Nike Delivers Outstanding First Quarter Results as Revenue Surges 17%

Nike

(NKE) - Get Report

, the world's largest athletic footwear and apparel company, reported robust sales and orders growth, despite the current global economic slowdown.

The company's revenues rose 17% to $5.4 billion in the quarter. Gross profit margins rose to 47.2% of sales in the quarter from 44.8% a year earlier.

Outside of the U.S., the company did even better as revenue rose 20% in Europe, and 36% in Asia -- partly helped by the currency exchange rates.

We were so impressed with the company's ability to deliver a quarterly report of this magnitude in this current economic environment, that we added them to our "Recommended" list this morning. The company has a 1.55% dividend yield, based on last night's closing stock price of $59.27.

Nike Inc. is a "Recommended" dividend stock, currently holding a Dividend.com rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Paychex Revenue Continues to Grow, Reports In-Line Earnings

Payroll services provider

Paychex

(PAYX) - Get Report

reported a first-quarter in-line EPS number on sales that climbed 5% to $534.1 million.

The company cited client base growth, price increases, and growth in the utilization of ancillary services for its consistent performance. The growth was generated primarily from the following: comprehensive human resource outsourcing services client employees increased 17% to 446,000 client employees served; workers' compensation insurance client base increased 15% to 74,000 clients; retirement services client base increased 9% to 49,000 clients.

We have been recommending shares of the stock since early June, and the stock is actually down $1 since then. We find its 3.84% dividend yield and steady business very attractive. We would continue to hold shares here.

Paychex is a "Recommended" dividend stock, currently holding a Dividend.com rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Discover's Profits Decline amid Worsening Credit Market

Discover Financial Services'

(DFS) - Get Report

third quarter profit decline reflected a big increase in monies allocated for loan losses, as the company set aside money for loans that may go sour amid deteriorating credit market conditions.

On a positive note, the company's revenues did rise 8% to $1.25 billion, helped by the company's third-party payments business. The unit processes ATM, debit transactions, and other banks' cards.

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The company's charge-off rate, which is the amount of loans written off as unpaid, jumped to 5.28% from 5.05% in the second quarter, up from 3.67% a year ago.

We will be watching shares of DFS closely, as we think any sign of an economic turn increases the chance that a prospective buyer of the company might come knocking. We'll keep everyone posted as to any potential ratings changes. The company has a 1.58% dividend yield, based on last night's closing stock price of $15.22.

Discover Financial Services is not a recommended dividend stock at this time, holding a Dividend.com Rating of 3.3 out of 5 stars.

McCormick & Co. Beats Earnings Estimates

McCormick & Co.

(MKC) - Get Report

, the leading manufacturer of spices, seasoning, flavorings, and specialty food products in the country, beat EPS estimates today by two cents.

The company's revenue grew 9% to $781.6 million, helped by volume growth and price increases. The company saw a double-digit increase in sales of its consumer products, which included results from its recent acquisitions of the Lawry's business and Billy Bee honey.

The company raised its guidance by a penny per share to a range of $2.04 to $2.08 per share.

We have not recommended the shares of MKC since our June coverage began. We do like the consistency of the company's earnings, but would like to see the stock show more signs of trying to break out of the tight range it has been in. The share price is essentially unchanged since June. The company currently has a 2.29% dividend yield, based on last night's closing stock price of $38.50.

McCormick & Co. is not recommended at this time, holding a Dividend.com Rating of 3.4 out of 5 stars.

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Pilgrim's Pride Faces Significant 4th Quarter Loss, Liquidity Concerns

Pilgrim's Pride

(PPC) - Get Report

is breaking under $5 today, as the poultry producer said it is trying to negotiate a temporary waiver with its bank to help avoid a cash crunch.

The company has had to deal with feed-ingredient expenses that have spiked $900 million over the past year. To combat the cost issues, PPC has closed plants, laid off 1,700 workers, and cut production. The company also raised $177 million in a stock offering.

We have avoided the shares of Pilgrim's Pride since our early June coverage began, and we became nervous about the poultry producers back in early July. We have also cautioned that investors avoid any stocks that break below $5 per share.

Pilgrim's Pride is not a recommended dividend stock at this time, holding a Dividend.com Rating of 2.3 out of 5 stars.

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At the time of publication, the author had no positions in stocks mentioned, although positions may change at any time.

Tom Reese and Paul Rubillo are senior editors of Dividend.com. Visit Dividend.com for more dividend stock ratings, picks, news, and analysis for long-term and income-seeking investors.