Keep It Simple with Global Blue Chips

While many investors dabble in commodities and currencies, Joe Rosenberg, chief investment strategist of the Loews conglomerate, says to focus on large-cap U.S. multi-national stocks.

Rosenberg tells Fortune that he looks for companies that are financially sound, showing rising profits, and selling inexpensively relative to profits and free cash flow. Among the specific criteria he uses:

  • Market cap: Greater than $10 billion
  • Earnings growth (before interest and taxes) in past five years: Greater than 5%
  • Avg. return on capital over past five years: Greater than 12%
  • Free cash flow yield: At least 6%

Fortune’s Allan Sloan says of Rosenberg’s approach, “the underlying idea is simple, as good ideas typically are. It’s this: Steadily rising profits offer some protection against inflation. Doing business in local currencies in foreign countries reduces your exposure to the U.S. dollar. Finally, owning stocks of large, growing, soundly capitalized companies generating surplus cash and selling at reasonable prices gives you a chance to make real money in the future. Large-cap stocks have been out of favor relative to small- and medium-cap stocks, which as a class have been trading at near-record levels. Someday that will change.”

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