LONDON -- To me, capital growth and dividend income are equally important. Together, they provide the total return from any share investment and, as you might expect, my aim is to invest in companies that can beat the total return delivered by the wider market.
To put that aim into perspective, the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE ) has provided investors with a total return of around 3% per annum since January 2008.
Quality and value
If my investments are to outperform, I need to back companies that score well on several quality indicators, and buy at prices that offer decent value.
So this series aims to identify appealing FTSE 100 investment opportunities, and today I'm looking at�United Utilities Group� (LSE: UU ) , the regulated water and sewage utility company operating in North West England.
With the shares at 739 pence, United's market cap. is 5,036 million pounds.
This table summarises the firm's recent financial record:
Hot Value Companies To Watch In Right Now: Schlumberger N.V.(SLB)
Schlumberger Limited, together with its subsidiaries, supplies technology, integrated project management, and information solutions to the oil and gas exploration and production industries worldwide. The company?s Oilfield Services segment provides exploration and production services; wireline technology that offers open-hole and cased-hole services; supplies engineering support, directional-drilling, measurement-while-drilling, and logging-while-drilling services; and testing services. This segment also offers well services; supplies well completion services and equipment; artificial lift; data and consulting services; geo services; and information solutions, such as consulting, software, information management system, and IT infrastructure services that support oil and gas industry. Its WesternGeco segment provides reservoir imaging, monitoring, and development services; and operates data processing centers and multiclient seismic library. This segment also offers variou s services include 3D and time-lapse (4D) seismic surveys to multi-component surveys for delineating prospects and reservoir management. The company?s M-I SWACO segment supplies drilling fluid systems to improve drilling performance; fluid systems and specialty tools to optimize wellbore productivity; production technology solutions to maximize production rates; and environmental solutions that manages waste volumes generated in drilling and production operations. Its Smith Oilfield segment designs, manufactures, and markets drill bits and borehole enlargement tools; and supplies drilling tools and services, tubular, completion services, and other related downhole solutions. The company?s Distribution segment markets pipes, valves, and fittings, as well as mill, safety, and other maintenance products. This segment also provides warehouse management, vendor integration, and inventory management services. Schlumberger Limited was founded in 1927 and is based in Houston, Texas.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By David Smith]
As June came to an end, the company finalized a joint venture, OneSubsea, with Schlumberger (NYSE: SLB ) . The intriguing partnership -- in which Cameron has a 60% interest, with the remainder Schlumberger's -- will develop products, systems, and services for the subsea oil and gas market.
Hot Value Companies To Watch In Right Now: Caterpillar Inc.(CAT)
Caterpillar Inc. manufactures and sells construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines, and diesel-electric locomotives worldwide. It operates through three lines of businesses: Machinery, Engines, and Financial Products. The Machinery business offers construction, mining, and forestry machinery, including track and wheel tractors, track and wheel loaders, pipelayers, motor graders, wheel tractor-scrapers, track and wheel excavators, backhoe loaders, log skidders, log loaders, off-highway trucks, articulated trucks, paving products, skid steer loaders, underground mining equipment, tunnel boring equipment, and related parts. It also manufactures diesel-electric locomotives; and manufactures and services rail-related products and logistics services for other companies. The Engines business provides diesel, heavy fuel, and natural gas reciprocating engines for Caterpillar machinery, electric power generation systems, marine, petrol eum, construction, industrial, agricultural, and other applications. It offers industrial turbines and turbine-related services for oil and gas, and power generation applications. This business also remanufactures Caterpillar engines, machines, and engine components; and offers remanufacturing services for other companies. The Financial Products business provides retail and wholesale financing alternatives for Caterpillar machinery and engines, solar gas turbines, and other equipment and marine vessels, as well as offers loans and various forms of insurance to customers and dealers. It also offers financing for vehicles, power generation facilities, and marine vessels. The company markets its products directly, as well as through its distribution centers, dealers, and distributors. It was formerly known as Caterpillar Tractor Co. and changed its name to Caterpillar Inc. in 1986. Caterpillar Inc. was founded in 1925 and is headquartered in Peoria, Illinois.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Rich Duprey]
China's manufacturing sector is contracting at an alarming rate, and Caterpillar's (NYSE: CAT ) stock may not be able to surmount the obstacles the collapse is throwing in its path.
- [By Taylor Muckerman and Joel South]
On the heels of a better-than-expected release from Peabody Energy (NYSE: BTU ) and expectations from Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT ) that coal prices could rise somewhat in 2013, both businesses might be set to succeed in tandem. The price of natural gas has been climbing rapidly to start 2013, which should help coal regain some traction. And its East Coast export facility continues to provide access to the demanding European market. In the following video, Taylor Muckerman expects some positive news on Thursday and thinks you should, too.
- [By John Divine]
Lastly, Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT ) stock was one of just seven decliners in the index, losing 1.5% today. Nearly 5% of Caterpillar's float is being sold short, making it the second most loathed stock in the Dow. Talks between Caterpillar and the United Steelworkers Union broke off late yesterday, showing the extent of the differences between the two sides as the 800 workers try to negotiate new contracts.
- [By Anders Bylund]
Other anomalies include Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT ) falling 7% on slow investments in global infrastructure construction. Thanks to the CAT's large share price, this move dragged the Dow down by 47 points. For a sense of scale, that's more than the 40 points that Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO ) brought to the table -- with a huge 27% move to the upside. Cisco's long-term vision of dominance across the data center is finally coming together and the market is responding strongly. But like I said, this 27% jump makes less of a difference to the Dow than Caterpillar's much smaller 7% move.
Top 5 Casino Stocks To Own Right Now: Tupperware Corporation(TUP)
Tupperware Brands Corporation operates as a direct seller of various products across a range of brands and categories through an independent sales force. The company engages in the manufacture and sale of kitchen and home products, and beauty and personal care products. It offers preparation, storage, and serving solutions for the kitchen and home, as well as kitchen cookware and tools, children?s educational toys, microwave products, and gifts under the Tupperware brand name primarily in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, the Asia Pacific, and North America. The company provides beauty and personal care products, which include skin care products, cosmetics, bath and body care, toiletries, fragrances, nutritional products, apparel, and related products principally in Mexico, South Africa, the Philippines, Australia, and Uruguay. It offers beauty and personal care products under the Armand Dupree, Avroy Shlain, BeautiControl, Fuller, NaturCare, Nutrimetics, Nuvo, and Swissgar de brand names. The company sells its Tupperware products directly to distributors, directors, managers, and dealers; and beauty products primarily through consultants and directors. As of December 26, 2009, the Tupperware distribution system had approximately 1,800 distributors, 61,300 managers, and 1.3 million dealers; and the sales force representing the Beauty businesses approximately 1.1 million. The company was formerly known as Tupperware Corporation and changed its name to Tupperware Brands Corporation in December 2005. The company was founded in 1996 and is headquartered in Orlando, Florida.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Eric Volkman]
Tupperware Brands (NYSE: TUP ) is reaching into its corporate bowl for a fresh payout to shareholders. The company has declared a quarterly dividend of $0.62 per share. This will be paid on July 8 to stockholders of record as of June 19. That amount matches the firm's previous distribution, which was paid in early April. Prior to that, Tupperware Brands was rather less generous, handing out $0.36 per share.
- [By Dan Caplinger]
Where growth will come from
One area that Newell Rubbermaid still has to tap fully is emerging markets. The company has done a good job of expanding overseas, with 17% annual growth in Latin America. But with barely a quarter of its sales coming from outside the U.S. and Canada, the company has a lot further to go. Storage rival Tupperware (NYSE: TUP ) gets fully 60% of its total revenue from emerging markets, and it too has seen impressive gains in South America as well as the Asia-Pacific region.
Hot Value Companies To Watch In Right Now: Dollar Tree Inc.(DLTR)
Dollar Tree, Inc. operates discount variety stores in the United States and Canada. Its stores offer merchandise primarily at the fixed price of $1.00. The company operates its stores under the names of Dollar Tree, Deal$, Dollar Tree Deal$, Dollar Giant, and Dollar Bills. Its stores offer consumable merchandise, including candy and food, and health and beauty care, as well as household consumables, such as paper, plastics, household chemicals, in select stores, and frozen and refrigerated food; variety merchandise, which includes toys, durable housewares, gifts, party goods, greeting cards, softlines, and other items; and seasonal goods, such as Easter, Halloween, and Christmas merchandise. As of April 30, 2011, it operated 4,089 stores in 48 states and the District of Columbia, as well as 88 stores in Canada. The company was founded in 1986 and is based in Chesapeake, Virginia.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Demitrios Kalogeropoulos]
Costly market share gains
The problem is that Family Dollar has had to pay up for its increasing market share and sales levels. The company's gross profit margin fell by more than a full percentage point, to 34.7% last quarter. In contrast, Dollar Tree (NASDAQ: DLTR ) booked an expansion of profits, to 35.2%, continuing a trend that's seen it pull away from Family Dollar.
- [By Terri Stridsberg]
Dollar Tree (DLTR), has had a banner 2013, gaining 45.3% year-to-date, and tagging a new record high of $59.68. Nevertheless, short interest skyrocketed by close to 398% over the most recent reporting period, and now accounts for a healthy 6.7% of the equity's available float.