In a previous article I outlined that it is getting more difficult to find quality dividend paying stocks to buy. Most of the usual suspects like Kimberly-Clark (KMB) or Colgate-Palmolive (CL) are very overvalued today, which prevents me from adding to my positions there.
Other companies like Chevron (CVX) are attractively valued today, but unfortunately my portfolio is overweight in them. Currently I find the oil sector to be cheap and have some of the lowest P/E ratios in the market. However, I would hate to be concentrated in one sector which is exposed to the fluctuating prices in its commodity products.
In this current environment, I am starting to deviate slightly from my entry criteria on a more consistent basis. I usually avoid paying over 20 times earnings for a company for which I expect earnings and dividend growth, and which I could see holding on for the next 20 years. However, I am willing to bend the rules on consecutive dividend increases or minimum yield requirements. Over the past five years, I have increasingly come to realize that buying a quality company as a long term investment at a reasonable valuation is more important than simply purchasing a company that fits a certain set of quantitative criteria.
Over the past week, I purchased stock in eleven businesses. I have outlined these businesses below. Some of these purchases represented additions to existing positions, although a few represented new positions.
Aflac (AFL), through its subsidiary, American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus, provides supplemental health and life insurance products. Aflac has managed to boost dividends for 30 years in a row, and has a ten year dividend growth rate of 19.30% per annum. The company is really cheap at 9.70 times earnings, but has the capacity to grow profits in the foreseeable future through strategic partnerships in Japan and U.S. markets and increasing number of sales associates. One of the opportunities for growth could be U.S., which accounts for roughly only a quarter of revenues. It is amazing that a company deriving 70-75% of revenues from Japan could achieve such astounding growth over the past 30 years. Currently, the stock trades at 9.70 times earnings and yields 2.30%. Check my analysis of Aflac.
American Realty Capital Properties (ARCP) owns and acquires single tenant, freestanding commercial real estate that is net leased on a medium-term basis, primarily to investment grade credit rated and other creditworthy tenants. I like the fact that management is aggressively purchasing assets, acquiring companies and working towards increasing Funds from Operations for shareholder distributions. I can easily view this REIT becoming the next Realty Income in a few years. The risk of course is that they overpay for acquisitions, and this ends up costing existing shareholders big time. The REIT has raised dividends since going public in 2011. This REIT currently yields 6.20%.
ConocoPhillips (COP) explores for, produces, transports, and markets crude oil, bitumen, natural gas, liquefied natural gas, and natural gas liquids on a worldwide basis. I am attracted to the above average yield on ConocoPhillips, in comparison to Exxon (XOM) and Chevron. Unfortunately Chevron is already one of my highest weighted positions, which is why ConocoPhillips was the second U.S. oil choice. I am building my position in the stock with this purchase. The company is extremely well run, has a history of disposing out of non-core assets such as Lukoil (LUKOY) and Kashagan Project, and sending cash to shareholders in the process. The company has increased dividends for 13 years in a row, and has managed to boost them by 15.10% per year over the past decade. Currently, the stock trades at 10.70 times earnings and yields 4.20%. Check my analysis of ConocoPhillips.
Dr Pepper Snapple Group (DPS) operates as a brand owner, manufacturer, and distributor of non-alcoholic beverages in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. The company has a portfolio of strong brands in North America, and is cheaper than its two larger rivals. The opportunities involved are gaining back international distribution rights to its name and expanding non carbonated products. Even if it doesn’t do these things, the company can easily repurchase of stock each year, grow earnings in the low single digits and pay a 3% dividend, for a total return of high single digits or low double digits. Currently, the stock trades at 15.60 times earnings and yields 3.30%.