Olympic-Sized Investments

 | Feb 11, 2014 | 6:30 PM EST  | Comments
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For a couple of weeks the world's eyes are turned to Sochi, Russia, while the Olympic Winter Games are going on. Anyone who has watched the competitions on television, even for a short time, knows the games are supported by a large contingent of corporate sponsors.

At the top of the sponsor food chain are the so-called Worldwide Olympic Partners -- companies so large and well-known that they present not bronze, not silver, but solid-gold investment opportunities. I know this because I screened these companies via my automated strategies to see if any came in first, and several did. The companies I write about in this column earned first-place finishes among these strategies, which are modeled on the investment philosophies of towering Wall Street investors such as Peter Lynch, Warren Buffett and Benjamin Graham, to name a few.

Consumer products giant Procter & Gamble (PG) is one Olympic sponsor judged to be in the lead. A strategy I created based on the writings of James P. O'Shaughnessy finds P&G a crowd pleaser for its huge $210 billion market cap, strong cash flow per share of $5.10, 2.9 billion shares outstanding, and massive trailing 12 month sales of $85 billion. This strategy takes all the companies that swish past the aforementioned financial moguls and picks the top 50 based on dividend yield. With a 3.1% yield, P&G is among the 50 companies leading the pack.

Dow Chemical (DOW), one of the world's largest chemicals and materials companies with a customer base in approximately 180 countries, is another Olympic sponsor with backing from my O'Shaughnessy strategy. Dow's market cap is $55 billion, while its cash flow per share is $5.87 and it has 1.2 billion shares outstanding. Trailing 12 month sales total $57 billion. Dow joins P&G on the winner's podium with a dividend yield of 3.2%.

Visa (V) is one of the world's major credit-card companies and it has my Peter Lynch strategy in its cheering section. This strategy emphasizes PEG ratio (price-to-earnings relative to growth, a measure of how much the investor is paying for growth). The maximum PEG allowed is 1.0, and Visa's is well below this at 0.70. Its lack of debt is another big plus.

If investment opportunities had a podium for winners, these three companies would be standing at the top. Proven, solid performers that know their way around their respective playing fields and have records that prove they can stay in front for the entire race.

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