consumer products like Band-Aid brand bandages to pharmaceuticals and medical devices. While drugs makes up a large chunk of the firm's profits, the consumer and medical device segments offer investors diversification that few big pharma names can match -- especially as patent drop-offs plague valuations in the industry. JNJ has been pouring money into medical devices of late, most recently with the $19.7 billion Synthes acquisition that was completed this summer.
JNJ's combination of exposure to a growing industry (healthcare demographics in the U.S. lean in the firm's favor over the next few years), plenty of liquidity on its balance sheet, and recession resistant revenue sources makes this firm an attractive core holding for most investors. The 3.4% dividend yield that JNJ pays out doesn't hurt either. As short sellers get shaken out, this stock could see a pop in share price.
H.J. Heinz Company
Chances are you're familiar with
H.J. Heinz Company
-- the $18.6 billion food firm boasts brands that are nearly ubiquitous in Americans' pantries, most notably its namesake ketchup. Today, though, Heinz's product portfolio goes way beyond everyone's favorite condiment -- Heinz manufactures everything from soup and baby food to Ore-Ida frozen French fries.
Heinz has long had significant international exposure, but more lately the firm has been focusing its overseas sales in emerging market countries, which have ballooned in scale to make up around a quarter of total revenues. That's impressive exposure, particularly as burgeoning middle class diners spend more on prepared foods. Heinz is no slouch here at home, though. The firm has a massive foothold in the restaurant business, with those little ketchup packets at
and the bottles on the table at
contributing 15% of sales.
More normal financial markets bode well for Heinz, especially if it means that the dollar cracks its multi-year rally -- since HNZ generates around 66 cents overseas from every dollar it earns, a weak dollar is a boon to earnings. Meanwhile, short sellers have been making concerted bets against this stock; with a short ratio of 10.5, it would take more than two weeks for shorts to cover their positions at current levels. That makes HNZ a prime candidate for a short squeeze. Earnings later this month could be a prime catalyst.