SPECIAL REPORT The Top 7 Stocks for 2024

4 Dividend Stocks to Buy in Fall 2023

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  • These dividend stocks look like attractive buys for this fall.
  • American Tower (AMT): This REIT has increased dividends for 13 consecutive years.
  • Dollar General (DG): Dollar General’s dividend yield is at an all-time high.
  • Eversource Energy (ES): Its forward dividend yield is at its highest in a decade.
  • General Mills (GIS): General Mills hasn’t cut its dividend in 122 years.
dividend stocks - 4 Dividend Stocks to Buy in Fall 2023

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The American stock market has struggled in September 2023, a historically volatile month. The combination of higher interest rates and oil prices has taken the wind out of the market’s momentum.

However, many equities are mispriced as investors fret about the future and focus on tech and growth companies. This fact presents investors with some bargains. Moreover, buying dividend growth stocks or adding to existing positions makes sense when they are bargains.

Below are four dividend stocks to buy in fall 2023.

American Tower (AMT)

American Tower Corporation logo on a smartphone with the website in the background on a computer screen. AMT stock.
Source: T. Schneider / Shutterstock

American Tower (NYSE:AMT) is one of the few publicly traded data center real estate investment trusts (REITs). The company owns and operates U.S. data center facilities and more than 226,000 communication sites globally in 25 countries. The communication sites are cell phone towers, like monopole, lattice, guyed and stealth types.

American Tower usually owns the tower structure and can support four to five tenants. The tenants typically own and operate the antenna equipment, base station and HVAC. The REIT grows by adding more towers and leasing more space on them. The leases with escalators are five to 10 years long and are typically non-cancellable, providing for a consistent recurring revenue stream. Moreover, the transition to 4G, LTE, 5G, and more device connections drives demand for more data capacity.

In 2021, American Tower acquired CoreSite Realty, adding 20 interconnected data center facilities.

The Trust’s strategy works well because rental revenues have grown annually over the past five years from about $7.3 billion in 2018 to $10.4 billion in 2022. Operating income has trended up, too. However, net income has fluctuated more because of asset write-downs.

American Tower has rewarded shareholders with 13 years of increasing dividends, making the stock a Dividend Contender. The dividend growth rate is about 17.5% in the past five years and 21% in the last decade. Because the real estate sector has struggled in 2022 and 2023, the forward dividend yield has climbed to 3.9%.

The declining share price has caused the valuation to fall in parallel. The REIT trades at a forward price-to-FFO of about 17x. Investors seeking a market leader with a wide moat should look at this stock.

Dollar General (DG)

Dollar General (DG) store front with yellow store sign, midday
Source: Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock.com

Next on this list is Dollar General (NYSE:DG), the ubiquitous dollar store retailer. The company sells merchandise in four categories: consumables, seasonal, home products and apparel. About 80% of its items are offered at $5 or less, with 77% of sales from consumables. Dollar General operated 19,488 stores as of May 5. Most stores are in towns with 20,000 or fewer people and are about 7,400 square feet. Total revenue was $37.8 billion in 2022 and $37.8 billion in the last 12 months.

Dollar General grows by adding more stores, increasing consumer traffic and raising checkout amounts. The retailer is aggressive in adding stores, typically opening almost 1,000 annually. On top of that effort, it remodels hundreds to thousands of stores. Additionally, the company started the new pOpshelf store concept and is expanding internationally in Mexico for the first time. This blueprint has proven successful over time. Revenue has grown at about 9% on average each year, while earnings per share has grown even faster at a 14.9%-plus compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in the past decade.

The retailer only started paying dividends in 2012 and is a Dividend Challenger with nine annual increases. The plunging stock price has caused the dividend yield to spike to about 2.2%, the highest ever. Furthermore, the safety is solid with a conservative payout ratio of only 25%. This modest value will allow for more increases.

Dollar General’s share price is down a whopping 56% year-to-date because inflation and interest rates are stressing its core customers. The firm is facing challenges in 2023 but is still profitable. In the meantime, the earnings multiple has declined to about 13.6x, below the five-year and 10-year ranges. Investors may want to dip into this stock now.

Eversource Energy (ES)

multiple powerline towers are shown against a sunset and a distant city skyline. AQN stock
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Eversource Energy (NYSE:ES) is a diversified utility in the northeastern United States. It is one of the few utilities in the country providing regulated water, gas and electricity service. The utility serves more than four million customers in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

The utility grows organically by increasing its base rate and adding more customers. It invests in transmission, distributio, and generation infrastructure and submits for rate increases with its regulator. The most significant project is the 1,735 MW offshore wind generation joint venture.

Because the northeast part of America grows slowly, Eversource Energy has acquired competitors. It purchased NStar’s Massachusetts utilities in 2012, Aquarion in 2017 and Columbia Gas in 2020. The growth plan is working, as total revenue has increased annually since 2018, and net income has trended up.

Eversource Energy became a Dividend Champion in 2023 with 25 consecutive years of increases. The company plans to increase the dividend at a 5% to 7% compound annual rate, the same as earnings growth. Moreover, the dividend is safe with a 62% payout ratio and a lower to upper medium investment grade credit rating. The forward dividend yield is 4.3%, the highest in a decade. In addition, the dividend quality grade is outstanding at an A+.

Like almost all utilities, the share price has been under pressure because of rising interest rates. The price-to-earnings ratio is the lowest since the worst months of the Covid-19 pandemic. We view the stock as a long-term buy.

General Mills (GIS)

General Mills Cereal, GIS stock
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General Mills (NYSE:GIS) is a company almost everyone knows. It sells over 100 packaged food brands, like Cheerios, Old El Paso, Cascadian Farms, Chex, Blue Buffalo, Yoplait, Fiber One, Bisquick, Muir Glen, Haagen-Daz, Pillsbury, etc. In addition, the firm is one of the largest in the packaged foods business, with total revenues of $22,094 million in fiscal 2022 and $20,281 million in the trailing 12 months.

The firm grows through product extensions, buying bolt-on brands, expanding distribution, price hikes, and mergers and acquisitions (M&A). The packaged foods business is fiercely competitive, but General Mills is a market leader and consolidator. Over time, the company has grown, and revenue and EPS have increased annually since 2018.

That said, General Mills had a tailwind during the pandemic but is now facing headwinds. Consumers are no longer eating at home as much, and sales volumes are falling. Margins are also under pressure because of inflation. The packaged food company has raised prices appreciably to counter inflation’s impact.

General Mills’ dividend growth streak is only four years because it paused raises in 2019 after the Blue Buffalo acquisition. However, it has not made a dividend cut for 122 years, signifying the strength of its business model. The forward dividend yield is about 3.6%, slightly above the five-year average. But the dividend is only growing from 1% to 2% annually. The moderate payout ratio of approximately 53% gives confidence about the safety.

The share price is under pressure and down 22% for the year, and the P/E ratio is about 14.5x. We see the stock as undervalued and a long-term buy.

On the date of publication, Prakash Kolli held LONG positions in DG and GIS. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.

The author is not a licensed or registered investment adviser or broker/dealer. He is not providing you with individual investment advice. Please consult with a licensed investment professional before you invest your money.


Article printed from InvestorPlace Media, https://investorplace.com/2023/09/4-dividend-stocks-to-buy-in-fall-2023/.

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