ABBOTT LABORATORIES (ABT, NYSE, around $52): "The firm's long-range prospects are enhanced by a worldwide leadership position in in-vitro diagnostics, revitalized pharmaceutical operations, and a continual emphasis on fast-growing medical products. The company sports a 5-year growth rate of 15 percent. The issue yields 1.9 percent and has a quality ranking of A+."
H&R; BLOCK (HRB, NYSE, around $60): "H&R; Block is the largest federal income tax preparer in the United States and Canada. The company has recorded a steady rise in earnings for nearly two decades. New tax services and continued growth in computer services enhance the firm's prospects. Earnings have risen at a 17 percent rate over the past five years. This issue yields 3 percent and is rated A+."
EMERSON ELECTRIC (EMR, NYSE, around $47): "The firm offers strong finances, consistent earnings and dividend growth despite operating in a challenging environment in recent years. The company should benefit from favorable capital spending over the next few years. Emerson, rated A+, yields 2.9 percent. ** Earnings growth over the past five years has averaged 9 percent."
GENERAL ELECTRIC (GE, NYSE, around $68): "General Electric offers a mix of technology, manufacturing, and services. The firm's dynamic management implies good per share earnings growth. Profits have risen at a 16 percent rate over the past five years. This A+ rated issue provides a yield of 2.8 percent."
GENERAL MILLS (GIS, NYSE, around $59): "The company is a leading producer of consumer goods and the nation's largest full-service dinner house operator. General Mills is well-positioned to extend its superior earnings growth; profits have grown at a 24 percent rate over the past five years. The stock, rated A, currently yields 2.3 percent."
HANSON PLC (HAN, NYSE, $19): "This United Kingdom-based conglomerate grows by acquiring and restructuring other firms. Its operations currently include coal, gold mining, forest products, tobacco, apparel, toys, batteries, and Jacuzzi baths. Profits have risen for 27 consecutive years. Hanson yields 6.3 percent."
LIZ CLAIBORNE (LIZ, NYSE, around $41): "The company offers a strong balance sheet and an outstanding growth rate of 21 percent over the past five years. Growing demand for working women's apparel bodes well for the company, as do new jewelry and shoe lines. The issue -- with an A- quality ranking -- currently yields 0.8 percent."
MERCK (MRK, NYSE, around $128): "Merck is the world's largest ethical drug producer. It also leads the industry in research productivity, which should pave the way for continued superior long-term profit growth. Earnings growth has averaged 25 percent over the past five years. The stock, rated A+, provides a yield of 2 percent."
NCNB (NCB, NYSE, around $36): "The bank's merger with C&S;/Sovran will result in a dominant position in the Southeast and Texas, and should lead to solid earnings growth by 1993. Earnings at the bank, which is rated A for quality, have averaged 10 percent over the past five years."
PROCTER & GAMBLE (PG, NYSE, around $83): "The firm should generate steady earnings gains as a result of overseas penetration and the extension of existing product lines. Earnings growth has been 30 percent over the past five years. The issue, yielding 2.4 percent, has a quality ranking of A."