It has been forecasted for some time, but now it is finally happening—US banks are hiking dividends. After getting the all clear from regulators after successful stress tests, US banks are beginning to hike their dividends. For instance, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup hiked their dividends by 13%+ recently, with both now yielding 2.5% or over. Bank stocks have been beat up over the last year, with Morgan Stanley down 10%, for instance.
FINSUM: On the one hand, bank stocks looked undervalued and now have attractive yields. On the other, if you think we are headed towards a slowdown, then it is not a good time to buy financial shares.
Are you looking for a good dividend stock? Well, we have one for you. How about a stock that has risen 27% this year yet still has a 4% dividend yield and a very solid business? If that sounds good, take a look at Prudential Financial. The company is an asset manager and insurance provider, and has solid growth and financials and seeks to be financially prudent. “We believe in a very consistent and regular dividend that will be aligned with our earnings growth, says the CFO. The company has expected earnings growth of 8% this year.
FINSUM: Prudential is a pretty sleepy name, but there is nothing boring about a 4% dividend combined with earnings growth and market-beating price appreciation.
Something the market has not had to deal with for some time is once again occurring. That change? Slumping buybacks. Hiked dividends and big buybacks have been staples of the this historic bull run, but the latter are starting drying up. Share repurchases shrank for the first time in seven quarters in the second quarter. The total amount of buybacks—over $200 bn—is still quite robust, but it is a sign that companies are tightening up, which could be indicative of the overall direction of the economy.
FINSUM: This is immaterial. In 2018, companies spent $800 bn on buybacks, so $205.8 bn (the 2nd quarter’s figure) is actually ahead of pace.
Dividend stocks have been an interesting case over the last few quarters. In the fourth quarter, when interest rates looked to be headed higher, they actually outperformed the market (counterintuitively). This year, as rates look to be headed lower, they have performed quite well (up 16%), but still lagged a bit behind the S&P 500. The question is where they go from here, and all signs point to higher given the prevailing rates environment and general anxiety. The trick is buying the right ones, as financials and healthcare offer better value than more traditional areas like utilities, real estate, and consumer staples.
FINSUM: We think these are good sector selections as they have not seen as much price inflation as the more common dividend choices. Healthcare seems particularly interesting given that it is quite recession-resistant.
On paper, right now seems like a great time for dividend stocks. The rate environment is trending downward, which is very beneficial, and dividend stocks tend to provide a safe haven for a possible bear market or recession. But which to choose? You need to be careful to select stocks with sustainable payouts or they will have a high beta in a down market. With that in mind, take a look at these 5 dividend stocks: Exxon Mobil (4.6%), Chevron (3.9%), Excelon (2.9%), Prologis (2.6%), and NextEra Energy (2.4%).
FINSUM: These are pretty energy heavy, but the bigger point here is that it is a good time to buy dividend payers.
Markets are getting more volatile by the day. Last week was a rough one and yesterday was total carnage. Investors might be thinking about allocating shares into some safer sectors. With that in mind, here are 7 safe dividend payers to take shelter in: JP Morgan (2.8% yield), Sempra Energy (3.1%), NextEra Energy (2.6%), Air Products & Chemicals (2.3%), Honeywell International (1.9%), McCormick (1.5%), Microsoft (1.5%).
FINSUM: One of the big things to remember here is that with the Fed on hold, the big headwind against dividend stocks is pretty much removed.