U.S. stock markets have been witnessing an impressive rally since the beginning of October. Recently released several data have clearly shown that inflation is dwindling, albeit at a slow pace. A large section of market participants believes that as peak inflation is likely behind us, the Fed will relax its tighter monetary control.
However, we are not out of the woods as inflation remains elevated. On Nov 17, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said that the Fed needs to keep raising rates because policy tightening has so far had only limited effects on observed inflation. The target policy needs to rise to at least 5.00% to 5.25% from the current level of just below 4.00% to be sufficiently restrictive.
Bullard’s comment is being perceived as a pushback from the Fed’s recent stance of trying to reassure the markets that it would slacken its stringent policy measures to avoid a hard-landing of the economy. Investors are concerned that a higher interest rate will lead to a recession in 2023.
Stocks in Focus
At this stage, dividend-paying stocks should be in demand as investors will try to safeguard their portfolio. We believe that one should consider stocks that have recently raised their dividend payments. Five such companies are
Agilent Technologies Inc. ( A Quick Quote A - Free Report) , KeyCorp ( KEY Quick Quote KEY - Free Report) , Griffon Corp. ( GFF Quick Quote GFF - Free Report) , Group 1 Automotive Inc. ( GPI Quick Quote GPI - Free Report) and Suncor Energy Inc. ( SU Quick Quote SU - Free Report) . Agilent is benefiting from continued strong growth in the pharmaceutical market. Solid momentum across the Life Sciences & Applied Markets Group (LSAG) and the Agilent Cross Lab Group (ACG) segments is contributing well to top-line growth.
We expect LSAG and ACG revenues to grow respectively 7.2% and 8.2% year over year in fiscal 2022. Growth in Liquid Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry instruments, Consumables and Chemistries, and Cell Analysis platforms remains a tailwind. Agilent carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) at present. You can see
. the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here
On Nov 17, 2022, Agilent declared that its shareholders would receive a dividend of $0.2250 per share on Jan 25, 2023. It has a dividend yield of 4.3%. Over the past 5 years, Agilent has increased its dividend five times, and its payout ratio presently stays at 17% of earnings.
Check A’s dividend history here. Griffon is a diversified management and holding company conducting business through wholly-owned subsidiaries. GFF oversees the operations of its subsidiaries, allocates resources among them and manages their capital structures.
Griffon provides consumer and professional, and home and building products in the United States, Europe, Canada, Australia, and internationally. GFF offers direction and assistance to its subsidiaries in connection with acquisition, growth opportunities and divestitures. GFF currently carries a Zacks Rank #3.
On Nov 17, 2022, Griffon declared that its shareholders would receive a dividend of $0.10 per share on Dec 16, 2022. GFF has a dividend yield of 1.2%. Over the past 5 years, Griffon has increased its dividend seven times, and its payout ratio presently stays at 11% of earnings.
Check GFF’s dividend history here. Group 1 Automotive’s diversified product mix along with omnichannel efforts bode well. GPI is riding on the strength of consumer demand in the United States and UK. Order backlog in the UK is likely to fuel pent-up demand and aid GPI’s performance in 2023. Acquisitions of dealerships and franchises to expand and optimize its portfolio act as major tailwind.
In 2021, Group 1 Automotive completed transactions representing $2.5 billion of acquired revenues. Buyouts of the Toyota dealership and others in the quarter are likely to aid its top-line. The AcceleRide platform, GPI’s online retailing initiative, aids Group 1’s long-term prospects and used-vehicle inventory. GPI currently carries a Zacks Rank #3.
On Nov 16, 2022, Group 1 Automotive declared that its shareholders would receive a dividend of $0.39 per share on Dec 15, 2022. GPI has a dividend yield of 0.81%. Over the past 5 years, Group 1 Automotive has increased its dividend 13 times, and its payout ratio presently stays at 3% of earnings.
Check GPI’s dividend history here. Suncor Energy is Canada's premier integrated energy company. SU’s operations include oil sands development and upgrading, conventional and offshore crude oil and gas production, petroleum refining, and product marketing. Suncor Energy is one of the largest owners of oil sands in the world. SU currently carries a Zacks Rank #3.
On Nov 17, 2022, Suncor Energy declared that its shareholders would receive a dividend of $0.3911 per share on Dec 23, 2022. SU has a dividend yield of 4.3%. Over the past 5 years, SU has increased its dividend 14 times, and its payout ratio presently stays at 25% of earnings.
Check SU’s dividend history here. KeyCorp’s inorganic growth initiatives and continued focus on improving fee income are likely to keep aiding the top line. Solid loans and deposit balances, and rising interest rates are expected to further aid net interest income and margin growth. Further, KEY’s enhanced capital deployment activities indicate solid balance sheet and liquidity positions. KEY currently carries a Zacks Rank #3.
On Nov 17, 2022, KeyCorp declared that its shareholders would receive a dividend of $0.205 per share on Dec 15, 2022. KEY has a dividend yield of 4.4%. Over the past 5 years, SU has increased its dividend five times, and its payout ratio presently stays at 36% of earnings.
Check KEY’s dividend history here.