Posts Tagged ‘dividends’
Going by the choppy trading action this year, investment risk with equities is going up.
Recent shocks to the system include events in Ukraine and Crimea, Chinese economic data, and Citigroup Inc.’s (C) failed stress test.
This is a very uneasy stock market, and because the main indices are right around their highs, any shock has the potential to deliver a serious haircut to asset prices. The choppy, trendless action combined with full valuations is the reason why I’ve been advocating taking profits from speculative positions. This stock market is just plain tired out.
First-quarter earnings season is just around the corner, and while it’s looking like we’ll get more of the same from corporations (a meet-or-beat on only one financial metric, revenues or earnings) the stock market needs more than dividends and share buybacks in order for share prices to keep appreciating.
Blue chips, especially, have been coasting along, providing single-digit earnings growth on modest sales. The icing on the cake has been the rising dividends and share repurchases, which the stock market has eaten up over the last two years.
But sentiment is slowly changing regarding share repurchases. Big investors want to see more than these financial tools in the businesses they own. Rising dividends are always great, but you need underlying revenue and earnings growth to sustain the case. And in order to do so, corporations have to make new investments. They’ve been very reticent to date.
Healthy balance sheets are always desirable, but new business investment and innovation is what creates wealth over the long-term. Everything’s been short-term thinking the last few years, and companies … Read More
You know another earnings season is right around the corner because Oracle Corporation (ORCL) and Adobe Systems Incorporated (ADBE) always report their fiscal results just ahead of the calendar quarter end.
Both technology stocks are bellwethers, and while they are mature enterprises, they do help set the tone in sentiment. It’s exactly what the marketplace needs now so investors can have something else to worry about over geopolitical events.
Oracle’s been going through its own issues trying to generate top-line growth. Revenue and earnings the last several quarters have been very modest.
And so have Adobe’s numbers, but Wall Street analysts have been boosting their earnings estimates for the company in 2015 and the stock has doubled over the last 18 months.
Oracle is definitely more of a value play, and the company pays a dividend. Adobe is expensively priced and while much smaller, still boasts a stock market capitalization of approximately $34.0 billion.
In previous quarters, it was pretty obvious what the Street was looking for in terms of earnings results. At the beginning of 2013, investors just wanted to know that corporate earnings would hold up. Then they were happy with modest growth so long as dividends were increased.
This quarter, there doesn’t seem to be a financial metric that the market is looking for just yet. The choppy trading action is a reflection of all the uncertainty in the world, but also a market that hasn’t experienced a material price correction since 2008/2009, which is a long time to go.
As much as a broad stock market correction would be a healthy development for the long-run trend, … Read More
Retail is a tough business to be in and always difficult as an investor. Williams-Sonoma Inc. (WSM) took off after the company beat Wall Street consensus and increased its quarterly dividend by six percent on the back of 4.3 million repurchased shares in fiscal 2013.
The stock moved 10% higher on the day of the company’s earnings report, and it broke out of an eight-month price consolidation.
Williams-Sonoma also operates the “Pottery Barn” and “West Elm” retailers, and is pretty much a unique story in specialty merchandising in terms of its operational success.
Over the last month, a number of Wall Street analysts reduced the company’s earnings expectations for this fiscal year and next. But the company did have good operational success in its fiscal fourth quarter of 2013, with a 10.4% gain in comparable revenue growth among its five retail divisions, with particular strength at West Elm.
Earnings per share increased 8.7% in the fourth quarter, and the dividend increase really pleased investors.
Operationally, Pottery Barn is the company’s largest revenue generator, about double the revenues generated from Williams-Sonoma-branded stores at $1.9 billion last year.
In the fiscal first quarter of 2014, the company expects comparable total sales to grow between four and six percent. The company has been conservative with previous forecasts; many companies have a tendency to lowball their outlooks to make “outperformance” easier.
Williams-Sonoma’s long-term track record is solid, however, and it’s been a good performer on the stock market. Its 20-year chart is featured below:
Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com
The company is doing better than a lot of other retailers, and management said that it … Read More
Among blue chips, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) remains one of the most attractive enterprises for long-term investors.
As a benchmark stock within the entire equity universe and a conglomerate itself of healthcare businesses, it’s reasonable to expect a stock like this to provide a normalized annual return of approximately 10% including dividends.
Johnson & Johnson isn’t typically down for long on the stock market, and most recently, the stock popped higher after dropping to $86.00 a share.
The position’s been toying with $95.00 a share, and this is a ceiling for the stock, according to its recent trading action over the last couple of quarters. If the broader market holds firm, $100.00 a share by year-end would be a fair and attainable price target.
While not robust, earnings have caught up to share prices for many blue chips and countless positions are not overpriced.
Johnson & Johnson has a trailing price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of approximately 19.5 and a forward P/E ratio of around 15. Because of the company’s stellar long-term returns to shareholders, it’s kind of like a golden blue chip, as very few companies have been able to produce such decent and consistent operational growth in their businesses.
Johnson & Johnson’s long-term, split-adjusted stock chart is featured below:
Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com
All blue chips, even those with increasing dividends, experience periods of non-performance, but often to a lesser degree than the broader market. While not offering robust growth, the stability of an enterprise like this company provides peace of mind, in addition to the high likelihood that dividends will increase in the future and that demand for … Read More
Lots of companies are still reporting their financial results, and there are a lot of unique stories out there that are worth following.
AAON, Inc. (AAON) reports this week. We’ve looked at this enterprise several times before in this publication. Company management has an impressive track record of generating consistent growth.
It will be interesting to see if the company can keep its operational momentum. (See “Why This Company Should Be a Case Study in Business Schools.”) Over the medium- to long-term, it’s proven unwise to bet against this well-managed business.
Last year in these pages, we briefly highlighted a very interesting medical device company called Globus Medical, Inc. (NASDAQ/GMED). Based out of Audubon, Pennsylvania, the company specializes in the treatment of spinal disorders and is building its business in a very consistent and methodical way.
The stock stumbled in the fourth quarter of 2012 but has been moving solidly higher as management delivers modest but consistent growth in revenues and earnings.
The company’s two-year stock chart is featured below:
Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com
Stocks with consistent share price performance are golden, and it comes on the back of consistent operational growth. It doesn’t have to be runaway growth or even double-digit growth; institutional investors love medical device stocks, and they will bid them as long as a company delivers on expectations.
Any stock can break down at any time for a multitude of reasons, but I’ve seen so many consistently returning stocks produce better capital gains (over a longer period of time, of course) than many high-flyers.
It’s not that high-flying trades aren’t worth pursuing; rather, within … Read More
A good amount of speculative fervor has come out of this market so far this year, but there’s still quite a bit of valuation froth around.
Across the board, 3D-printer stocks have come back. 3D Systems Corporation (DDD) still boasts a trailing price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of around 150.
Tesla Motors, Inc. (TSLA) is still going strong. It’s one of few super-hyped stocks that made a strong recovery in January after a material sell-off months before. (See “Buy High, Sell Higher: Top Investment Strategy for Buoyant Markets?”) The position just bounced off $265.00 per share. Next year, Wall Street estimates the company will do more than $5.0 billion in sales.
Looking at the stock market currently, there’s a lot of indecisiveness and geopolitical events are overshadowing the action.
Watch large-cap biotechnology stocks (or the NASDAQ Biotechnology Index) for their trading action specifically. This group of stocks reaccelerated strongly in February and is very much overdue for a material correction.
I’ve noticed several key momentum stocks within the group have started rolling over. This should be a strong contributing indicator to the short-term action unrelated to specific events happening in Ukraine.
Gold is holding up well with the geopolitical tensions, and oil prices are too, but to a lesser degree.
Stocks are due for a break. What looked like the makings of a material correction in January, equities reversed direction after the Federal Reserve, once again, reiterated its willingness to be highly accommodative to capital markets.
This kind of market (after such a strong 2013 for stocks) warrants a significant degree of caution. I wouldn’t be jumping onto any bandwagons. … Read More
Among blue chips, 3M Company (MMM) is getting a lot of increased earnings estimates from analysts. For such a mature company, 3M’s been doing very well on the stock market, and it looks to be well-positioned for more capital gains.
At the end of 2013, 3M had approximately 89,000 employees (full-time equivalent), of which 60% were based abroad. The company spends a lot on new research and development, and while many blue chips have been doing everything they can to squeeze costs, 3M keeps spending on new scientific and technology development ($1.57 billion in 2011, $1.63 billion in 2012, and $1.72 billion in 2013).
The largest component of the company’s sales is its industrial business, which makes a lot of product for automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and the automotive aftermarket. Products like tapes, sealants, ceramics, vinyl, polyester, and adhesives are sold to this market, but they’re also sold to electronics, appliance, food and beverage, construction, and paper and printing customers.
Thanks to the acquisition of Ceradyne Inc. in the fourth quarter of 2012, 3M is now one of the top manufacturers of advanced ceramics used for solar, electronics, and defense applications.
The company’s industrial business was 34% of last year’s total sales, growing the most over other operating divisions at 6.5% in U.S. dollars comparatively.
3M has paid a dividend to stockholders since 1914 and just recently increased its first-quarter dividend 34.6% to $0.855 per share, representing the 56th consecutive year of dividend increases. (See “The Six Things I Look for in a Company Before Buying Its Stock.”)
No wonder this stock is doing well. Its … Read More
The NASDAQ Composite index sold off significantly in January to around 4,000. Then it recovered to its current level at 4,300, which is a pretty substantial move.
For a number of months now, the NASDAQ has been outperforming both the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average. This relative outperformance continues to be a positive overall sign regarding sentiment.
I don’t really expect much from stocks this year, although the prospect of rising dividends still remains very good in the bottom half. 2013’s stock market performance was so exceptional and so substantial, especially among blue chips, that it’s time for earnings to catch up with share prices.
Not to be excluded, the performance of the Russell 2000 index has also been relatively strong compared to larger-caps. But this index still can’t quite keep up to the outperformance of the NASDAQ.
Stock market leadership from large-cap technology stocks is always a good thing. And a lot of it has been from older brand-name companies, the kind of former fast-growing stocks that are now almost income plays.
Oracle Corporation (ORCL) has been on the comeback trail after several quarters of disappointing results. This position has been treading water since the beginning of 2011, and its recent breakout on the stock market is not immaterial. The company’s five-year stock chart is featured below:
Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com
Following a similar trading pattern over the last several years, Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) has recently been strong. The stock is up $10.00 a share over the last 12 months, and Wall Street earnings estimates have been going up across the board for this fiscal year and … Read More
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