Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Attractively valued dividend stocks to consider today

With the stock market hitting all-time highs pretty much every day, there are not that many stocks that have low valuations today. Some of my favorite companies such as Coca-Cola (KO) are trading at over 22 times earnings, which is above what I am willing to pay for this otherwise excellent business.

As a result I focused on the list of dividend champions, and uncovered the following attractively valued companies with low p/e ratios. I tried to look for dividend champions with yields above 2%, payout ratios below 60% and P/E ratios around 16 or lower. Despite the fact that current yields on this list are low, these companies offer good values in today’s overheated market. With low dividend payout ratios and attractive dividend growth, these low valuations offer a great entry point for investors who have at least ten or twenty years to let the investment compound.

I also added Ameriprise Financial (AMP) to this list, because I was researching it for inclusion to my portfolio, despite the fact that the company has raised distributions for less than 25 years. As most of these companies yield less than 2.50%, I would monitor them and try to add on dips. For example, back in April, I initiated a position in IBM (IBM) when the stock market punished the stock below $200/share, thus locking a 2% yield for a low valuation business with excellent EPS growth potential. Early in 2013 I was able to add to positions in Yum! Brands (YUM) and Family Dollar (FDO) after investors punished the stocks as well. That is why any type of irrational weakness must be explored by the enterprising dividend investor. Despite the high P/E on Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) today, it looks like the company trades at a P/E of around 15 based on forward 2013 estimates, so it could be one company to check out. The ability to look beyond the numbers could uncover attractively valued stocks in todays market.

While I would not be adding to my positions in Coca-Cola (KO) or Colgate-Palmolive (CL) at current valuations, the 13 companies listed above will be the types of stocks to consider when adding new money to my portfolio on dips. This should be done of course only after thoroughly researching the business, and then paying an attractive entry price.

The traditional blue chip companies I have held on for so many years, such as Coca-Cola, Colgate-Palmolive and many others which have attracted my new capital contributions for the past five years are no longer making sense to buy. As a result, the overvalued markets have caused me to be more creative in uncovering successful businesses, that can deliver better performance in the future. I am willing to purchase a stock yielding 2% today, if the valuation is low at say 15 times earnings and if there are catalysts for future growth. At the end of the day, a company yielding 2%-2.50% that trades at a P/E of less 15 that grows dividends above 7%/year will be more valuable than a company yielding 3.00%, trading at a P/E of over 22 and growing at 7%.

I would try to avoid value traps during the individual analysis I perform. I would try to stay away from known problems that can be disastrous. As a result, I am avoiding technology stocks like Intel (INTC), which might not be able to grow earnings per share over the next decade per my analysis of the situation. In addition, I did not include Cardinal Health (CAH) on this list, because it has been losing customers such as Walgreens (WAG), and has contracts with CVS (CVS) up for renewal in June. That is despite the fact that Cardinal Health has raised dividends for 17 years, trades at a P/E of 13.60 and yields 2.60%

I would much rather avoid losing money, than miss out on the next hot stock. The importance is to focus on quality, which unfortunately usually lies in the eyes of the beholder. A small leak can sink a big ship. Companies which are losing customers, companies that have advantages which are not durable (such as tech companies), or companies which are cyclical are to be avoided. I am not interested in companies which look undervalued today, but whose profitability might suffer, thus making them overvalued in hindsight.

Full Disclosure: Long IBM, KO, CL, AFL, APD, CVX, MDT, UTX, WMT, WAG, AMP

Relevant Articles:

Is Intel Corporation the Ultimate Value Trap for Investors?
How to invest when the market is at all time highs?
High Yield Dividend Investing Misconceptions
My Entry Criteria for Dividend Stocks
Evaluating Dividend Growth Stocks – The Missing Ingredient


  1. Hello Dividend Growth Investor,

    I'm based in the UK and have been following your site closely for the last 6 months now. I'm building up a portfolio of FTSE 100listed dividend stocks for my retirement portfolio.

    I have been reading your past blogs and was wondering if you ever listed your actual entire portfolio of dividend stocks that you hold today ?

    I noted a fellow blogger, Dividend Mantra has listed his holdings.

    I would like to add some high quality USA stocks to my portfolio.

    Thank You.
    Jon from the UK.

  2. Great list, glad you are still finding attractive opportunities to invest in during this heated market. I agree there are still some good companies at decent valuations worth checking out. I'm tired of hearing others complain about there being nothing worth buying right now because the market is at all time highs. I think that is simply not the case and you show that here.
    I've been interested in Cardinal Health but was scared off as well when they didn't get their contract renewed with WAG. Will be interesting to see what happens with this company.

  3. Nice list - I own several of these, AFL, APD, CVX & WMT. I've got room for another buy with some accumulated divs looking for a place to go.

  4. Hello Anon,

    I do not publish my portfolio holdings. You can elude as to what I own based on recent articles. I have found that new readers end up reading what I own, which is not a good idea, bc some of my holdings have been purchased several years ago and are not good buys today.

    Dan Mac,

    There are so many attractively valued companies, it is scary. One just has to focus on things that matter - low P/E entry and EPS growth potential. Even if yield is 2% it is not too bad for someone who will hold the stock for 20 - 30 years ( assuming your analysis determines the company would be there in 20 - 30 years)

    I am running low on cash, which is why I would probably have to curtail my "spending" for a few months. I bought IBM and AMP recently. I almost bought DLR, but am waiting for a dip to 62.40.


    Thanks for reading. Those are good picks, but not automatic buys of course.

  5. I agree with you and Dan Mac. Even though the market has risen to all-time high, there are still several pockets of value if you look hard enough to find them.

    Since I buy individual stocks and not the whole market, I don't care what the market as a whiole is doing. Each stock has its own story and should be analyzed on its own merit. As you mentioned, some stocks are overly punished for no apparent reasons.

    Thanks for the list by the way. I'll check these stocks out.

  6. Hello DGI,

    Thanks for your article. It was very informative.

    I am concerned a bit about APD. From looking at the company's cash flow statement, it doesn't look like the company has generated enough free cash flow to cover its dividend payments over the last couple of years. Unless this is just a short-term hiccup, this could put the company's string of dividend increases at risk.

    Also, while current P/E is important, what I like to pay attention to is where the current P/E of the company is relative to where it has been over the last several years. For me, this helps to paint a better picture as to whether the stock is under or over-valued.

    Thanks very much for your article.


  7. Hi Dave,

    Currently the P/E for APD is fair relative to where it has been.

    As far as cash flows, I do not pay as much attention to them as I focus on EPS mostly. It looks like APD is spending more on CAPEX than the amount of Depreciation, which means it is investing in the growth of the business/expanding capacity.

    It is funding expansion by issuing debt. With rates for 5 year bonds below 2%, and rates for 10 year bonds at 3%, I would not blame them for using debt.


Questions or comments? You can reach out to me at my website address name at gmail dot com.

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