With the start of historically weak summer months for the U.S. stock market, investors are honing in on the dividend growth strategy for a consistently increase their payout. As such, investors can enjoy rising current income while anticipating capital appreciation irrespective of market conditions.
A Peep into the Strategy
Stocks that have a strong history of dividend growth generally act as a hedge against economic or political uncertainty as these belong to mature companies, which are less susceptible to large swings in the market while simultaneously offer downside protection with their consistent increase in payouts.
These stocks pose a sustainable business model, a long track of profitability, rising cash flows, good liquidity, a strong balance sheet and some value characteristics. All these superior fundamentals make dividend growth a promising investment as opposed to their traditional dividend counterparts. Further, a history of strong dividend growth indicates that a future hike is likely. This makes the portfolio healthy and safe.
Furthermore, these have a long history of outperformance over the long term. However, it does not necessarily mean that they have the highest yields.
Here are the screening parameters that could result in a winning dividend growth portfolio:
5-Year Historical Dividend Growth greater than zero: This selects stocks with a solid dividend growth history.
5-Year Historical Sales Growth greater than zero: This represents stocks with a strong record of growing revenue.
5-Year Historical EPS Growth greater than zero: This represents stocks with a solid earnings growth history.
Next 3–5 Year EPS Growth Rate greater than zero: This represents the rate at which a company’s earnings are expected to grow. Improving earnings should help companies sustain dividend payments.
Price/Cash Flow less than M-Industry: A ratio less than M-industry indicates that the stock is undervalued in that industry and that an investor needs to pay less for better cash flow generated by the company.
52-Week Price Change greater than S&P 500 (Market Weight): This ensures that the stock appreciated more than the S&P 500 over the past one year.
Top Zacks Rank: Stocks having a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and 2 (Buy) generally outperform their peers in all types of market environment.
VGM Style Score of B or better: This is simply a weighted combination of Value, Growth and Momentum. This when combined with a Zacks Rank #1 or #2 offers the best upside potential.
Here are five of the 17 stocks that fit the bill:
MKS Instruments, Inc. (MKSI - Free Report) : This Massachusetts-based company is a leading worldwide developer, manufacturer and supplier of instruments, components and subsystems used to measure, control and analyze gases in semiconductor manufacturing and similar industrial manufacturing processes. The company has seen strong earnings estimate revision of $1.00 over the past 90 days for this year and has an expected earnings growth rate of 63.83%. It has a VGM Style Score of B and sports a Zacks Rank #1. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
Westlake Chemical Corporation (WLK - Free Report) : This Texas-based company is a vertically integrated international manufacturer and supplier of petrochemicals, polymers and fabricated products. It has seen solid earnings estimate revision of five cents for this year over the past three months, with an expected earnings growth rate of 12.82%. The stock has a Zacks Rank #2 and a VGM Style Score of B.
Anthem Inc. (ANTM - Free Report) : This Indiana-based company operates as a health benefits company in the United States. The stock has seen positive earnings estimate revision of 25 cents over the past 90 days for this year with an expected earnings growth rate of 6.86%. The stock has a Zacks Rank #2 and a VGM Style Score of A.
Lear Corporation (LEA - Free Report) : This Michigan-based company is a global leader in designing, developing, engineering, manufacturing, assembling and supplying automotive seating, electrical distribution systems and related components primarily to automotive original equipment manufacturers worldwide. For this year, the company has seen an impressive earnings estimate revision of 62 cents over the past 90 days and has an expected earnings growth rate of 15.46%. It has a Zacks Rank #2 and a VGM Style Score of A.
Lazard Ltd. (LAZ - Free Report) : This Bermuda-based company is a preeminent international financial advisory and asset management firm that has long specialized in crafting solutions to the complex financial and strategic challenges of their clients. The company has seen solid earnings estimate revision of 20 cents over the past 90 days for this year and has an expected earnings growth rate of 9.14%. It has a Zacks Rank #2 and a VGM Style Score of B.
You can get the rest of the stocks on this list by signing up now for your 2-week free trial to the Research Wizard and start using this screen in your own trading. Further, you can also create your own strategies and test them first before taking the investment plunge.
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Disclosure: Officers, directors and/or employees of Zacks Investment Research may own or have sold short securities and/or hold long and/or short positions in options that are mentioned in this material. An affiliated investment advisory firm may own or have sold short securities and/or hold long and/or short positions in options that are mentioned in this material.
Disclosure: Performance information for Zacks’ portfolios and strategies are available at: https://www.zacks.com/performance.
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