In a turbulent market plagued by a litany of economic, financial and geopolitical uncertainties, how can investors protect their wealth but also stay in the game?
By sticking to famous, brand name companies that make products people need.
One attractively priced company to consider is Goodyear Tire & Rubber (GT - Get Report) , which posted record full-year profits in 2015, despite several headwinds that have humbled other blue-chip manufacturers. Goodyear is one of the best defensive growth plays.
Goodyear is scheduled to report first-quarter earnings next Wednesday.
So far this earnings season, traders have been quick to buy or sell according to earnings scorecards. That is why investors should buy Goodyear ahead of what is projected to be yet another stellar earnings report.
For Goodyear's forthcoming operational results, the consensus quarterly forecast is for earnings of 71 a share, compared with 54 cents a year earlier. For full-year 2016, earnings are expected to come in at $3.94 a share, compared with $3.32 in 2015.
Goodyear offers growth with safety, even in this roller coaster market. One major reason is that the company makes products found in almost every home or garage.
The pervasiveness and consumer engagement of Goodyear's products holds the company in good stead during good or bad times. Or in "mixed bag" environments such as this one.
With a market capitalization of $8.63 billion, Goodyear is synonymous around the world for rubber products, especially vehicle tires. And the company's promotional blimp has become a permanent part of the cultural lexicon.
Founded in 1898, Goodyear manufactures tires for cars, commercial trucks, sport utility vehicles, airplanes, farm equipment and heavy earth-moving machinery. In North America, Goodyear tires are outfitted on more new vehicles than any competing brand.
The company also enjoys good relations with its labor unions, which keeps pressure off profits. Over the past year, while the S&P 500 has declined slightly, Goodyear's stock has risen 16.40%.
Despite flagging economies overseas, Goodyear reported strong results for 2015. Earnings came in at $307 million, a year-over-year increase of 38%.
The company delivered record segment operating income growth, even though it faces substantial foreign-currency and global economic headwinds that have plagued other U.S.-based manufacturers.
Goodyear posted 18% year-over-year growth in full-year segment operating income, exceeding $2 billion for the first time in the company's history. Management set a target of 10% to 15% growth in segment operating income for 2016.
The boost in segment operating income was largely driven by cost reduction programs that are now bearing fruit, as well as Goodyear's flexibility in charging higher prices for its branded products.
These strengths bode well for the company.
If Goodyear can boost profits in challenging overseas economic conditions in the face of a strong dollar, then it has set the table for outsize growth as national economies accelerate in the second half this year. In particular, economic stimulus this year in the eurozone, courtesy of the European Central Bank, should boost the company's sales.
Another positive catalyst for Goodyear is the improving fortunes of its major customers, such as Ford Motor and General Motors, which are enjoying resurgent auto and truck sales this year.
With a trailing 12-month price-to-sales ratio of just 0.52, Goodyear is reasonably priced, compared with the TTM P/S ratio of 0.68 for its peers in the rubber and plastics segment.
Goodyear's stock trades at about $32. The median one-year analyst price target is $36, and it is $40 on the high end, which would represent a gain of nearly 24%.
In a broader market that many analysts say will be lucky to break even this year, Goodyear's projected gain is a fast but safe ride.
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