Despite the consolidation in the broader market, there have been some tremendous stock-market performances recently, and the standouts have been large-caps.
Take Kraft Foods Inc. (NYSE/KFT), for example. This stock traded between $30.00 and $32.00 per share from last September to this April, and the stock has finally broken out of that trading range. It recently hit a new 52-week high of $35.10 per share, and that’s knowing that raw-material costs are going up.
Also doing well in this market is Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (NYSE/ADP), which is benefitting from the improvement in private-sector employment. This stock has been going up steadily since last summer—almost in a straight line. It was an obvious trade. As the economy slowly gets better, so does employment, and so does the need for payroll services.
Then, there’s pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline plc (NYSE/GSK), which recently saw its share price accelerate significantly, while still offering a five-percent yield. And we can’t forget one of my perennial favorites, PepsiCo, Inc. (NYSE/PEP), which accelerated tremendously over the last four weeks on solid first-quarter earnings and a good outlook for the future. The position just hit a new 52-week high and is still paying a three-percent yield.
With no big catalyst for institutional investors to buy stocks, investors with money to spend have been buying up yield—that’s right, investors have been migrating to stocks that pay good dividends. It’s a signal that investor sentiment in this market is maturing and that there aren’t a lot of reasons to be buying non-dividend-paying equities when growth expectations are relatively modest.
Interest in dividend stocks always occurs in waves of enthusiasm. That’s why so many higher-dividend-paying equities stagnate for periods of time then experience meaningful capital appreciation in spurts. That’s exactly what’s been happening recently, and it’s made large-caps one of the best places to be for equity portfolios.
Speculative excess has been withdrawn from the equity market over the last several months, and enthusiasm has turned to large-caps. I expect this trend to continue over the next quarter or two, and this bodes well for the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
The great thing about investing in large-cap, dividend-paying stocks is that, for the most part, they are always around, and they can make just as much money as, if not more money than, the best high-flyer. They just take a little bit more time. Just pull up a 10- or 20-year stock chart on PepsiCo, and you’ll see wealth creation. It’s been awesome—and you would have slept at night.