StreetWise: 12 companies to spur investment ideas

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Never before has there been such great anticipation for my list of 12 companies, whose only goal is to stimulate your research resourcefulness.

Biogen Idec (BIIB) -- Tecfidera, its oral multiple sclerosis drug has already managed to exceed expectations. Current outlook is for 2013 sales to total $830 million, with annual sales exceeding $5 billion by 2019.

Gilead (GILD) -- No drug approved this year has the expectations of Sovaldi, Gilead's treatment for hepatitis C. Although annual sales are not expected to hit their peak until 2018, two weeks of available data has indicated Q4 sales of $98 million, exceeding forecasts of $73 million plus.

AbbVie (ABBV) -- A research-based biopharmaceutical company spun off from Abbott Labs. Its product portfolio includes a range of adult and pediatric pharmaceuticals, including biologic therapy Humira for autoimmune diseases, Synthroid for hypothyroidism, and AndroGel, a testosterone replacement therapy.

Abbott Labs (ABT) -- Engages in the development, manufacture and sale of a large smorgasbord of health care products to retailers, wholesalers, hospitals, health care facilities, laboratories, physicians' offices and government agencies.

Aflac (AFL) -- Aflac is the country's largest provider of supplemental insurance. The company has a strong balance sheet, good dividend history and solid earnings growth. The payout ratio over the past 10 years has only increased by 15 percent, while the dividend payout has seen a 17 percent compounded annual growth rate, meaning the company is not hiding a lack of dividend growth by increasing the payout ratio.

MWI Veterinary Supply (MWIV) -- Estimates FY 2015 revenues of $2.89 to $2.94 billion, representing a growth rate of 23 to 25 percent. Earnings estimated to come in at $5.47 to $5.67 per share, an increase of 10.5 to 14.5 percent year-over-year.

Intel (INTC) -- The tablet market will be its focus in 2014. A key driver will be Bay Trail, Intel's latest system-on-a-chip processor family-developed for devices that need a delicate balance of performance and power.

Tractor Supply (TSCO) -- The largest operator of farm and ranch stores. The company has a consistent focus on maximizing productivity, expanding its store base, while utilizing technological advancements and initiatives to expand its portfolio brand. The company has forecasted a per-share earnings growth rate of 17.9 percent.

United Technologies (UTX) -- Third-quarter 2013 earnings from continuing operations were $1.55 per share, up from $1.37 in the year-ago quarter. Net income improved 13 percent from the year-ago quarter to $1.4 billion. United Technologies expects revenues in 2013 of $63 billion with earnings in the range of $6.10 to $6.15 per share.

Toro (TTC) -- For its fiscal year ended Oct. 31, Toro reported net earnings of $2.62 per share on net sales of $2.041 billion, an increase of 4.2 percent. The company expects revenue growth for fiscal 2014 of 4 to 5 percent with net earnings of $2.85 to $2.90 per share.

AmerisourceBergen (ABC) -- 2014 earnings from continuing operations are expected to come in at around $3.60 to $3.73 per share, up 12 to 16 percent over the $3.21 reported in fiscal 2013. Revenue growth is expected to be between 28 and 31 percent. Contracts with Express Scripts and a distribution agreement with Walgreen should positively impact fiscal 2014.

Cummins (CMI) -- The 2014 ball started rolling with the Cummins-Westport ISX12G engine, a natural gas engine for heavy-duty trucks. Cummins also announced that Nissan has selected Cummins' 5.0L V8 turbo diesel engine for the next-generation Titan pickup.

Please keep in mind that the list is not intended to be an instant portfolio where you simply add water and stir. On the contrary, it is designed to be a catalyst to stimulate ideas and thinking on your part about possible sectors and companies you might want to investigate.

Lauren Rudd is a financial writer and columnist. You can write to him at Phone calls accepted between 9 AM and 3 PM at 1-941-346-5444.

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