Q: Where can I learn about which companies are doing right by their employees, their communities, the environment and so on?
A: Check out the annual list of “Best Corporate Citizens” published by CR Magazine, which focuses on corporate responsibility.
Its Top 10 honorees for 2013 are AT&T, Mattel, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eaton, Intel, Gap, Hasbro, Merck, Campbell Soup and Coca-Cola Enterprises. (Find the entire list at thecro.com.)
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The folks at
have named the “World’s Most Ethical Companies.” The 2013 list includes 145 companies, such as Alcoa, Deere, eBay, Ford, General Electric, Kellogg, Marriott, Microsoft, National Grid, PepsiCo, Safeway, Target and Sherwin-Williams.
Or read “Socially Responsible Investing for Dummies” (For Dummies, $25) by Ann C. Logue.
Q. My stock profits have shrunk by a lot recently. Should I sell and keep the cash in case the Dow crashes, thereby grabbing some bargains?
A. If you do and the Dow does crash soon, you’ll be well positioned to profit. But what if it just keeps rising for a long while? You’ll miss out on a lot of gains.
No one knows what the market will do in the short run. In the long run, it tends to go up.
You should keep any money you’ll need within the next few years out of stocks, since a crash can happen at any time. Otherwise, it’s often best to remain in the market and try to add to your holdings when it sinks. If you’re not comfortable in stocks, though, sell some or all of them.
It might not be obvious to the casual observer, but at recent levels, Xerox (NYSE: XRX) stock offers one of the best values in the information-technology industry.
Its price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio was recently 9.7, well below its five-year average of about 18.
And, with its low valuation comes a hefty dividend yield, recently at 2.6 percent.
Clearly, few are expecting the stock to do much over the next few years, with earnings projected to grow by 6.7 percent annually over the coming five years.
But low expectations might actually turn out to be good news for investors in Xerox, as it gives the company a low hurdle to clear.
Its future is promising, as Xerox has been moving away from a hardware focus and ringing up lots of long-term service contracts, many with the federal and state governments.
Xerox is generating a lot of cash from its business, too. Its free cash-flow yield shows a company creating 17.4 cents of cash profit for every dollar invested in it.
Xerox may ultimately use its cash to pay bigger dividends, to buy back shares (increasing the size of your stake in the company for every share it takes off the table) or to reinvest in its business and maintain its lead over rivals for years to come.