Jeez, we've seen some good quarters this week. I know the gloom is thick over the markets and individual stocks, sadly, seem to have become anathema to individuals, but let's just go over what we saw this week that took center stage once oil rallied -- as Crazy Town as that is -- we stopped focusing on China and got past the Fed's ill-advised hawkish moves.
First, this Facebook (FB) quarter was a thing to behold. Here's a company that is making a fortune off you and you love it. The adoption of the Facebook family of products -- the core franchise, Instagram, Messaging and WhatsApp -- is spectacular. The company makes more money off your free content than anyone dreamed and the advertisers are just beginning to recognize how positive this medium is to advertise on. I think the stock's still cheap even after this remarkable run.
How about Honeywell (HON) and United Technologies (UTX)? While neither company has the organic growth that General Electric (GE) has, you have to be pretty darned impressed by what both companies were able to do this quarter. United Technologies under Greg Hayes is a changed company. I loved it when he said the best investment his company can make is in its own stock. Honeywell hasn't even started integrating its new metering acquisition, Elster, yet. Both can go higher. (General Electric is part of TheStreet's Dividend Stock Advisor portfolio.)
How about 3M (MMM)? CEO Inge Thulin was not going to let that strong dollar get in the way of his company's growth. 3M's consumer business is on fire with some terrific additions to the company's product lines, once again causing it to grow when others falter.
I have been waiting for Alex Gorsky to get Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) to accelerate its lagging medical device business and in one fell swoop he did just that, bucking the entire anti-health-care move. The stock's gone up but it can go higher given the outstanding growth that division's showing even as I feel terribly for the 3,000 people who had to be let go to restructure that division. JNJ's back and its doing fabulously.
Last week, everyone was freaking out about credit cards because of that hideous American Express (AXP) number. But we saw amazing numbers -- again -- from MasterCard (MA) and Visa (V) and now we also added terrific earnings from PayPal (PYPL). It's very clear they are taking it to American Express and are all just much better run companies. Who wants to go against Ajay Banga, Charlie Scharf or Dan Schulman, respectively, three monster-good CEOs? (Facebook and PayPal are part of TheStreet's Action Alerts PLUS portfolio. MasterCard is part of the Trifecta Stocks portfolio.)
I know, there is a bias against fast food among many of you, but what Steve Easterbrook is doing at McDonald's (MCD) is nothing short of amazing. By simplifying the menu, which minimizes mistakes, and by adding all-day breakfast with the incredibly popular Egg McMuffin, the man has transformed this seemingly moribund institution and given it mid-single-digit comparable-store sales that would have been unthinkable just a year ago, two months before he took the helm.
Procter & Gamble (PG) dazzled despite a strong dollar and I was blown away by the margin improvement and organic growth. Neither this one nor McDonald's is done going higher.
Finally, I need you to do the deep dive on the transformation of Microsoft (MSFT) under Satya Nadella. Sometimes I have to wonder, is this guy for real? Has he really been able to make Microsoft a leader in the cloud?
The answer is yes, absolutely. Nadella has done the unthinkable: He's given Microsoft game. I bet there are kids right now in this country using Microsoft software at schools that actually think it is cool. Why not? Xbox is the most powerful hardware force in gaming. Nadella's doing great things.
Like all the others here, Microsoft's not done going higher either. All of these have made big moves this week. I am confident that we will have some down days next week. All of these are go-to names. File them away. And, yes, to each CEO I say, congratulations, gentlemen, on a good quarter and thanks for all you do!