Monday, March 29, 2010

Seven Dividend Stocks in the News

Finding the best dividend stocks is a difficult process. It requires constant screening of the dividend achievers and dividend aristocrat indexes, in order to identify companies which are worth your time to further research. Research entails reading analysts reports, annual company reports, staying up to date on news in the industry and competitors in general and constantly evaluating whether the stock is worth your investment or not. If you find the right dividend stocks however, the rewards could be tremendous. Sometimes however certain stocks would not be widely followed by dividend investors, because of their small size. Another reason could be because they are very close to getting on the dividend achievers list, but are not there yet.

The companies in the news include Realty Income (O), Williams-Sonoma, Inc. (WSM), ConocoPhillips (COP), Raytheon Company (RTN), Brinker International, Inc. (EAT), Starbucks (SBUX) and Hingham Institution for Savings (HIFS).

Realty Income Corporation (O) engages in the acquisition and ownership of commercial retail real estate properties in the United States. The company announced a miniscule distribution increase to $0.1433125 per share from $0.143 per share. This was the 50th consecutive quarterly increase and the 57th dividend increase since this dividend achiever went public in 1994. The stock currently yields 5.60%. Check my analysis of the stock.

Williams-Sonoma, Inc. (WSM) operates as a specialty retailer of home products. The company increased its quarterly dividend to 13 cents/share from 12 cents/share. The company doesn’t have a long enough history of paying rising dividends and yields only 1.90%.

ConocoPhillips (COP) operates as an integrated energy company worldwide. The company raised dividends by 10% to 55 cents/share. This represents the tenth consecutive annual dividend increase for ConocoPhillips. The stock yields 4.30%.

Raytheon Company (RTN) provides electronics, mission systems integration, and other capabilities in the areas of sensing, effects, and command, control, communications, and intelligence systems, as well as mission support services in the United States and internationally. The company boosted quarterly dividends by 21% to 37.50 cents/share. This is the sixth consecutive annual dividend increase for the company. The stock yields 2.60% .

Hingham Institution for Savings (HIFS) provides various financial services to individuals and small businesses in Massachusetts. The company’s board of directors approved a 4.5% increase in its quarterly dividend to 23 cents/share. The company has raised quarterly distributions for 15 consecutive years. The stock is thinly traded, and the market cap is only 70 million dollars. The stock yields 3.30%.

Brinker International, Inc. (EAT) owns, develops, operates, and franchises various restaurant brands primarily in the United States. The company increased its quarterly dividend by 27% to 14 cents/share. This was the first dividend increase since 2007. The company doesn’t seem to have followed a strategy of consistent dividend increases every year. The stock yields 2.90%.

Starbucks (SBUX) engages in the purchase, roasting, and sale of whole bean coffees worldwide. The company’s board of directors approved the first quarterly dividend ever in the company’s 25 year history. The stock would pay 10 cents/quarter. The indicated yield is 1.60%.

I was able to uncover a hidden gem in this week’s overview of dividend increase announcements. The gem is called Hingham Institution for Savings (HIFS), a thinly traded stock with a market capitalization of $70 million dollars. The company yields more than 3%, has a low payout ratio and trades at a P/E of 9. Only 22% of the company’s stock is owned by institutions, and few analysts seem to follow this stock. I would be researching this company of course in a future stock report.

Realty Income (O) seems to keep raising distributions by smaller and smaller amounts. Given the high FFO payout and the lowest yield in years, I view the stock as a hold. The dividend announcement from Starbucks (SBUX) was bullish. If the company manages to boost distributions for at least one decade, I would definitely consider it for inclusion to my portfolio.

Full Disclosure: Long O

Relevant Articles:

- The right time to sell dividend stocks
- Dividend Aristocrats List for 2010
- The right time to buy dividend stocks
- Realty Income (O) Dividend Stock Analysis

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