Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM), The Southern Company (SO), Emerson Electric Co. (EMR): Don’t Be Afraid, Go Direct

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The deep market sell offs after the tech and housing bubbles have left a generation of investors with a changed view of the stock market. While a little fear isn’t a bad thing, it is important to keep investing. For those who want to stay away from the stock market, direct stock purchase plans are a good way to buy into great companies without getting involved with Wall Street.

Going Direct

Most investors have a brokerage account through which they buy and sell stock. There is, however, another option. Forget brokers and buy stock directly from companies themselves. Large, financially stable companies like Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM), The Southern Company (NYSE:SO), and Emerson Electric Co. (NYSE:EMR) offer low cost plans that allow you to completely avoid Wall Street.

Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM

Big Oil

Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) is a household name that probably has a gas station in your town. While the company’s Exxon, Mobil, and Esso brands are its public face, it does everything from drill for oil to refine oil into chemicals and other products to, yes, pumping gas into cars.

The biggest draw here is Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM)’s long history of rewarding investors via dividend increases. Although the yield isn’t exciting at around 2.8%, combined with regular increases, it should be high enough to interest growth and income investors. Note, however, that the top and bottom lines can vary greatly from year to year because of the commodity nature of Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM)’s business.

Despite that volatility, however, it is one of the most financially strong companies in the world. It has relatively little debt and ended the first quarter with around $6 billion in cash. Investors can buy in for as little as $250 and make regular investments of $25 or more with virtually no fees.

Industrial Giant

Emerson Electric Co. (NYSE:EMR) is an industrial giant. It has five business units; Process Management, Industrial Automation, Network Power, Climate Technologies, and Commercial and Residential Solutions. Emerson’s business is so large and varied that it serves customers from individuals (i.e., waste disposal units) to governments (i.e., wind power generators).

Emerson Electric Co. (NYSE:EMR)’s dividend has been increased for more than 50 years. Like Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM), its shares recently yielded around 2.8%, so growth and income investors should take a look. That’s particularly true because of the company’s exposure to emerging markets.

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