William J. Baxter, World Economic Service, recommends BellSouth Corp. (NYSE, BLS, $50.50), the nation's largest regional telephone holding company for conservative investors.
Despite an economic slowdown in its service area, BellSouth reported further growth last year. Access lines grew 3.2 percent, and minutes of use increased by 6.4 percent. The company's Mobile Systems Cellular business recorded substantial growth, increasing its customer base by 49 percent. BellSouth is off to a good start for 1992. . . . The company is likely to report operating revenues of over $15 billion for the first time in its history."
Max Bowser, The Bowser Report, likes "Jillian's Entertainment (OTC, QBAL, $1.375), which operates a chain of upscale billiard halls in Miami, Boston, Cleveland and Seattle.
"These facilities are gaining popularity with the nightclub crowd. A second Cleveland unit is expected to open by September, and the company is in final negotiations for two new locations in South Florida. Meanwhile, Jillian's has entered into a franchising agreement with International Franchise Development, which has represented such firms as Blockbuster, Marriott, Wendy's and McDonald's. This exclusive contract will be in effect for at least 12 months."
The Ruta Financial Newsletter has named Albertson's (NYSE, ABS, $41.75), the 6th-largest food and drug retail chain in the United States, with 562 outlets and plans for a 5-year $2.7 billion expansion, its latest stock of the month.
"The firm, boasting one of the best-looking balance sheets in the industry, has shown impeccable performance, earning more than percent on total capital and over 20 percent on net worth. The firm reported record earnings and sales in 1991, for the 22nd year in a row . . . The stock's long-term upside potential could be as high as $100-$125 within 2-3 years. ABS is a solid, long-term buy for conservative and aggressive investors."
Wayne Hummer, Market Letter, likes Florida Progress Corp., parent of Florida Power, which supplies electricity to western and central Florida.
"Although utility operations account for 85 percent of revenues, FPC has interests in coal mining, high tech R&D, real estate and financial services. Results from these non-utility operations are improving and over time will make significant contributions to earnings. Meanwhile, FPC has the good fortune to operate in one of the fastest-growing regions in the country. Over the next several years, kilowatt-hour sales are expected to grow 3.5 percent to 4 percent annually, more than twice that of the average utility."