Unilever is more than just popsicles and Ben & Jerry's -- it's a good buy

It's almost guaranteed that you have some Unilever (UN) products in your kitchen, pantry, or bathroom. This Anglo-Dutch packaged-food and consumer-product behemoth's brands include everything from popsicles and Ben & Jerry's ice cream to Dove and Suave soaps and shampoos to Hellman's mayonnaise.

Unilever is very fond of saying that 160 million times a day, someone, somewhere, buys one of its products. And more and more of these customers live in the fast-growing economies of the Far East. The company has been operating in the region for more than a hundred years, giving Unilever very wide coverage across Asia, with thousands of core distributors supplying its products to millions of retail outlets.
Of course, no matter how promising a company's prospects, the shares have to make sense on a valuation level -- and Unilever's do so in a big way. The stock goes for just 15 times forward earnings, offering a discount of about 25 percent to the broader market. That's a very compelling relative valuation. Furthermore, the stock throws off an annual dividend of $1.16, good for an impressive 3.6 percent yield.
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