We want our sports teams to dominate their leagues, and our fourth graders to dominate their spelling bees. Why shouldn’t we want dominators among our stock picks and in our portfolios? Companies that grow to dominate their industry are generally great investments, especially if you catch them on their way up.
One way to ferret out world dominators and promising stock picks is to study lists of the top brands in the world. The folks at WPP and Millward Brown put out a ranking of global brands by brand value each year, and for 2013, the top three brands belonged, in order, to Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), and International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM). It’s not news that those are global dominators, and actually, most of the names among their top 100 are familiar. Interestingly, though, while the top brands didn’t change position much between 2012 and 2013, some names did jump ahead quite a bit. That suggests companies growing in brand power, which often translates to pricing power and hefty profit margins, things one likes to see in stock picks. Below are three companies on the list seeing big improvement:
Visa Inc (NYSE:V) saw its global brand value surge 46%, to $56 billion. The company is extremely global, operating in more than 200 nations, and it’s poised to profit as more and more people and businesses shift from cash transactions to electronic ones. Its presence in emerging markets is also a good thing to see among stock picks, as such economies are growing rapidly — and for Visa Inc (NYSE:V), that means more people beginning to use plastic for purchases. Meanwhile, our recovering economy is leading to an uptick in credit payments. The fast-growing company’s forward P/E is 21, well below its five-year average of 41. Visa Inc (NYSE:V) is far bigger than its rivals, although Mastercard Inc (NYSE:MA) is doing particularly well globally.