In the 1990s, no stock contributed more to the earnings per share growth rate of the S&P 500 than Wal-Mart stock. It had been an elevator upward delivering 16% annual earnings per share growth throughout the decade, fresh on the heels of delivering 31.5% annual growth between 1972 and 1990. From 2000 through 2012, the party continued, as Wal-Mart grew earnings per share from $1.40 per share in 2000 to $5.02 in 2012. Although the best gains came to Wal-Mart’s early investors, participating in the growth of the business between 1972 and 2012 had been a blessing for any investor that chose to buy Wal-Mart outright instead of investing in something like an index fund.
Visa and Mastercard are distinctly different from other credit card companies like American Express and Discover Card. When you swipe something on your Visa or Mastercard, you are not actually using cards issued by Visa or Mastercard. The card itself is issued by a bank or financial institution somewhere, and the Visa and Mastercard brands represent networks that the issuing card joins. Anytime you make a purchase, the merchant has to pay a fee to the issuing bank by the end of the day, and the financial institutions have to share this fee with Visa and Mastercard.
Somehow, this site developed a strong Canadian audience. There are as many Canadian readers here as readers from the state of Georgia, which is a little perplexing to me because I can at least understand why people from Atlanta end up here—practically every investor there owns some Coca-Cola, and I have enough posts on that to bring ‘em in through the search engines. But I don’t know that much about Canadian stocks and the international rules regarding taxation, although I appreciate the country’s underappreciated banking history that does not get nearly the amount of global acclaim that it deserves.
It is historically unusual for Royal Dutch Shell to yield over 6%. This is a company with a very long history of having a fair value that also corresponds to a dividend yield between 5% and 6%. Given how well the American stock market has performed over the past six years, it can be wise to take a look at any large company that appears to be offering a discount.
Royal Dutch Shell does $360 billion in sales per year. Hershey, which I covered yesterday, is worth $15 billion in its entirety. To get a feel for how large Royal Dutch Shell is, you could convert the amount of crude oil and natural gas that Royal Dutch Shell sells annually to the ability to buy the entire Hershey business 24x over. It is, without a doubt, massive.
One of my favorite speeches of Charlie Munger, which Warren Buffett co-opted when he spoke at Florida University, was the story of how to turn $40 into $5 million. It was a story about Coca-Cola stock, and the conditions that can lead to super large financial rewards based on modest financial investments. The premise is this—you need a product that is super cheap to make and possesses enough brand equity that people will buy it deliberately on a regular basis.
Even before I encountered this story, I knew that the beverage industry has been a very lucrative place to make money if you want to make an initial investment and then grow richer in the coming years without having to do anything. Diageo, Anheuser Busch, and Brown Forman all have long records of growing profits per share and dividend payouts that are significantly higher each decade than the previous.