3 Dow Stalwarts to Buy Now

Warren Buffett once described the ideal business as "one that earns very high returns on capital and that keeps using lots of capital at those high returns." He called such companies "compounding machines," and noted that there are very few of them out there.

ExxonMobil (NYS: XOM) , Coca-Cola (NYS: KO) , and 3M (NYS: MMM) are companies that have historically been in this elite category. Fortunately for investors, I think they are still outstanding businesses that will outperform the market over the next five years or so. My colleague David Meier and I recently looked at each of the companies of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) , and we came away believing that these three stocks were among the strongest of the Dow's components. Let's take a closer look at each of them.

ExxonMobil is one of the best-run energy companies in the world, and it has clearly delivered on its promise of delivering solid returns to shareholders. According to Morningstar, the company has paid out almost $40 billion in dividends and has repurchased $130 billion worth of stock over the past five years.

I think that's likely to continue, as the company takes a very long-term view of running its business. For example, at a time when competitors Chesapeake Energy (NYS: CHK) and Devon Energy are shifting away from natural gas, ExxonMobil continues to invest in that area. With its solid balance sheet and global reach, ExxonMobil will be able to grow its impressive earnings at a reasonable rate over time. So far, the stock is underperforming the market by just two percentage points since our outperform call back in February of 2012.

Coca-Cola is unsurpassed at developing, promoting, and distributing its products around the globe. With a foothold in over 200 countries, it's well-positioned to grow in emerging markets. All of this might explain why it's still one of Warren Buffett's favorite stocks.

In addition to its impressive growth prospects, Coca-Cola pays out a solid dividend yield of 2.8%, which puts it roughly on par with the Dow average. The company is up almost 7 percentage points since our outperform call in February 2012, but I still see it outperforming the market over the next five years.

3M is generally considered one of the very best when it comes to technological innovation, and that has been one of the keys to its extraordinary long-term success. David, who used to work as an engineer at GE, believes that 3M is still a leading technological innovator. This allows its diverse array of businesses to generate a lot of cash for shareholders.

The company has a strong balance sheet and considerable diversification across product lines and geographical regions. To top it all off, it offers a solid dividend yield of 2.7%. The company is underperforming the market by just 1.5 percentage points since we made our outperform call back in February 2012. I'm still confident that this one is a very good bet to outperform the market over the next five years, and it'll do so with relatively less risk.

Great businesses, solid yields
With 10-year U.S. Treasuries only paying yields of around 2%, it makes sense to consider investing in great businesses that produce solid yields. These three companies are excellent ideas to consider, but if you'd like to learn about some additional dividend payers, have a look at our free report titled "Secure Your Future With 9 Rock-Solid Dividend Stocks." It's always a good time to think about adding stability to your portfolio. Grab a copy of the free report now.

At the time thisarticle was published

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