Johnson & Johnson Johnson & Johnson shares are down 1.72% year to date. Lazorishak considered Johnson & Johnson another "safe play" that didn't have a lot of growth prospects. The consumer goods and pharmaceutical company announced on Feb. 21 that Alex Gorsky will become CEO on April 26. Gorsky, the company's executive committee vice chairman, is replacing Bill Weldon, who is retiring. "The move comes a touch earlier than we expected, but JNJ has typically made these announcements in conjunction with the annual shareholders' meeting, and Mr. Gorsky has been one of two well known internal leaders being groomed to potentially succeed Mr. Weldon for over a year," Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts wrote in a Feb. 21 report. "The other internal candidate -- Sheri S. McCoy -- will continue on as Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee and will continue to lead JNJ's Pharma and Consumer Groups. From a stock picking perspective we view this move as more or less expected. The transition should be smooth and we would not expect any significant change in strategic direction for JNJ." Johnson & Johnson's forward annual dividend yield is 3.5%. Johnson & Johnson shares hit a 52-week high on July 7 of $68.05. The stock's 52-week low of $57.50 was set on March 16. Johnson & Johnson has a forward P/E of 11.85; the average for pharmaceutical companies is 20.51. For comparison, both Eli Lilly ( LLY) and Watson Pharmaceuticals ( WPI) have lower forward P/Es of 10.65 and 9.5 respectively. Sixteen of the 29 analysts who cover Johnson & Johnson rated it buy; 13 analysts gave the stock a hold rating. TheStreet Ratings gives Johnson & Johnson a B grade with a buy rating and $75.19 price target. The stock closed Monday at $64.45.
Coca-Cola Coca-Cola shares have dropped 1.63% year to date. This stock is another defensive play, Lazorishak noted. The soft drink company reported on Feb. 7 fourth-quarter earnings of $1.6 billion, or 72 cents a share, which fell from year-ago earnings of $5.8 billion, or $2.46 a share. Of the company's recent presentation at the Consumer Analyst Group New York conference, Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts wrote in a Feb. 22 report, "CFO Gary Fayard highlighted the company's marketing investments (over the last two years, KO has invested ~$11bn in direct marketing, or $17bn including bottling partners) and strategy for its Bottling investment group (expects to be a net seller of bottling assets over the next 3-5 years)." Coca-Cola has a forward annual dividend yield of 3%. Shares of Coca-Cola hit a 52-week high on Sept. 8 of $71.77. The stock's 52-week low of $61.29 was reached on March 16. Coca-Cola has a forward P/E of 15.37; the average for soft drink companies is 29.69. Both Pepsico ( PEP) and Dr. Pepper Snapple Group ( DPS) have lower forward P/Es of 14.28 and 12.16, respectively. Nineteen of the 23 analysts covering Coca-Cola rated it buy; four analysts gave the stock a hold rating. TheStreet Ratings gives Coca-Cola an A grade with a buy rating and $79.90 price target. The stock closed Monday at $68.83.