Get 25% Upside From One Of The Most Admired Companies On The Planet

People love lists and rankings. Everything from school districts and neighborhoods to athletes and musicians get ranked on lists.

Sometimes these lists are based on real accomplishments, like the medal rankings at the Olympics. Other lists are based on public sentiment and often have nothing to do with objective rankings.

For example, consider Fortune magazine’s annual ranking of the world’s most admired companies, based on a survey of 3,950 respondents.

Fortune’s Top 10 Most Admired Companies

#-ad_banner-#It’s hardly a scientific way to discover the world’s best companies — but regardless of its flaws, the list is an excellent starting point for discover rewarding investment opportunities for the coming year. My favorite investment target from this year’s top 50 list is Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT).

Coming in at #24 on Fortune’s list, the software giant is best known for its Windows operating system, which remains the most used operating system on Earth. However, competition from Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) and Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) has shifted the investor spotlight away from Microsoft. This has created an opportunity for investment.

Boasting a market cap of $327.8 billion, revenue of $83.4 billion with quarterly growth of 14.3% year over year, and gross profits of $57.6 billion, the company provides a formidable fundamental picture for investors. Add in a forward dividend yield of 3% and a payout ratio of 36% on $83 billion of total cash, and you have a behemoth of a company.

  Microsoft’s new CEO, Satya Nadella, is well aware of what needs to be done. Combine his leadership with the growth potential of the cloud, and it spells a powerful investing opportunity in this overlooked giant.  

Along with the strong fundamentals, Microsoft is aggressively preparing for the future of computing in the cloud. Overall enterprise spending on migrating to the cloud is forecast to triple over the next three years, to $235 billion. Google, Apple, (Nasdaq: AMZN) and Microsoft have all shifted their focus to cloud computing.

Microsoft’s new CEO, Satya Nadella — only the company’s third CEO in its nearly 40-year history — is well aware of what needs to be done. His statement — “Our industry does not respect tradition — it only respects innovation” — provides investors a succinct look into the future direction of the company. Combine his leadership with the growth potential of the cloud, and it spells a powerful investing opportunity in this overlooked giant.

Risks to Consider: Overall PC sales are down, weighing on Microsoft’s operating software sales. Heavy competition from Apple and Google has also affected MSFT’s bottom line, as has potential innovation from little-known companies. Always use stop-loss orders and diversify when investing.

Action to Take –> Shares have broken out of their trading price channel today of $37.50 to $38.50. Price is pushing toward $40, creating a solid breakout buying opportunity at the $40 level. Buying on a breakout of $40 with a stop order at $37.90 and a 12-month target of $51, representing better than 25% upside, is my call on this dynamic company.

P.S. In our latest research report, “The Top 10 Stocks for 2014,” we’ve uncovered several more investments that are similar to MSFT. They dominate their markets, pay increasing dividends, and repurchase billions in stock. To learn more about these ideas, including several names and ticker symbols, visit this link.