Friday, March 30, 2012

AT&T (T) Dividend Stock Analysis

AT&T Inc. (T), together with its subsidiaries, provides telecommunications services to consumers, businesses, and other providers worldwide. This dividend aristocrat has paid uninterrupted dividends on its common stock since 1984 and increased payments to common shareholders every for 28 consecutive years. The company’s previous name was SBC Communications, but after acquiring legacy AT&T in 2006, assumed the name of the legacy telecom giant.

The company’s last dividend increase was in December 2011 when the Board of Directors approved a 2.30% increase to 44 cents/share. AT&T ‘s largest competitors include Verizon (VZ), Sprint-Nextel (S) and Deutsche Telecom (DTEGY).

Over the past decade this dividend growth stock has delivered an annualized total return of 2.50% to its shareholders.
The company has managed to deliver zero growth in EPS since 2002. Analysts expect AT&T to earn $2.36 per share in 2012 and $2.54 per share in 2013. In comparison AT&T earned $2.20 /share in 2011, before several onetime charges (discussed below).
In the prior year, AT&T looked cheaper than usual due to one-time accounting items. This year, the company looks more expensive than it should be, again due to onetime events. From the company’s Q4 press release:

Fourth-quarter 2011 net income attributable to AT&T totaled $(6.7) billion, or $(1.12) per diluted share. Excluding significant non-cash charges of $0.65 from the actuarial loss on benefit plans and $0.48 for directory asset impairments, along with a one-time charge of $0.44 for termination of the T-Mobile USA acquisition and a one-time gain of $0.03 from a tax settlement, adjusted earnings per share was $0.42.

My outlook on the US telecom industry is neutral at the very best. The telecom industry does not operate in the utility like monopoly environment that the “old” AT&T used to operate prior to its break-up in 1984. The wireline business is slowly dying, as more consumers are replacing fixed-line phone service with cellular phones. The issue with cell phones is that switching between carriers is very easy, and the levels of service have been pretty consistent between all of the major wireless carriers. As a result, the wireless service is becoming more of a commodity, with the main issue being that the telecom industry requires huge capital costs to operate, upgrade
existing network equipment and maintain service. One differentiator for customers looking to switch is the type of phones a telecom carrier offers. AT&T was the exclusive carrier in the US for the iPhone until 2011, when both Verizon and Sprint added it to their line of phone offerings. Unfortunately, it is difficult to predict the next big thing in phones, which will drive customers to stick to a carrier for a longer period of time.

The company’s return on equity has been on the rebound since reaching a low of 8.60 in 2006. Rather than focus on absolute values for this indicator, I generally want to see at least a stable return on equity over time.

The annual dividend payment has increased by 5.40% per year over the past decade, which is higher than to the growth in EPS.
A 5.50% growth in distributions translates into the dividend payment doubling almost every thirteen years. If we look at historical data, going as far back as 1984 we see that AT&T has managed to double its dividend every fourteen years on average.

The dividend payout ratio has consistently remained above 50%. The company is essentially distributing almost all of its earnings back to shareholders, leaving little room for future growth. A lower payout is always a plus, since it leaves room for consistent dividend growth minimizing the impact of short-term fluctuations in earnings.

Currently AT&T is fairly valued at 13.80 times earnings, has a very high dividend payout and yields 5.80%. I do not plan on initiating a position in the stock.

Full Disclosure: None

Relevant Articles:

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Lost Decade: Opportunity of a Lifetime for Dividend Investors

The “Lost Decade” in stocks is the period since 2000, when stocks in general have been mostly flat. The reason behind the so called lost decade, is the fact that stocks were overvalued during the last leg of the 1999 – 2000 bull market run. Investors typically have a short term memory of financial market events. Over a decade ago, demand for speculative internet stocks with no earnings or revenues were high, and the good times were expected to keep on going forever. Now, after two severe stock market declines due to the tech and financial sector implosions, investors are again projecting the past onto the future. This time however, investors are forecasting doom and gloom. In a previous article I discussed the fact that stocks are cheap. In fact, stock valuations are at their lowest levels in years.


One of the biggest arguments against purchasing quality dividend stocks is that they have been “dead money” over the past decade. Some investors who read my site have mentioned that companies like Intel (INTC), Medtronic (MDT), Coca Cola (KO), Wal-Mart (WMT) and Abbott (ABT) come to mind due to the fact that they delivered very little in total returns over the past decade. Once again, investors are comparing apples to oranges. In general, these four stocks were much overvalued in the year 2000. Today, they are attractively priced.

Intel Corporation (INTC) engages in the design, manufacture, and sale of integrated circuits for computing and communications industries worldwide. While the company earned $1.51/share in 2000, when the stock price ended the year at $30.06/share, for a P/E of 20, this EPS figure did not take into account the implosion of the tech sector. In fact, one of the reasons why I haven’t ventured in to the stock was that Intel did not exceed its year 2000 EPS until 2010. In 2001, EPS collapsed to just $0.19/share. Sometimes measures like P/E ratios should be taken with a grain of salt when dealing with cyclical companies in the technology, automotive and materials sectors for example. The stock has a P/E of 11.70, and yields 3% today however, which makes it a buy when it reaches a dividend achiever status. (analysis)

The Coca-Cola Company (KO) manufactures, distributes, and markets nonalcoholic beverages worldwide. In 2000, the company earned $0.88/share, while the stock closed the year at $60.94. The P/E ratio was rich at 69 times earnings, while the annual dividend of 68 cent/share delivered a yield of 1.10%. Today Coca Cola trades at 19.30 times earnings and yields 2.90%. (analysis)

Medtronic, Inc. (MDT) manufactures and sells device-based medical therapies worldwide. In 2000, the company earned $0.91/share, while the stock closed the year at $60.38. The P/E ratio was rich at 66 times earnings, while the annual dividend of 20 cents/share delivered a yield of 0.30%. Today, Medtronic sells at 12.20 times earnings and yields 2.50% (analysis)

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (WMT) operates retail stores in various formats worldwide. In 2000, the company earned $1.25/share, while the stock closed the year at $53.13. The P/E ratio was rich at 42 times earnings, while the annual dividend of 24 cent/share delivered a yield of 0.50%. These days, the world’s largest retailer trades at 13.40 times earnings and yields 2.60% (analysis)

Abbott Laboratories (ABT) engages in the discovery, development, manufacture, and sale of health care products worldwide. In 2000, the company earned $1.78/share, while the stock closed the year at $48.44. The P/E ratio was rich at 27 times earnings, while the annual dividend of 76 cent/share delivered a yield of 1.60%. Currently, he company trades at 15.10 times earnings and yields 3.40%. (analysis)

Full Disclosure: Long KO, WMT, MDT, ABT

Relevant Articles:

Monday, March 26, 2012

Should dividend investors care about Apple’s Dividend?

Over the past week Apple Computer (AAPL) announced that it will pay dividends for the first time since 1996. Investors will receive $2.65/quarterly distribution starting in the third quarter of 2012. This is positive news for shareholders, as the company was hoarding almost $100 billion in cash on its balance sheet. Otherwise, this stash would have been spent on acquisitions, which might not have benefitted the bottom line by much. After all, the company has been able to go from $6 billion to $108 billion in revenues in a decade mostly as a result of innovation and offering unique products to consumers.

As a dividend growth investor, I do require at least ten years of consecutive dividend increases, before I initiate a position in a company. This is to protect me from investing in companies which have been able to boost distributions based on short-term economic or business events. After all, the Motorla RAZR was once the “cool” phone to have in the mid 2000’s, and the Sony Walkman was the main game in town in the 1980’s for listening to music. While I strongly doubt Apple will be able to increase revenues 20 times over the next decade, if it maintains innovating and delivering to its loyal following of consumers, it should do well.

Other companies in the dividend news include:

Raytheon Company (RTN) , together with its subsidiaries, provides electronics, mission systems integration, and other capabilities in the areas of sensing, effects, and command, control, communications, and intelligence systems, as well as a range of mission support services in the United States and internationally. The company raised its quarterly distributions by 16.30% to 50 cents/share. Raytheon has raised dividends for 8 years in a row. Yield: 3.90%

W. P. Carey & Co. LLC (WPC), together with its subsidiaries, provides long-term sale-leaseback and build-to-suit transactions for companies worldwide and manages a global investment portfolio. The company raised its quarterly distributions to 56.50 cents/share. W. P. Carey & Co. LLC is a dividend achiever has raised dividends for 15 years in a row. The company is planning on converting to a REIT later in 2012, which would lead to a higher annual distribution for shareholders coupled with simplified tax reporting. Yield: 4.90%

Full Disclosure: None

Relevant Articles:

- Dividend Achievers Offer Income Growth and Capital Appreciation
- Dividend Achievers Additions for 2012
- Has the time for Tech Dividends arrived?
- The ten year dividend growth requirement

Friday, March 23, 2012

Colgate-Palmolive (CL) Dividend Stock Analysis 2012

Colgate-Palmolive Company (CL), together with its subsidiaries, manufactures and markets consumer products worldwide. This dividend champion has paid uninterrupted dividends on its common stock since 1895 and increased payments to common shareholders every for 48 consecutive years. The company’s last dividend increase was in February 2012 when the Board of Directors approved a 6.90% increase to 62 cents/share. Colgate-Palmolive ‘s largest competitors include Procter & Gamble (PG), Kimberly-Clark (KMB) and Clorox (CLX).

Over the past decade this dividend growth stock has delivered an annualized total return of 7% to its shareholders.



The company has managed to deliver a 9.40% annual increase in EPS since 2002. Analysts expect Colgate-Palmolive to earn $5.38 per share in 2012 and $5.90 per share in 2013. In comparison Colgate-Palmolive earned $4.94 /share in 2011. The company has managed to consistently repurchase 1.30% of its outstanding shares on average in each year over the past decade.

Colgate generates over 60% of its sales from outside of the US. The growing emerging markets in Latin America and Asia and the rising middle class in these markets could present an excellent opportunity for Colgate Palmolive. Latin America accounts for one third of sales, while Asia/Africa accounts for over one fifth of sales. The issue with overexposure to Latin America is that the continent has been prone to currency devaluations, which could impact profitability. Another issue could come from rising commodity costs, which could pressure margins and profitability despite expectations for rising volumes. Given the strong brand names of many of Colgate’s products however, the company could mitigate this by passing on cost increases to consumers.

The company has a very high return on equity of 101%. Rather than focus on absolute values for this indicator, I generally want to see at least a stable return on equity over time.
The annual dividend payment has increased by 13.60% per year over the past decade, which is higher than to the growth in EPS.
A 14% growth in distributions translates into the dividend payment doubling almost every five years. If we look at historical data, going as far back as 1981 we see that Colgate-Palmolive has managed to double its dividend every seven and a half years on average.

The dividend payout ratio has increased from a low of 33% in 2002 to 46% in 2011. A lower payout is always a plus, since it leaves room for consistent dividend growth minimizing the impact of short-term fluctuations in earnings.
Currently Colgate-Palmolive is attractively valued at 19.50 times earnings, has a sustainable dividend payout and yields 2.60%. I recently added to my position in the stock, which I find attractively valued on dips below $99.

Full Disclosure: Long CL, PG, CLX, KMB

Relevant Articles:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Dividend Achievers Additions for 2012

The new additions to the Dividend Achievers Index were announced a few weeks ago by Mergent. The dividend achievers index includes companies with the following characteristics:

1) Traded on NYSE, Nasdaq or AMEX
2) US companies with at least ten consecutive years of increasing regular dividends
3) Having a minimum average daily cash volume of US$500,000 per day

I typically screen the list of dividend achievers at least once a month, in order to search for attractively valued dividend stocks to accumulate. With over 200 individual dividend growth stocks comprising the index, I have plenty of companies to sift through in order to find the 20 or 30 that could ultimately find their way in my dividend portfolio. In addition, looking at the list of new dividend achievers additions, might enable me to identify the next big dividend growth story, that will pay rising dividends for the next several decades.

The companies added to the index in 2012 include:

Southern Company (SO), through its subsidiaries, operates as a utility company that provides electric service in the southeastern United States. Yield: 4.30%

Monsanto Company(MON) , together with its subsidiaries, provides agricultural products for farmers in the United States and internationally. Yield: 1.50%

NIKE, Inc. (NKE), together with its subsidiaries, engages in the design, development, marketing, and sale of footwear, apparel, equipment, and accessory products for men, women, and children worldwide. Yield: 1.30%

Norfolk Southern Corporation (NSC), through its subsidiaries, engages in the rail transportation of raw materials, intermediate products, and finished goods primarily in the United States. Yield: 2.70% (analysis)


Magellan Midstream Partners, L.P. (MMP), together with its subsidiaries, engages in the transportation, storage, and distribution of refined petroleum products and crude oil in the United States. Yield: 4.60%

W. R. Berkley Corporation (WRB), an insurance holding company, operates as commercial lines writers in the property casualty insurance business primarily in the United States. Yield: 0.90%

Harris Corporation (HRS), together with its subsidiaries, operates as a communications and information technology company that serves government and commercial markets worldwide. Yield: 3%

NuStar Energy L.P. (NS) engages in the terminalling, storage, and transportation of petroleum products primarily in the United States, Canada, the Netherlands, St. Eustatius in the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, and Mexico. Yield: 7.50%

Royal Gold, Inc. (RGLD), together with its subsidiaries, engages in the acquisition and management of precious metal royalties. Yield: 0.90%

Senior Housing Properties Trust (SNH), a real estate investment trust (REIT), primarily invests in senior housing properties in the United States. Yield: 6.80%

Nu Skin Enterprises, Inc. (NUS) develops and distributes anti-aging personal care products and nutritional supplements worldwide. Yield: 1.40%

Inergy, L.P. (NRGY) engages in the retail marketing, sale, and distribution of propane to residential, commercial, industrial, and agricultural customers in the United States. Yield: 17.70%

Delphi Financial Group, Inc. (DFG), a financial services company, together with its subsidiaries, provides specialty insurance and insurance-related services in the United States. Yield: 1.10%

Valmont Industries, Inc. (VMI) produces and sells fabricated metal products, pole and tower structures, and mechanized irrigation systems in the United States and internationally. Yield: 0.60%

Watsco, Inc. (WSO), together with its subsidiaries, distributes air conditioning, heating and refrigeration equipment, and related parts and supplies in the United States. Yield: 3.30%

Sanderson Farms, Inc. (SAFM), an integrated poultry processing company, engages in the production, processing, marketing, and distribution of fresh, frozen, and prepared chicken products in the United States. Yield: 1.30%

1st Source Corporation (SRCE) operates as the bank holding company for 1st Source Bank that provides commercial and consumer banking services to individuals and businesses in the United States. Yield: 2.60%

Tompkins Financial Corporation (TMP), through its banking subsidiaries, Tompkins Trust Company, The Bank of Castile, and The Mahopac National Bank, provides banking and financial services to individuals, corporations, and other business clients in New York. Yield: 3.50%

Republic Bancorp, Inc. (RBCAA) operates as the holding company for Republic Bank & Trust Company and Republic Bank, which provides banking, tax refund solutions, and mortgage banking services to individuals and businesses in the United States. Yield: 2.50%

Arrow Financial Corporation (AROW) operates as the holding company for Glens Falls National Bank and Trust Company, and Saratoga National Bank and Trust Company that offer various commercial and consumer banking, and financial products in the United States. Yield: 4.10%

Cass Information Systems, Inc. (CASS) provides payment and information processing services to large manufacturing, distribution, and retail enterprises in the United States. Yield: 1.70%

Connecticut Water Service, Inc. (CTWS), through its subsidiaries, operates as a regulated water company in Connecticut. Yield: 3.30%

The average yield of the new additions is 3.50%. There are a few companies on this list, which I have observed for several years as they have been approaching dividend achiever status. I plan on further researching these new additions by analyzing the historical performance and determining whether there are any competitive advantages that will protect future profits.

Full disclosure: None
Relevant Articles:

Monday, March 19, 2012

Three Companies Boosting Distributions

Several companies raised distributions over the past week. I scanned through the list and eliminated those that have raised distributions for less than 5 consecutive years. In dividend investing I value consistency in dividend payments as well as dividend increases. After all, bills still have to be paid each month, and inflationary pressures result in increase in the overall cost of living over time. That’s why dividend companies that consistently raise distributions are essential ingredients in retiree’s portfolios.

The following three companies raised distributions over the past week:

Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. (APD) provides atmospheric gases, process and specialty gases, performance materials, equipment, and services worldwide. The company raised its quarterly dividend by 10.30% to 64 cents/share. This dividend aristocrat has raised distributions for 30 years in a row. Yield: (analysis)

Realty Income Corporation (O) engages in the acquisition and ownership of commercial retail real estate properties in the United States. The monthly dividend company raised its distributions to 14.58 cents/share. This dividend achiever has raised distributions for 18 consecutive years. Yield: 4.80% (analysis)

Xilinx, Inc. (XLNX) designs, develops, and markets programmable platforms in North America, the Asia Pacific, Europe, and Japan. The company raised its quarterly dividend by 15.80% to 22 cents/share. This dividend stock has raised distributions for 10 years in a row. Yield: 2.40%

These companies are characteristic of the trends we have witnessed in the world of dividend investing over the past several months. It has been business as usual at Air Products and Chemicals, which keeps raising distributions at a respectable pace, which it has done for three decades now.

Realty Income on the other hand has been pretty disappointing in terms of dividend increases since 2008. This is still a great accomplishment however, in relation to its peers, most of which severely cut distributions during the financial crisis. The stability in Realty Income’s distributions has attracted hordes of dividend investors, who have pushed its yield to historic lows.

Xilinx (XLNX), a former tech high-flyer from the 1990’s, seems to have undergone a complete transformation over the past decade. Many cash rich tech companies, most of which escaped the financial crisis, have enjoyed strong business growth and have adopted policies that reward shareholders with strong dividend increases.

Overall I find Realty Income to be a hold, APD to be attractively valued and Xilinx to be interesting enough to place on my list for further research.

Full Disclosure: Long APD and O


Relevant Articles:

Friday, March 16, 2012

Norfolk Southern Corporation (NSC) Dividend Stock Analysis

Norfolk Southern Corporation (NSC), through its subsidiaries, engages in the rail transportation of raw materials, intermediate products, and finished goods primarily in the United States. This dividend achiever has paid uninterrupted dividends on its common stock since 1901 and increased payments to common shareholders every for 11consecutive years.

The company’s last dividend increase was in January 2012 when the Board of Directors approved a 9.30% increase to 47 cents/share. This marked the second dividend increase over the past year. Norfolk Southern‘s largest competitors include Union Pacific (UNP), CSX (CSX) and Canadian National Railway (CNI).

Over the past decade this dividend growth stock has delivered an annualized total return of 17% to its shareholders.
The company has managed to deliver an 18.50% annual increase in EPS since 2002. Analysts expect Norfolk Southern to earn $5.96 per share in 2012 and $6.71 per share in 2013. In comparison Norfolk Southern earned $5.45 /share in 2011. The company has managed to consistently repurchase 3% of its outstanding shares on average in each year over the past five years.
A bet on railroads is a bet on the long-term growth of US economy. As the country expands, and as the population grows over the next few decades, the amount of goods that would need to be transported will surely increase. Currently, railroads have an important advantage over trucks for example, since they are three times more fuel efficient and could also carry certain hazardous materials that trucks cannot transport. This being said, railways in general will experience cyclicality in earnings during recessions. There are only four major railroads in the US, including Burlington Northern Santa Fe, Union Pacific, Norfolk Southern and CSX Corp. Analysts expect railroad transportation volumes to increase by 1.50% per year over the next decade.

For Norfolk Southern in particular, half of revenues come from transporting goods which are sensitive to the economic cycle, such as automobiles and chemicals. Almost one third of revenues are generated by transporting coal to utilities, which is one of the most profitable activity for the company. The remainder of revenues are generated by the company’s intermodal business, where it directly competes with trucker companies for volume. The company has invested heavily to increase its competitiveness along key freight lanes by adding infrastructure to support intermodal transportation of goods.

The company’s return on equity has increased from 7.50% in 2002 to 18.60% in 2011. Rather than focus on absolute values for this indicator, I generally want to see at least a stable return on equity over time.
The annual dividend payment has increased by 21.30% per year over the past decade, which is higher than to the growth in EPS.
A 21% growth in distributions translates into the dividend payment doubling every three and a half years. If we look at historical data, going as far back as 2001 we see that Norfolk Southern has managed to double its dividend almost every three and a half years on average.

The dividend payout ratio has almost doubled from 22% in 2002 to 39% in 2011. A lower payout is always a plus, since it leaves room for consistent dividend growth minimizing the impact of short-term fluctuations in earnings.
Currently Norfolk Southern is attractively valued at 12.60 times earnings, has a sustainable dividend payout and yields 2.80%. I would consider initiating a position in this railroad on dips and subject to availability of funds.

Full Disclosure: None

Relevant Articles:

- PepsiCo (PEP): A Better Value than Coca Cola (KO)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

17 Cheap Dividend Aristocrats on Sale

As part of my dividend retirement plan, I add new money to my portfolio every single month. I have found that purchasing dividend stocks with growing dividends, reinvesting these distributions selectively and adding new capital consistently is the key recipe for success that will help me reach the dividend crossover point.

I determine which stocks to purchase based on portfolio weights and valuation. I typically use the dividend aristocrats index as a starting point in my research, since it includes quality names that have boosted distributions for over 25 years in a row.

Using the dividend aristocrats index, and my entry criteria, I came up with the following screen:

1) Price/Earnings Ratio of less than 20
2) Dividend yield exceeding 2.50%
3) Dividend Payout Ratio of less that 60%



The following companies are just ideas for further research. Before committing money to new ideas, I typically do an analysis of the company, where I look for the following pieces of information:

1) Ten year trends for earnings, dividends, returns on equity, dividend payout ratios and stock prices
2) Qualitative information such as competitive advantages, strong brands and understanding the business

In addition, I also attempt to gauge whether the companies will be able to generate future growth. Identifying drivers for future growth often requires a fair degree of guesstimation. After all, without earnings growth, future dividend growth will be hard to come up.


Many of the companies listed above will grow thanks to the rise of the middle class in emerging markets such as Brazil, Russia, China and India. Others will grow by becoming more efficient in their operations, gaining market share or innovating their way to increased profits. While not terribly exciting, reading annual reports, analyst reports and familiarizing yourself with each company could literally pay dividends in the long run.

Full Disclosure: Long AFL, APD, CL, CLX, EMR, ITW, KO, MCD, MDT, MMM, PEP, SYY, WAG, WMT

Relevant Articles:

Monday, March 12, 2012

Six Dividend Growth Stocks Offering Positive Feedback to Shareholders

Dividend growth investing involves the selection of companies based on a set of criteria such as valuation, strong brands, strong competitive advantages and long histories of annual dividend increases. It is not about chasing high yielders today, but more about finding the right stock that would grow distributions over time, and thus provide investors with inflation protection in their income. Only companies with strong business models are able to increase dividends every year for long stretches of time. Dividend investors should take the time to study these success stories as they unfold in front of their eyes and even consider adding some to their dividend portfolios.

Over the past week, the following consistent dividend payers announced plans to hike distribution payouts to shareholders. These companies have a dividend culture which encourages sharing profits with shareholders. The companies raising distributions include:

Colgate-Palmolive Company (CL), together with its subsidiaries, manufactures and markets consumer products worldwide. The company raised its quarterly distributions by 6.90% to 62 cents/share. This marked the 49th consecutive annual dividend increase for this dividend champion. Yield: 2.60% (analysis)

General Dynamics Corporation (GD), an aerospace and defense company, provides business aviation; combat vehicles, weapons systems, and munitions; military and commercial shipbuilding; and communications and information technology products and services worldwide. The company raised its quarterly distributions by 8.50% to 51 cents/share. This marked the 21st consecutive annual dividend increase for this dividend achiever. Yield: 2.90% (analysis)

Piedmont Natural Gas Company, Inc. (PNY), an energy services company, engages in the distribution of natural gas to residential, commercial, industrial, and power generation customers in portions of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. The company raised its quarterly distributions by 3.40% to 30 cents/share. This marked the 34th consecutive annual dividend increase for this dividend champion. Yield: 3.70% (analysis)

QUALCOMM Incorporated (QCOM) designs, develops, manufactures, and markets digital telecommunications products and services. The company raised its quarterly distributions by 16.30% to 25 cents/share. This marked the 10th consecutive annual dividend increase for the company. Yield: 1.70%

Equity LifeStyle Properties, Inc. (ELS) is a publicly owned real estate investment trust (REIT) that engages in the ownership and operation of lifestyle oriented properties. The company raised its quarterly distributions by 16.70% to 43.75 cents/share. This marked the 9th consecutive annual dividend increase for the company. Yield: 2.50%

Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNQ) engages in the exploration, development, production, marketing, and sale of crude oil, natural gas liquids, and natural gas. The company raised its quarterly distributions by 16.70% to 10.50 cents/share. This marked the 12th consecutive annual dividend increase for this international dividend achiever. Yield: 1.20%

Full Disclosure: Long CL


Relevant Articles:

Friday, March 9, 2012

Coca-Cola Company (KO) Dividend Stock Analysis 2011

The Coca-Cola Company (KO) manufactures, distributes, and markets nonalcoholic beverages worldwide. This dividend king has paid uninterrupted dividends on its common stock since 1893 and increased payments to common shareholders every for 50 consecutive years. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway is the largest shareholder of the world’s largest beverage company.

The company’s last dividend increase was in April 2011 when the Board of Directors approved an 8.50% increase to 51 cents/share. Coca-Cola’s largest competitors include PepsiCo (PEP), Dr. Pepper Snapple (DPS) and Monster Beverage (MNST). Over the past decade this dividend growth stock has delivered an annualized total return of 6.70% to its shareholders.
The company has managed to deliver a 9.70% annual increase in EPS since 2002. Analysts expect Coca-Cola to earn $4.08 per share in 2012 and $4.47 per share in 2013. In comparison Coca-Cola earned $3.69 /share in 2011. Coca-Cola's 2020 Vision Strategy strives for a high single digit annual EPS growth throughout this decade, driven through 5%-6% annual increases in revenues as the company expects 3%-4% yearly increase in sales volumes. The company has managed to consistently repurchase 0.90% of its outstanding shares on average in each year over the past decade. The spike in 2010 EPS was caused by a onetime accounting event related to recognizing a gain on the 33% stake in Coca-Cola Enterprises that Coke already owned before acquiring the bottling giant.
Some of the company’s acquisitions over the past years have provided increased exposure to higher growth still beverages, which is where Coke lags behind PepsiCo (PEP). The acquisition of CCE’s North American bottling business should bring in sufficient cost savings for the company’s North American supply chain, which would result in increase in cash flows. The deal is expected to deliver approximately $350 million dollars in cost savings over the first four years of implementation. In addition to that, it will bring more control over North American operations, deliver more flexibility in the company’s strategy implementation and reduce conflicts over the product mix with bottlers.Emerging markets in Asia and Latin America are key to the company’s growth strategy, as more consumers there join the middle class. For example, the average consumer in China enjoyed 34 servings of Coca-Cola in 2010, versus 394 servings that the average consumer in the US enjoyed. The average consumer in India only enjoyed 11 servings of Coca-Cola, whereas the average Russian had 69 servings of the product.

The company’s return on equity has been on the decline over the past decade, falling from a high of 35 % in 2002 to a low of 27.60% in 2011. Rather than focus on absolute values for this indicator, I generally want to see at least a stable return on equity over time.
The annual dividend payment has increased by 10.10% per year over the past decade, which is slightly higher than to the growth in EPS.
A 10% growth in distributions translates into the dividend payment doubling every seven years. If we look at historical data, going as far back as 1971 we see that Coca-Cola has managed to double its dividend almost every seven and a half years on average.

The dividend payout ratio has remained at or above 50% over the past decade, ignoring last year’s spike caused by the onetime accounting gain referenced above. A lower payout is always a plus, since it leaves room for consistent dividend growth minimizing the impact of short-term fluctuations in earnings.
Currently Coca-Cola is attractively valued at 18.70 times earnings, has a sustainable dividend payout and yields 2.90%. I find PepsiCo (PEP) a better value at the moment, as it is trading at a P/E of 15.70 and yields 3.30%.

Full Disclosure: Long KO and PEP

Relevant Articles:

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

When can you retire on dividends?

The goal of every dividend investor is to one day accumulate a portfolio of income producing stocks, which would throw off a large amount of dividends every month. The goal of living off dividends is achievable, but it takes capital, time, skill or luck in order to get to the magic point.

The magic point is where the dividend income exceeds the expenses of the dividend investor.



In a previous article I discussed how investors can increase their dividend income, in order to reach their crossover point. It is very important to follow a few simple rules in order to create a sustainable dividend producing machine, which would produce dependable income for decades.
First, investors should focus on companies which have a long history of paying and raising dividends. I typically look for companies which have increased dividends for at least ten years in a row.

Second, investors should make sure that these companies are trading at attractive valuations. Paying a P/E of over 20 would lead to poor results, as investors in Coca-Cola (KO) and Wal-Mart (WMT) learned a decade ago.

Third, investors should make sure that the company’s dividend is sustainable out of earnings or cash flows. I typically look for a dividend payout ratio of less than 60% for ordinary stocks. For REITs or Master Limited Partnership I look for FFO Payout and DCF Payout Ratios.

Fourth, investors should perform a qualitative analysis of the dividend paying company they consider for purchasing. This analysis should include understanding how the business makes money, growth prospects, competitive landscape, whether the business has any moat, whether the company has any strong brands, which consumers are loyal to and result in pricing power.

Five, investors should try to build a diversified dividend portfolio consisting of at least 30 individual stocks coming from at least ten sectors. Having exposure to internationally based companies is a plus, despite the fact that most dividend growth stocks derive a major part of their profits from outside the US.

Some of the companies which have strong dividend growth and attractive current yields include:

Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, L.P. (KMP) owns and manages energy transportation and storage assets. This master limited partnership has raised distributions for 15 years in a row and spots a 10 year distribution growth rate of 10.90%/year. Yield: 5.20% (analysis)

Philip Morris International Inc. (PM), through its subsidiaries, manufactures and sells cigarettes and other tobacco products. This tobacco company has raised distributions every year since its spin-off from Altria Group in 2008. Yield: 3.70% (analysis)

Chevron Corporation (CVX), through its subsidiaries, engages in petroleum, chemicals, mining, power generation, and energy operations worldwide. It operates in two segments, Upstream and Downstream. This dividend achiever has raised distributions for 24 years in a row and spots a 10 year distribution growth rate of 8.10%/year. Yield: 3% (analysis)

The Procter & Gamble Company (PG) provides consumer packaged goods in the United States and internationally. This dividend king has raised distributions for 55 years in a row and spots a 10 year dividend growth rate of 10.90%/year. Yield: 3.20% (analysis)

PepsiCo, Inc. (PEP) engages in the manufacture, marketing, and sale of foods, snacks, and carbonated and non-carbonated beverages worldwide. This dividend aristocrat has raised distributions for 39 years in a row and spots a 10 year dividend growth rate of 13%/year. Yield: 3.30% (analysis)

Enterprise Products Partners L.P. (EPD) provides midstream energy services to producers and consumers of natural gas, NGLs, crude oil, refined products, and petrochemicals in North America. This master limited partnership has raised distributions for 14 years in a row and spots a 10 year distribution growth rate of 8.30%/year. Yield: 4.80% (analysis)

Full Disclaimer: Long all stocks mentioned above

Relevant Articles:


This article was featured on Carnival of Personal Finance and Carnival of Wealth.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Dividend Stocks Offering Positive Feedback to Investors

Dividends serve as a reality check for companies and management, a form of positive feedback that helps to check speculation. Managing earnings is easy--any good accountant can do it. But distributing cold cash to shareholders requires a hard economic decision--once paid out it is irretrievable.


Dividend payments, once set, tend to stay set or rise over time, forcing a certain fiscal discipline on a company. Share-buyback plans, by contrast, may be ephemeral. More important from shareholders’ point of view, dividend yields have been essential to total investment performance during extended periods of sluggish growth in stock prices or outright market declines.

Several consistent dividend payers announced dividend increases over the past week:

Kimberly-Clark Corporation (KMB), together with its subsidiaries, engages in the manufacture and marketing of health care products worldwide. The company operates in four segments: Personal Care, Consumer Tissue, K-C Professional & Other, and Health Care. Kimberly-Clark raised its quarterly dividend by 5.70% to 74 cents/share. This dividend aristocrat has managed to raise distributions for 40 years in a row. Yield: 4.10% (analysis)

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (WMT) operates retail stores in various formats worldwide. Wal-Mart raised its quarterly dividend by 8.90% to 39.75 cents/share. This dividend aristocrat has managed to raise distributions for 38 years in a row. Yield: 2.60% (analysis)

Waste Management, Inc. (WM), through its subsidiaries, provides waste management services to residential, commercial, industrial, and municipal customers in North America. The company raised its quarterly dividend by 4.40% to 35.50 cents/share. This dividend stock has managed to raise distributions for 10 years in a row. Yield: 4.10% (analysis)

WGL Holdings, Inc. (WGL), through its subsidiaries, engages in the sale and delivery of natural gas, and provides energy-related products and services. It operates in three segments: Regulated Utility, Retail Energy-Marketing, and Design-Build Energy Systems. The company raised its quarterly dividend by 3.20% to 40 cents/share. This dividend champion has managed to raise distributions for 10 years in a row. Yield: 3.80%

Telephone and Data Systems, Inc. (TDS), a diversified telecommunications company, provides wireless and wireline telecommunications services in 36 states in the United States. Telephone and Data Systems raised its quarterly dividend by 4.30% to 12.25 cents/share. This dividend aristocrat has managed to raise distributions for 38 years in a row. Yield: 1.90%

Deere & Company (DE) provides products and services primarily for agriculture and forestry worldwide. The company raised its quarterly dividend by 12.20% to 46 cents/share. This dividend stock has managed to raise distributions for 10 years in a row. Yield: 2.10%

McGrath RentCorp (MGRC) operates as a business-to-business rental company in the United States. The company raised its quarterly dividend by 2.20% to 23.50 cents/share. This dividend achiever has managed to raise distributions for 20 years in a row. Yield: 3%

Sempra Energy (SRE) operates as an energy services holding company worldwide. The company raised its quarterly dividend by 25% to 60 cents/share. This dividend stock has managed to raise distributions for 9 years in a row. Yield: 4.20%

Teche Holding Company (TSH) operates as the holding company for Teche Federal Bank that offers various financial services in Louisiana, the United States. The company raised its quarterly dividend by 1.40% to 36.50 cents/share. This dividend achiever has managed to raise distributions for 11 years in a row. Yield: 4.10%

Harris Corporation (HRS), together with its subsidiaries, operates as a communications and information technology company that serves government and commercial markets worldwide. The company raised its quarterly dividend by 17.90% to 33 cents/share. This dividend achiever has managed to raise distributions for 11 years in a row. Yield: 3.30%

Southwest Gas Corporation (SWX) engages in the purchase, distribution, and transportation of natural gas in Arizona, Nevada, and California. The company raised its quarterly dividend by 11.30% to 29.50 cents/share. This dividend stock has managed to raise distributions for 6 years in a row. Yield: 2.80%

Westar Energy, Inc. (WR), an electric utility company, engages in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity. The company raised its quarterly dividend by 3.10% to 33 cents/share. This dividend stock has managed to raise distributions for 8 years in a row. Yield: 4.60%

Full Disclosure: long KMB, WMT,

Relevant Articles:


Friday, March 2, 2012

Kimberly-Clark Corporation (KMB) Dividend Stock Analysis 2011

Kimberly-Clark Corporation (KMB), together with its subsidiaries, engages in the manufacture and marketing of health care products worldwide. The company operates in four segments: Personal Care, Consumer Tissue, K-C Professional & Other, and Health Care. This dividend aristocrat has paid uninterrupted dividends on its common stock since 1935 and increased payments to common shareholders every for 39 consecutive years.

The company’s last dividend increase was in February 2012 when the Board of Directors approved a 5.70% increase to 74 cents/share. Kimberly-Clark’s largest competitors include Procter & Gamble (PG), Colgate-Palmolive (CL) and Clorox (CLX).

Over the past decade this dividend growth stock has delivered an annualized total return of 5.70% to its shareholders.
The company has managed to deliver an 4.40% annual increase in EPS since 2001. Analysts expect Kimberly-Clark to earn $4.83 per share in 2011 and $5.25 per share in 2012. In comparison Kimberly-Clark earned $4.45 /share in 2010. The company has managed to consistently repurchase 3.10% of its outstanding shares on average in each year over the past decade.

The company has been trying to increase market share through product innovation and increased marketing. The company is under intense inflation pressure, but is closely. It has worked closely in streamlining operations in the sluggish North American market, eliminating positions and closing several facilities under it’s FORCE plan. Kimberly-Clark plans on realizing $400 – 500 million in annual cost savings through 2013 with its FORCE plan to streamline operations and focus on best practices.

Commodity prices could be detrimental to total costs at the company, as is the competitive nature of developed markets in which Kimberly-Clark does business. As with other consumer products companies, the growth is likely to come from developing and emerging markets, rather than developed markets. Developed markets could benefit from cost cutting and efficiency profits, which would decrease the total price of doing business. Under the company’s global business plan, announced in 2003, it is looking for annual sales growth in the 3%-5% range, EPS growth in the mid to high single digits and dividend increases in line with earnings growth. For more on the global business plan, check this document.


The company’s return on equity has mostly remained above 20% over the past decade, with a few exceptions in 2001 and 2006. Rather than focus on absolute values for this indicator, I generally want to see at least a stable return on equity over time.
The annual dividend payment has increased by 9.70% per year since 2001, which is higher than to the growth in EPS.

A 10% growth in distributions translates into the dividend payment doubling every seven years. If we look at historical data, going as far back as 1974 we see that Kimberly-Clark has actually managed to double its dividend every seven and a half years on average.

The dividend payout ratio has increased from 37% in 2001 to 59% in 2010. A lower payout is always a plus, since it leaves room for consistent dividend growth minimizing the impact of short-term fluctuations in earnings.
Currently Kimberly-Clark is attractively valued at 18 times earnings, has a sustainable dividend payout and yields 4.10%.

Full Disclosure: Long KMB, CL, CLX, PG

Relevant Articles:

Popular Posts