Here are the Companies We Love to Love

In Wednesday’s Afternoon Edition, we looked at some of the companies Americans love to hate.

Today, we are turning those frowns of frustration into smiles of love and admiration by looking at the companies we love to love.

More specifically, we are looking at the companies that America (and the rest of the world) has said it admires most.

This "admired" list is a feature at the Fortune website. It’s been a sort of a go-to guide for taking the pulse of positive corporate attitudes.

The Fortune list is compiled by its survey partners at the employment firm Korn Ferry Hay Group. Here’s how it arrives at its top "50 Most Admired Companies" list:

Korn Ferry Hay Group asked 4,000 executives, directors, and securities analysts who had responded to the industry surveys to select the 10 companies they admired most. They chose from a list made up of the companies that ranked in the top 25% in last year’s surveys, plus those that finished in the top 20% of their industry. Anyone could vote for any company in any industry.

So, who topped the list of the most-admired (or most-loved) companies in 2016?

Apple (AAPL)

The cult of Apple has always been strong, as the company’s loyal followers tend to buy just about everything the Cupertino giant brings to market. The admiration for the way Apple does business, and for its mission of democratizing technology, has earned it the top spot on the Fortune list.

Alphabet (GOOGL)

Speaking of love and hate, I do love Google the search product, although I don’t know anyone who doesn’t hate the name "Alphabet." Still, if you need to find something out about the world, Google is the best place to start. That service alone earns Google my love.

Amazon.com (AMZN)

Need a last-minute gift, groceries, a hygiene product or a book delivered to you in a day (sometimes even the same day)? Then you know where to go … you go to Amazon.com.

AMZN is up 8.5% in 2017. Shares gained 1.8% today on news that the company will add 100,000 U.S. jobs over the next 18 months.

The online seller of everything is one of the greatest corporate innovations in history. Its revolutionary nature has changed the way we shop forever — which is why so many of us love and admire Amazon.

Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-B)

The brainchild of investing genius and philanthropist Warren Buffett has a reputation for making money with good, solid investments in things people need, and trends people understand. That’s in part Buffett’s own philosophy, which he couches in a homespun, avuncular way that resonates with so many around the globe.

Walt Disney (DIS)

We all grew up with Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Snow White and Cinderella, so loving Disney is almost ingrained in our DNA. Yet the company continues to put out great, new content via movie franchises like "Star Wars." Add to that the joy of its theme parks, and you get a recipe for love and admiration other companies can only wish upon a star for.

Other firms that round out the top 10 admired list include …

  Starbucks (SBUX)

  Southwest Airlines (LUV)

  FedEx (FDX)

  Nike (NKE)

  General Electric (GE)

My Cash Flow Kings newsletter subscribers can attest to the strength of several of these stocks, including Nike and Apple, which are current positions. In Apple, we are tracking open gains of 77.2%!

For us, our biggest factor in deciding whether to delve into, or dump, a stock depends on cash flow. Having a strong brand, stellar management team, thriving product pipeline and … yes … happy customers are also big factors when we are deciding what — and when — to buy.

And not only do we make timely recommendations in Cash Flow Kings of the stocks we love, we also share a monthly list of stocks to stay far away from. Our customers have told us to keep this information coming. And if getting these kinds of recommendations sounds like something you’d be interested in, click here to join us today.

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Taking a quick look back at yesterday’s list of companies folks "love to hate," we received some pretty passionate feedback. Even from those who "love to love" them!

From the "not feeling the love" camp, Joe G. writes …

Sears is definitely at the top of the list. Followed by BOA, followed by WFC, followed by Comcast. There is no customer service from any of these companies. They all desire to go out of business!

And Bob S. writes …

I was astonished at how many customer surveys Comcast operates on their website. Today I was having new service installed. Comcast, it turns out, does a horribly bad job of tracking edits to their customer service website. I was told to click a certain link and then look in the upper-right corner of that page, for the information I needed. I clicked it. There was nothing written in the upper-right corner. So I called customer service. Which takes 30 minutes. We DID eventually resolve the problem. But if a competing means of getting 72 MBPS Internet speeds, were available, I’d use it.

Offering up a few names that could also make the "no love" list, Tommr writes …

My current list of hated companies includes Century Link and UnitedHealth Group. Customer service is really bad. One can spend literally an hour or more on the phone with their customer service and never accomplish anything! They put you on hold for a long time. Give you the run around and even try to sell you something! I would not do any business with these companies, but I really have no choice!

However, two readers are still "lovin’" two of those names we talked about …

LH writes …

I’m not sure why McDonald’s is on your list. In our city the service is good, the food is consistent (and) prices are reasonable. I love their breakfasts. The rest of the list I agree with, especially Sears and Wells Fargo.

Hans writes …

Thanks. From a Canadian perspective, I don’t agree with your bashing McDonald’s and Wal-Mart. Please remember not everyone is rich. Here in Montreal you can buy a cheeseburger and small fries for less than 4 Dollars pretty good value for money. Also the Wal-Mart has a good Produce section. Always very fresh and at half the cost of my regular grocer.

Brad response: Thank you, everyone. You bring up some great points. Folks in smaller cities or less-urban areas may have limited choices in stores or restaurants to patronize. And even in bigger metropolitan areas, you still don’t get a lot of choices when it comes to your utilities. (And cable/internet is indeed a utility nowadays). The level of service provided certainly can vary by individual, site or even the day. Just like a good stock, they can have their "off" days, just as long as they can consistently deliver the results that customers and shareholders deserve.

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What’s your take on the top names on this list? Do you have your own most admired list? Are you in love with any companies? If so, please share it with me and your fellow Afternoon Edition readers. And, doing so is easy. All you have to do to share your thoughts is leave me a comment on our website or send me an e-mail.

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It was a solid seven-day run for the Nasdaq. Unfortunately, it ended yesterday as markets continued to digest Donald Trump’s Wednesday press conference. The broader markets closed lower, with the Nasdaq sliding 0.3%.

• The FTSE 100 continued its winning streak. The London index set another record high as it celebrated a 13th-straight day with gains.

• Amazon (AMZN) gained 1.8% after it announced plans to create more than 100,000 full-time jobs in the U.S. with full benefits in the next 18 months.

• JPMorgan (JPM) fell 1% despite issuing an optimistic forecast for fourth-quarter earnings, due out tomorrow. JPM’s trading revenue should be up 15%. JPM, like other bank stocks, has been rising under the expectation that many post-crisis financial regulations will be lifted during the new administration.

• China forecasts record crude demand: Net imports could rise 5.3% and consumption may hit a record 12 million barrels per day in 2017, according to China National Petroleum Corp. WTI crude surged 1.5% today.

• Gold hit a seven-week high: The yellow metal settled at $1,199.80 per troy ounce (+0.3%), after trading as high as $1,207 during Thursday’s session.

Good luck and happy investing,

Brad Hoppmann
Publisher
Uncommon Wisdom Daily