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Whole Foods Market: A New Year's Resolution

Analysts have a consensus one-year target price of just under $105. With the price currently above $91 there appears to be some worthwhile upside potential, but please consider using a stealth trailing-stop-loss system to protect both your gains and your downside risk.

The company will report its earnings from the final quarter of 2012 on Feb. 4. Traders may want to buy some shares now and watch WFM up to Feb. 4. If we have some days where the market sells off and the shares trade down to $90 or below you might consider accumulating then.

WFM is a growth story. Its dividend yield is currently below 1% representing a payout ratio of only 22%. With nearly $920 million in operating cash flow and levered free cash flow (TTM) of around $393 million, it wouldn't be a stretch for the company to double its dividend and still be cash-strong.

In 2013, many of us resolve to own best-in-class, fiscally sound standout companies like Whole Foods Market. We want companies with proactive yet careful management, little if any debt, with an eye for new frontiers and accretive opportunities. Again, WFM fits that description.

Often controversial co-founder and co-CEO John Mackey believes in the future of the company so much that he owns almost 817,000 shares representing a current valuation of nearly $75 million! Yet he and the other officers aren't buying at these share price levels, although no big selling is going on either.

Keep a hopeful eye on WFM and its stock. Be patient, waiting for a price that represents both a P/E and a PEG ratio that helps you feel you're getting in at a reasonable cost. In the meantime, get to know how they make money and how they'll continue to sustain and grow the company's cash flow and bottom-line earnings.

What a healthy way to anticipate both a prosperous and nutritious year ahead.

At the time of publication the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned in this article.
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