A Closer Look at Kimberly-Clark Corp.'s Dividend


What income investors can expect from one of the market's longest-running payouts.



Kimberly-Clark (NYSE:KMB) shareholders underperformed the market last year as the consumer products giant missed its growth targets. The owner of hit global brands like Huggies and Kleenex kept up its market-thumping dividend, though, and in fact boosted its payout at a faster rate than in the previous year.

Below, we'll look at the key metrics supporting Kimberly-Clark's dividend to see what income investors can expect from the company in the years ahead.




Has Gilead Sciences Lost Its Way?



Since John Milligan took over as the CEO of Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD) roughly one year ago, the biotech's shares have steadily marched lower to the tune of a 24% decline. And one of the biggest reasons why is Milligan's decision to invest heavily in share repurchases and forgo a large acquisition -- or a series of smaller acquisitions -- to bring in some much-needed revenue.

The $13.5 billion spent on share repurchases in the past year, after all, could have netted a handful of modestly sized acquisitions. For example, Japan's Takeda Pharmaceutical bought Ariad Pharmaceuticals and its leukemia drug portfolio for only $5.2 billion, and Jazz Pharmaceuticals grabbed Celator's acute myeloid leukemia drug Vyxeos for a mere $1.5 billion -- casting doubt on Milligan's prior assertion that valuations were simply too high to warrant an acquisition frenzy. 

The big picture issue is that the bottom has dropped out of the biotech's hepatitis C franchise in the past year, and 2017 is on track to produce another 40% dip in the biotech's hepatitis C sales, according to Gilead's own dismal forecast. Yet Gilead has stubbornly refused to buy a revenue-generating peer to address this issue head on -- despite exiting 2016 with $32.4 billion of cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities and a biotech landscape that arguably sports a surfeit of worthwhile buyout targets.




CVS Health Is 22% Undervalued



CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) is the largest pharmacy services provider in the U.S. comprised of ~9,700 pharmacies and 1,139 minute clinics. CVS is one of the leading Pharmacy Benefit Managers ("PBMs") providing services such as mail-order, prescription plan management, and claims processing. With 1.6B claims processed in 2016, it is the largest PBM as Walgreens (NASDAQ: WBA) processed 740mm. CVS' size gives it premium negotiating power and scale advantages.

Over the last 12 months, CVS's share price is down 23%. I will argue that this selloff is overblown and positions CVS as a quality company that is attractively valued in widely overvalued market.




Hanesbrands: Underappreciated And Undervalued By 30%



Hanesbrands (NYSE:HBI) is one of America's iconic apparel brand manufacturers that is not getting a lot of love lately, which is a shame. Share prices have been weak as slower retail traffic in big box stores takes its toll. Several large brick and mortar retailers have announced sluggish sales and store closings as e-commerce continues to take retail customers away. Several are throwing in the towel altogether. As the battle over online shopping continues to heat up, there could be more pain for retailers as consumers continue to migrate to online shopping.

With such an undercurrent, why would I buy into an apparel maker? The answer is simple, its undervalued, offers strong business model differences, and has a proven track record of expansion through acquisition. Add a history of rewarding shareholders, and HBI would seem like a respectable mid-cap value selection.




Will Ventas Make It To The Final 4?



Last week Ventas, Inc. (VTR) was downgraded from “neutral” to “sell” by Goldman Sachs; however, other analysts have also recently downgraded the $12.6 billion healthcare REIT.

Mizuho cut Ventas from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $63.00 price target on the stock in a report on Monday, November 21st. Evercore ISI cut Ventas from a “hold” rating to an “underperform” rating in a report on Friday, March 3rd. Zacks Investment Research cut Ventas from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Monday, January 9th.

Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating and ten have given a hold rating to the company’s stock. The company has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $62.89

I have not reviewed any of the research reports from the other sell-side analysts, but I thought it would be a good time to take a deeper dive into Ventas to determine whether or not there is any reason to modify my current BUY recommendation.

Also, I’m gearing up for bracketology this week and I’ll be providing head-to-head analysis for Ventas and all other healthcare REITs. Consider this article somewhat of a scouting report, as I examine the pros and cons of Ventas as I determine whether or not the company will make it to the Final Four again this year.




Should You Buy McDonald's 2.0?



Over the last two years, McDonald's Corporation (NYSE:MCD) has unleashed a stream of turnaround-related activities. The world's largest burger chain has simplified its menu while introducing all-day breakfast, closed underperforming stores, infused social consciousness into its brand, trimmed costs, streamlined its decision-making structure, and revised its reportable divisions.

Next up is an anticipated return to bona-fide growth, at least according to the "long-term global growth plan" McDonald's presented during its annual investor day earlier this month.

The plan consists of three major operational initiatives which themselves rest on three "strategic pillars." Taking a cue from the company's breakfast menu tweak last year, known as All Day Breakfast 2.0, we can think of this plan as a blueprint for a post-turnaround McDonald's 2.0.

In this two-part article series, we'll look at both the stated plan and the financial model behind it, to see if McDonald's is primed for both sales and profit resurgence.




Duke Energy Pays Steady Dividends For Retirement Portfolios



Duke Energy (DUK) is a popular holding in many retirement portfolios because of the company’s generous and dependable dividend.

Duke Energy has paid uninterrupted dividends for more than 90 years and increased its payout each calendar year since 2005.

With a dividend yield above 4%, a high Dividend Safety Score, and low stock price volatility, Duke Energy is worth a closer looks.

Let’s review Duke Energy’s business and dividend profile to see if the company is a solid candidate for investors living off dividends in retirement.




The 3 Best Big-Brand Stocks to Buy in 2017

How an investor can profit from global franchises including Tide, Listerine, and "Star Wars" this year.



It's no coincidence that the most successful companies on the planet often control the world's most valuable brands. Intellectual property -- particularly globally recognized and trusted franchises -- delivers higher profits and a defensible market position that translates into a huge competitive advantage for big-brand stocks.

With that in mind, here's why global brand powerhouses Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), and Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) deserve a top spot on investors' watch list for 2017.



3 Reasons Why General Electric Is No Match For Dividend King Emerson Electric


General Electric (GE) and Emerson Electric (EMR) are very similar companies. They operate in the industrial sector, and both are experiencing similar challenges right now, namely the strong U.S. dollar and weak commodity prices.

And, both stocks have attractive 3.2% dividend yields.

But Emerson Electric has one of the most impressive histories of raising dividends in the entire stock market. It has increased its shareholder payout for 60 years in a row.

As a result, it is a member of the Dividend Aristocrats, a group of companies in the S&P 500 that have raised dividends for 25+ years.

Not only that, but Emerson is also on the Dividend Kings list, which includes companies with 50+ years of consecutive dividend increases.

Emerson is one of just 19 Dividend Kings. You can see the entire list of Dividend Kings here.

This article will discuss three major reasons why I prefer Emerson stock over GE.




AT&T Vs. Verizon? It's Not Even Close


I have received several requests from my followers to compare and contrast AT&T (NYSE: T) versus Verizon (NYSE: VZ) over the past weeks as the wireless wars have heated up. In the past week I have spent an inordinate amount of time reviewing the two companies in order to answer this question.

I own both AT&T and Verizon stock currently at equal weights in my portfolio. I, like many of you, had come to the conclusion that the two companies were essentially a duopoly and the prudent thing to do would be to own both to diversify my portfolio and reduce risk. Nonetheless, after performing further due diligence, I have come to the conclusion that AT&T offers a much better investment opportunity going forward for dividend growth and income investors for several reasons. I went back through and read all the past articles comparing the two. Most were focused on the minutia and not the big picture. Most authors basically compare each fundamental statistic side by side and come to the conclusion there is no clear winner.




Notable Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades for Week of March 13, 2017


Upgrades:


Occidental Petroleum Co. (NYSE:OXY) was upgraded by research analysts at Bank of America Corp from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note issued to investors on Wednesday. Continue reading here.

Invesco Ltd. (NYSE:IVZ) was upgraded by Goldman Sachs Group Inc from a “neutral” rating to a “conviction-buy” rating in a research report issued on Wednesday. Continue reading here.

Franklin Resources, Inc. (NYSE:BEN) was upgraded by investment analysts at Bank of America Corp from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating in a report issued on Thursday. Continue reading here.

Barclays PLC (NYSE:BCS) was upgraded by analysts at Morgan Stanley from an “equal weight” rating to an “overweight” rating in a research note issued to investors on Friday. Continue reading here.

National Grid plc (NYSE:NGG) was upgraded by equities research analysts at Societe Generale from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued to investors on Friday. Continue reading here.

Aqua America Inc (NYSE:WTR) was upgraded by investment analysts at Barclays PLC from an “equal weight” rating to an “overweight” rating in a report issued on Friday. The firm presently has a $36.00 target price on the stock, up from their previous target price of $33.00. Barclays PLC’s target price indicates a potential upside of 12.25% from the stock’s current price. Continue reading here.

Downgrades:


Boeing Co (NYSE:BA) was downgraded by analysts at Morgan Stanley from an “overweight” rating to an “equal weight” rating in a research note issued to investors on Monday. They currently have a $190.00 price objective on the aircraft producer’s stock. Morgan Stanley’s price objective indicates a potential upside of 6.32% from the company’s current price. Continue reading here.

American Water Works Company Inc (AWK) was Downgraded by HSBC Securities to ” Hold”. Earlier the firm had a rating of “Buy ” on the company shares. HSBC Securities advised their Clients and Investors in a research report released on Mar 15, 2017. Continue reading here.

Intel Co. (NASDAQ:INTC) was downgraded by equities research analysts at Credit Suisse Group AG from an “outperform” rating to a “neutral” rating in a research note issued to investors on Wednesday. Continue reading here.

Ventas, Inc. (NYSE:VTR) was downgraded by research analysts at Goldman Sachs Group Inc from a “neutral” rating to a “sell” rating in a report released on Wednesday. Continue reading here.

Franklin Resources, Inc. (NYSE:BEN) was downgraded by equities research analysts at Morgan Stanley to an “underweight” rating in a research note issued to investors on Thursday. Continue reading here.

T. Rowe Price Group Inc (NDAQ:TROW) was downgraded by equities researchers at Morgan Stanley from an “equal weight” rating to an “underweight” rating in a report issued on Friday. Continue reading here.

Microsoft Corporations’s Dividend Payments Could Double Within 5 Years

Changes in the cloud continue to benefit MSFT and its shareholders



The technology sector isn’t known for paying out juicy dividends. Companies from the high-growth sector tend to re invest their cash into expanding instead of returning it to investors.

However, 17 years after the dot-com bubble popped in March of 2000, a group of former tech highflyers is quietly evolving into some of the best dividend payers in the S&P 500.

Apple, Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) is a great example. Apple began paying a dividend in 2012, and now offers a 1.6% yield after growing its dividend by 27% in the last three years.

With more than $200 billion in cash, I expect Apple to continue growing its dividend for years to come.

While those stats are impressive, another legendary tech stock offers a better dividend yield and growth. This global leader pays out a 2.4% yield, a 50% premium to Apple’s 1.6% yield. It has grown its dividend by 44% in the last three years, a 63% premium to Apple.

And finally, with just over $100 billion in cash on its balance sheet, I am expecting its dividend payment to grow more than 100% in the next five years.




10 Safe Dividend Stocks to Own During the Next Market Crash

The keys to protection? Fair price, high quality and dividend growth.



With the stock market now entering its ninth year of an epic bull run, and share prices at all-time highs, many investors are worried that dividend stocks, growth stocks — all stocks! — are trading at highly overvalued levels and set for a market crash.

While corrections are inevitable, at the same time history shows us that market timing is the absolute worst thing you can do. In fact, a recent study found that missing just 10 of the best market days in each of the past nine decades would have reduced one’s profits (owning the S&P 500) from 10,055% to just 38%!

In other words, trying to time the market can cripple your returns.

Long-term, buy-and-hold investing in dividend stocks is a great way to build your wealth and income, whether you want to simply live off dividends in retirement or some other life goal.

While the market’s valuation appears high relative to history, interest rates are also at very low levels — even after the Fed’s recent fed funds rate hike — making dividend stocks more attractive. It’s also true that no matter how high the market gets, something is on sale. Reasonably priced stocks with below average volatility also tend to decline less during market down periods, preserving capital.

Essentially, if you buy fairly priced, high-quality, low-volatility dividend growth stocks, such as dividend aristocrats, you can protect yourself from unpredictable market risk.

To help get you started, here are 10 great, safe dividend stocks to consider for your diversified dividend growth portfolio in the event of a market crash. We used our Dividend Safety Scores to identify many of these candidates. In order of yield … Continue reading here à

United Technologies Makes An Attractive Dividend Stock


United Technologies has four attractive business units.

HVAC and Otis Elevator business benefit from oligopolies and increasing residential construction and urbanization.

Pratt & Whitney and aerospace divisions have high barriers to entry and bright long-term growth prospects.

Last year, we added United Technologies (NYSE:UTX) to our dividend portfolio. We think the company has an attractive collection of businesses that should allow it to continue to pay a substantial and growing dividend (current yield as of this writing is 2.35%) far into the future.

The company has four business segments - Otis; UTC Climate, Controls & Security; Pratt & Whitney; and UTC Aerospace Systems. Each accounts for about a quarter of the company's profits except Pratt & Whitney which is a bit smaller and the UTC Climate business which is a bit larger.

What we want to focus on is the competitive position of United in each of its business segments and their long-term growth prospects.




General Mills: A Safe Dividend Stock Down 15% Since July


General Mills (GIS) is a blue chip stock that has paid uninterrupted dividends for 117 years. The company’s dividend has increased each year since 2004 and boasts a 10.4% annual growth rate over the last decade.

Despite General Mills’ impressive history, the company’s stock price is down more than 15% since early July 2016 while the S&P 500 Index has gained over 13%.

With investors’ expectations reduced and the stock’s 3.2% dividend yield sitting above its five-year average yield, now is a good time to review why General Mills remains a core holding in our Conservative Retirees dividend portfolio.




Colgate-Palmolive Company (CL) Dividend Stock Analysis For 2017


Colgate-Palmolive Company (NYSE:CL), together with its subsidiaries, manufactures and markets consumer products worldwide. The company operates in two segments: Oral, Personal and Home Care; and Pet Nutrition. This dividend king has paid dividends since 1895 and has increased them for 54 years in a row.

The company’s latest dividend increase was announced in March 2017 when the Board of Directors approved a 2.60% increase in the quarterly annual dividend to 40 cents/share. This was the slowest rate of dividend increases since 1980 (1). It indicates that the company’s management is cautious about Colgate-Palmolive’s near term business outlook.




Brookfield Infrastructure Partners: A High-Yield, Fast-Growing Utility


Utilities are one of the cornerstones of high-yield portfolios and for good reason. Their generally stable and predictable cash flows, often protected by regulated prices result in most utilities achieving high Dividend Safety Scores. Safe payouts can be a major asset for low risk investors – especially retirees who depend on dividends for funding their living expenses. However, not all utilities require one to sacrifice growth for a safe, high yield.

One global utility in particular, Brookfield Infrastructure Partners (BIP), appears to have a long runway for income growth. Let’s take a closer look at Brookfield Infrastructure Partners for consideration in our Conservative Retirees dividend portfolio.




Johnson & Johnson (JNJ): The Best Stock For Long Term Investors


As an investor, most of us want the triple bagger. We want a sizable return on our money and we take calculated risks to get there. But there is something to be learned from the tortoise and the hare fable. As great as a quick return is, sometimes, we need to invest in a slow and steady performer. In this case, that stock is Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ).

It’s not a sexy pick and it isn’t going to double your money by the end of the year. But if you want solid growth over the long term, then this stock should be in your portfolio.

This article will discuss why you should invest Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) for the long term.




Notable Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades for Week of March 6, 2017


Upgrades:


HP Inc (HPQ) was Upgraded by Wells Fargo to ” Outperform”. Earlier the firm had a rating of “Market Perform ” on the company shares. Wells Fargo advised their Clients and Investors in a research report released on Mar 6, 2017. Continue reading here.

Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS) was upgraded by equities researchers at Societe Generale from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report issued on Tuesday. Continue reading here.

Vodafone Group Plc (NASDAQ:VOD) was upgraded by research analysts at Goldman Sachs Group Inc from a “buy” rating to a “conviction-buy” rating in a report issued on Wednesday. Continue reading here.

Crown Castle International Corporation (NYSE:CCI) was upgraded by Wells Fargo & Co from a “market perform” rating to an “outperform” rating in a research note issued on Wednesday. Continue reading here.

Downgrades:


Citigroup Inc lowered shares of Magellan Midstream Partners, L.P. (NYSE:MMP) from a buy rating to a neutral rating in a report released on Monday morning. Continue reading here.

Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc (LON:RBS) was downgraded by research analysts at Goldman Sachs Group Inc to a “neutral” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Wednesday. They currently have a GBX 275 ($3.36) price objective on the financial services provider’s stock, up from their prior price objective of GBX 270 ($3.30). Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s price objective points to a potential upside of 15.11% from the company’s previous close. Continue reading here.

Kimberly Clark Corp (NYSE:KMB) was downgraded by investment analysts at Societe Generale from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a note issued to investors on Friday. Continue reading here.



7 Cheap Dividend Stocks to Buy Now

These cheap dividend stocks yield no less than 4% and are discounted against free cash flow value



Finding cheap dividend stocks that are actually buy-worthy is tough. On the one hand, you’re looking for significant dividend yield. On the other hand, you’d also like to invest in a business that’s still growing. And on the third hand, you don’t want to overpay.

On top of all that, macroeconomic risks are a constant concern, primarily with interest rates possibly going up.

Fortunately, even if the Federal Reserve does raise rates three times this year as projected, it’ll only be by 25 basis points each at most. For most dividend stocks, that shouldn’t trigger a drop in prices — especially in dividend stocks that have a high enough yield that they’re not competing with Treasuries for attention.

Today, I’m looking at seven cheap dividend stocks to buy now. I’m defining a cheap dividend stock as one that trades at a discount to free cash flow value, and I’m only looking at companies with sound businesses that yield 4% or more.




After Blowout 2016 It's Time To Double Down On Realty Income


Realty Income has long been a staple for high-yield dividend growth investors and for good reason.

"The Monthly Dividend Company" has increased its payout for 77 straight quarters, including a very generous 6% hike in its latest announcement.

The company's growth engine continues to fire on all cylinders, and with shares pulling back from all-time highs, smaller dilution in the coming years promises continued strong payout growth.

Despite the threat of higher interest rates, Realty Income is better situated than most when it comes to generating strong shareholder returns in all kinds of economic/interest rate environments.

Best of all, with strong growth catalysts ahead of it, and a sharp correction in the last few months, shares are now finally worth buying again.

High-quality blue chip REITs such as Realty Income (NYSE:O) have had a spectacular run in this era of historically low interest rates. Thanks to yield-starved income investors piling into safe bond alternatives, its shares have not just crushed the overall market, but even most of REITs.



Soda Wars: Coca-Cola Vs. PepsiCo


Both Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) and PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP) are legendary dividend stocks. They are each members of the Dividend Aristocrats, a group of 51 companies in the S&P 500 with 25+ years of consecutive dividend increases.


PepsiCo has raised its dividend for years, while Coca-Cola's streak is slightly longer. It has increased its dividend for years in a row.

In fact, Coca-Cola has reached an even more exclusive club.

With 55 years of dividend increases under its belt, it is a Dividend King - a select group of 19 stocks with 50+ years of consecutive dividend increases.


Coca-Cola and PepsiCo might seem like identical companies since they dominate the global soda industry.

But they are more different than it seems. This article will discuss which of the two soda giants is the better dividend stock to buy today.



The Next Stock Warren Buffett May Sell

We don't know which stock Buffett will offload next, but we do have some reasons why these three could be on his list.



Superinvestor Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK-A)(NYSE:BRK-B) is well-known for its impressive portfolio of stocks, largely hand-picked by Buffett himself over the past several decades. And while Buffett has said that his favorite holding period is forever, he's done his fair share of selling over the years. Sometimes he sells to raise cash for other investments, and sometimes he sells because he's lost faith in an investment for one reason or another.

We asked three of our top contributors to nominate stocks that they think Buffett may unload next. While we don't have any special access to the Oracle of Omaha's future plans, and it's likely that we will miss the mark with these suggestions, this exercise serves an important purpose: It forces us to look at three great companies and identify something about them that could make them sell-worthy.



Target: A Better Bargain Than Ever?


Target (TGT) investors have seen the company’s stock go through a prolonged downturn over recent months. Unfortunately, this trend appears to be continuing.

On February 28, Target reported earnings that seriously disappointed. The stock fell from $67 to $57.50, and currently sits around ~$59.

It is important to remember that Target’s stock price is not necessarily indicative of the company’s actually per-share value.

Sometimes, stock prices become irrationally disconnected from the value of the underlying business. This is a good thing for the opportunistic investors.

It’s important to remember that Target is a high quality business with a strong history of rewarding shareholders. Target has raised its annual dividend payments for 46 consecutive years, which makes them a member of the elite Dividend Aristocrats (companies with 25+ years of rising dividends).

This article will discuss why Target’s decline presents a buying opportunity, rather than a reason for investors to fear.




The Nike Inc (NKE) Stock Dividend Is a Slam Dunk

NKE stock's solid earnings growth and impressive double-digit dividend growth demand your attention



I have been a big backer of Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX) for a number of years. The company’s strong leadership, impressive growth and iconic brand were all attractive. The dividend was another motive. Management’s focus has led to years of double-digit growth. That’s why I’m kicking myself for missing one very similar stock: Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE).

SBUX stock and NKE stock have essentially mirrored each other over the past five years. I have worn the dunce cap more than once trying to pick growth stocks, value stocks and special-situation plays.




Utility Dividend Growth Match-Up: Southern Company Vs. Consolidated Edison


It is no secret that utility stocks are great for income. They arguably enjoy the most defensive, recession-resistant business model one can find.

This makes them ideal for investors interested in high dividend yields, and safe dividend payouts.

Southern Company (SO) and Consolidated Edison (ED) are two of the largest utilities in the U.S.

Southern has raised its dividend for 15 years in a row. It is a Dividend Achiever, a group of 272 stocks with 10+ years of consecutive dividend increases.

ConEd has reached an even more exclusive level. It a Dividend Aristocrat, since it has raised its dividend for 43 years in a row.

This article will compare and contrast these two utility stocks, and try to determine which one is the better pick for income investors.



8 Dividend Aristocrats That Also Offer Stock Price Growth

These stocks offer more benefits than just a consistently growing dividend Many investors are drawn to the consistency of dividen...