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Merrill Lynch Loves These 4 Buy-Rated Blue Chip Dividend Sector Leaders

In an expensive market there is one good path for investors to follow: stick with the companies that have upside earnings potential, and stay with sector leaders that have shown over the years the ability to stay relevant. Despite the current continued enthusiasm for the stock market, part of which remains in place because of still historically low interest rates, the market is pricey and stock picking is now more important than ever.

A series of new research reports from Merrill Lynch focus on four top companies, all from different sectors, that look like good portfolio additions for growth investors for the second half of 2017. All are rated Buy at Merrill Lynch.


After years of lousy earnings growth, this large cap leader is hitting on all cylinders. Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) is the largest manufacturer/marketer of construction equipment worldwide, and it is also a leading manufacturer of diesel engines and turbines for transport and industrial applications.

The Merrill Lynch team sees big room for the earnings estimates to go higher, and they raised their 2017 and 2018 earnings estimates 5%, which is 12% higher than the current Wall Street estimates. They also note that the company’s largest public dealers are reporting strong orders.

Shareholders are paid a solid 2.96% dividend. The Merrill Lynch price objective is $120, and the Wall Street consensus...