Consider Consistent Companies

S&P sifts through its database to find outfits that have reliably delivered on key measures of performance in the last five years

By Michael Kaye, CFA

One theme we try to emphasize in this column is consistency -- the ability of a company to achieve solid performance over the long term. While past performance is no guarantee of future results, it can be useful to examine corporations' track records to get an indication of the overall direction of their business.

Performance can be measured in many different ways. This week, we thought we'd try to find a list of names with favorable long-term track records in three key measures of the health of a business:

Return on equity percentage

Earnings per share

Net profit margins

Our requirements were fairly simple. We looked in our database for those issues that have seen growth in those metrics in each of the last five years. When we ran the numbers, these 14 names emerged:

  Built for the Long Haul?
Company Ticker
Anheuser Busch BUD
Career Education CECO
Coventry Health Care CVH
Foot Locker FL
Fred's Inc FRED
Griffon Corp. GFF
Logitech International LOGI
Monro Muffler Brake MNRO
NVR Inc. NVR
Quality Systems QSII
Rollins Inc. ROL
Ryland Group RYL
Sysco Corp. SYY
Toro Co. TTC

Kaye is an analyst for Standard & Poor's Portfolio Advisors

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