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First up is
KO). Coke is the biggest non-alcoholic beverage company in the world, selling around 3% of all of the beverages served globally every single day. That's enormous scale any way you slice it. As things start heating up this summer, so too should Coke's sales numbers. The firms brands include the obvious marques -- such as Coke and Diet Coke -- as well as less obvious names such as Sprite, Dasani and Poweraid.
Coke's network is one of its biggest assets. The firm has distribution in more than 200 countries, giving the firm efficient reach that's nearly impossible to replicate. And it shows: Coke earns 70% of its sales outside of the U.S., diversification that few blue-chips can even boast. As the firm continues courting consumers in emerging markets, it should be able to materially grow its sales over the next several years -- no small feat for a firm that moved $48 billion worth of drinks in 2012.
There's no question that Coke is a defensive name; the firm's product is recession-resistant, it pays a 2.65% dividend yield, and it sports a solid balance sheet. But with quality leading in performance in 2013, that's panned out to stellar 16.5% performance year-to-date. Investors can expect that performance to keep rolling.