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Why You Might Swap Your Merck for Johnson & Johnson

In addition, "Second-quarter 2012 net earnings included after-tax special items of approximately $2.2 billion as shown in the accompanying reconciliation of non-GAAP financial measures. Excluding these special items, net earnings for the current quarter were $4.3 billion and diluted earnings per share were $1.48, representing increases of 17.7% and 13.8%, respectively, as compared to the same period in 2012."

Now let's look at an apples-to-apples comparison between JNJ and MRK. The following one-year chart includes the share prices and the trailing twelve month (TTM) revenue growth numbers. It won't be hard to tell who the clear winner is in both categories.

JNJ Chart JNJ data by YCharts

Consumer products account for 21% of JNJ's total sales, and this segment has continued to perform well since Johnson & Johnson acquired Pfizer's consumer division back in 2007.

My enthusiasm for JNJ also stems from its shareholder-friendly history. It has increased its dividend each year for a half a century, which is partly why it's been one of Warren Buffett's favorites.

Former Chairman and CEO William Weldon owns over 307,000 shares of JNJ as of Feb. 2013. The current JNJ chairman and CEO, Alex Gorsky, owns nearly 70,000 shares.

Many favor JNJ's strength and the diversification of its global businesses. It maintains a strong balance sheet, produces earnings surprises and has rock-solid management execution.

At the Friday close of $87.16, the stock is down almost 8% from recent highs so we have a chance to buy the best on sale. Agreeing with Link and Cramer that a target price of $94 is reasonable, I also favor buying any dips.

You might also consider a trailing stop loss alert system like TradeStops to track the performance of your JNJ shares, protect your profits and to limit your chances of unacceptable losses.

I've tested it and used it for years and I favor it as a stealth way to set trailing stop losses without the chance of being "picked off" by vigilant market-makers. It's also an effective way to keep our emotions out of the investing process.

Wishing you good fortune and best returns!

At the time of publication the author is long JNJ and PFE.

This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

Marc Courtenay is the founder and owner of Advanced Investor Technologies, LLC, as well as the publisher and editor of www.ChecktheMarkets.com.

Courtenay holds a Master's of Science degree in Psychology from California Polytechnic State University, and is a former senior vice-president of Investments for two major brokerage firms. He's been a fiercely independent investment "investigator" and a consulting contributor to the investment publishing world for over 30 years. In addition to his role as an investment publisher and analyst, he serves as a marketing consultant to the investment media industries.

In his role as a financial editor, he specializes in unique investment strategies, overlooked stock investments, energy and resource companies, precious metals, emerging growth companies, the prudent use of option strategies,real estate related opportunities,wealth preservation, money-saving offers, risk management, tax issues, as well as "the psychology of investing". Because of his training and background in Clinical Counseling and Psychology, he enjoys writing about investor behavior, the ┬┐herd mentality, how to turn investment mistakes into investment breakthroughs and the stock market's behavioral trends and patterns.


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