Booking Holdings had a strong quarter that helped lift its stock slightly, according to its late Wednesday report.
The company announced that for its first quarter, it brought in earnings of $607.2 million, or $12.34 per share, which was a considerable improvement from its year-ago earnings of $456 million, or $9.11 per share.
On an adjusted basis, Booking Holdings amassed earnings of $590 million, or $12 per share, ahead of its year-ago adjusted earnings of $494 million, or $9.88 per share. The Wall Street consensus estimate projected adjusted earnings of $10.70 per share, according to data compiled by FactSet.
The company also raked in revenue of $2.93 billion during its first quarter of fiscal 2018, improving upon the $2.34 billion it tallied up in the year-ago quarter. Analysts were calling for Booking Holdings to garner revenue of $2.87 billion in their outlook, per FactSet.
Net bookings were up to $25 billion, a 21% increase year-over-year and beating the Wall Street projection of $24.5 billion. For its second quarter, the company sees adjusted earnings as being in the range of $16.35 to $17 per share, while the FactSet guidance predicts second-quarter adjusted profit of $16.78 per share.
BKNG stock was up a fraction of a percentage after the bell yesterday.
Top Blue Chip Stocks To Buy Right Now: Sherwin-Williams Company (SHW)
Sherwin-Williams Co (NYSE:SHW) has sold paint and coatings now for 152 years. That’s a pretty impressive record. But it’s a bit unusual to see a paint company in a list of top growth stocks. Usually it’s some cloud storage firm or a breakout online retailer.
However SHW, by its size and reputation, has not only endured but it has positioned itself on top of the coatings heap. It grew from annual sales of $400,000 in 1866 to annual sales topping $15 billion last year, coming from over 100 countries around the world.
Its size, scope and quality is one reason hardware giant Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (NYSE:LOW) just inked a deal to be the only nationwide home seller to offer SHW products. This is even more exciting given the housing demand that is growing and the interest in homeowners to fixing up their current houses.
Top Blue Chip Stocks To Buy Right Now: Dominion Resources, Inc.(D)
Dominion Energy is one of the largest utilities in the United States. Its businesses include generating electricity, transmitting electricity, and natural gas transmission and delivery. These are largely regulated businesses in which the company gets a monopoly in exchange for regulators setting the prices it can charge — practically guaranteeing positive economic returns. The rest of its assets are mostly fee-based and under long-term contracts. It’s a stable business built around products we simply can’t live without.
The company has an investment-grade credit rating of BBB+ and has increased its dividend every year for 15 consecutive years. The yield is around 5%, more than twice what you would get from an S&P 500 Index fund today. However, the beta, a measure of relative volatility, is just 0.30. That suggests Dominion’s stock is 70% less volatile than the broader market.
That said, Dominion is in the middle of an acquisition, as it attempts to buy a smaller utility that’s struggling financially. With or without the deal, it expects to grow earnings by 6% to 8% per year through 2020, backed by capital spending of as much as $4.2 billion per year. And the dividend is projected to expand at 10% per year, handily outpacing the historical rate of inflation growth, and thus protecting your buying power over time. Investor concerns about the acquisition have created a buying opportunity for this low-risk, high-yield utility.
Top Blue Chip Stocks To Buy Right Now: Toronto Dominion Bank (TD)
I own a few bank stocks in my portfolio, but I’ve referred to Toronto-Dominion Bank as my favorite. The Canada-based bank, which is the sixth-largest bank in North America, has a massive presence north of the border, a large and growing U.S. consumer banking operation, and a 40% stake in popular online brokerage TD Ameritrade.
Like most big Canadian banks, TD has a great track record of responsible risk management and growth. This is why TD made it through the financial crisis largely unscathed, relative to its U.S. peer group, and never had to cut its dividend, which it has paid since 1857.
TD’s earnings have grown by 17% over the past year, and thanks to rising interest rates, there should be much more room to grow. Plus, TD has one of the highest credit ratings in the banking industry and has been named "Safest Bank in North America," by Global Finance magazine.
Perhaps my favorite thing about TD Bank is its growth potential, which I consider to be the best among the big North American banks. While TD likely has limited room to grow in Canada, keep in mind that the bank has lots of untapped potential in the U.S., currently mostly on the East Coast.
TD has done an excellent job of growing, both organically and through acquisitions, and I don’t see this changing anytime soon. The bottom line is that TD Bank is an excellent combination of great risk management, rising dividends, and growth potential.
Top Blue Chip Stocks To Buy Right Now: DSW Inc.(DSW)
DSW Inc. (NYSE:DSW) is yet another retailer on this list and, like BKE, is trading near a 52-week high. The case here looks stronger — though I argued back in March that I wasn’t entirely sold.
A strong balance sheet, 14x earnings multiple, and 4% dividend yield all look nice. But FL looks like a better play in footwear — and it’s cheaper too.
That said, this isn’t a bad stock and DSW is grinding out some growth. As Luke Lango has pointed out, catalysts should be on the way in 2018.
It’s possible that DSW’s discount model will perform more like a Ross Stores, Inc.(NASDAQ:ROST) or a TJX Companies Inc (NYSE:TJX) than a mall play like Foot Locker or Finish Line. If that indeed is the case, my current caution will look foolish down the line.