As far as I’m concerned, the most impressive performance in equities over the last year has been in high-dividend-paying large-cap stocks. A lot of these blue-chip, widow and orphan type of shares generated rates of return that you’d think would come from the higher growth technology sector—and they are stable businesses that pay dividends!
As always, in the stock market, owning the right stocks at the right time is crucial. There’s been a tremendous performance from companies that have large, international operations and particularly those with substantive interests in Asia. While the domestic economy is growing, it hasn’t been able to generate the kind of growth that’s occurring in a number of Asian countries. This is why companies like DuPont (NYSE/DD) and Deere & Company (NYSE/DE) have been such great stocks recently. Their businesses in Asia are generating impressive returns and they are giving the Street the earnings boost required to get their share prices soaring.
I’ve written before about great stocks like Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE/CAT), which is benefitting tremendously from the construction boom in Asia and is also aided by the growing demand for mining equipment in the rest of the world (what a great story and the concept is so simple—just think about where all the money is being made in the world and CAT is there to supply the appetite.) This large-cap beats them all when it comes to its long-term track record on the stock market. It’s no surprise then that CAT just hit a new all-time record price high on the stock market of $100.00 per share (post split). If you bought this stock in the early 90s at around $7.00 a share (adjusted for stock splits), you’d be up about 14 times your original investment and that’s not including all those quarterly dividend payments. This stock has been so impressive, it makes me consider just buying it at its all-time price high as a long-term holding.
It’s funny how pronounced the business cycle can be and how entire industries can fall out of favor with investors, even though they are still growing. We’ve seen a tremendous recovery in the industrial sector and, while the big returns have already happened, sentiment in the equity market is strong enough for continued incremental returns. Adding to the positive outlook is the fact that most of these stocks aren’t expensively priced. There’s no bubble yet among high-dividend-paying large-caps. This makes the right shoulder of the S&P 500 Index increasingly likely to get formed. After that, it’s anyone’s guess as to where stock prices might go.