While many investors don't realize it, McDonald's is actually part restaurant chain and part REIT -- the firm owns much of the land underneath franchised store locations, generating bigger royalty streams from each location than rival quick service restaurant chains. A 3.4% dividend yield completes the picture for McDonald's financial health. The combination of cash generation, shareholder returns, and a discounted share price makes this consumer stock a good choice for 2013. Keep an eye on fourth quarter earnings slated for January 23.
Procter & Gamble
Another blue chip giant is personal care product maker Procter & Gamble (PG - Get Report), the $187 billion firm behind household name brands such as Tide, Charmin and Cover Girl. Procter's size guarantees that the firm has no shortage of eyes on it -- that's why it may come as such a surprise that shares are trading at a big discount to the rest of the household products industry right now; as I write, Procter sports a 23% discount to P/E versus the rest of the industry.
Procter's brand portfolio is mammoth. In all, the firm lays claim to 25 individual brands that bring home more than $1 billion in annual revenues, providing impressive diversification on its income statement. As with McDonald's, P&G's massive scale presents some challenges, so the firm is focusing on cutting costs here at home while it introduces new products to consumers in emerging markets. The former should help to expand P&G's already stout margins while keeping the top line widening on the income statement too.The balance sheet over at P&G is everything you'd expect from a firm this big. While there is considerable leverage at play -- around $32 billion worth -- a hefty cash position and ample cash generation abilities help to ensure that P&G continues to earn excellent ratings (and borrowing costs) for its credit. Procter is another dividend name, with a 3.3% dividend yield at current price levels. Even though Procter's discount isn't huge, with earnings slated for January 25, more eyes will be coming onto this big stock very soon. Clorox Household product peer Clorox (CLX - Get Report) is another stock that's looking discounted compared to the rest of the industry. Even though Clorox isn't even close to P&G's scale, the $10 billion firm is hardly a small player in the personal and household goods category -- the firm owns a stable of brands that includes Glad, Hidden Valley and Brita, in addition to the firm's household-name bleach products. Even so, Clorox currently trades for nearly a 30% P/E discount, and a 15% relative discount on cash flows.