Even if the economy is struggling, people still need consumer
staples such as tissues, toilet paper and diapers.
That's helpedKimberly-Clark (
) post fairly steady profit and sales growth over the years, as
well as provide a steady return to shareholders. The consumer
goods giant hasn't been immune to softer spending -- it saw flat
sales the past two quarters.
But that hasn't affected its dividend track record. The
company last month set a quarterly dividend of 81 cents a share.
The 2013 payout marked a 9% increase from 2012. Kimberly-Clark
has paid out a dividend for 79 years and has hiked the rate for
41 years in a row.
Its 81-cent dividend adds up to $3.24 for the year, for an
annualized yield of 3.1%, above the S&P 500's 1.9%. The
payout is also higher than some other personal care product
makers, includingProcter & Gamble 's (
) 2.9% andColgate-Palmolive 's (
The maker of Huggies diapers and Kleenex tissues gets a 2 for
its three-year Earnings Stability Factor, on a scale of 0 to 99,
where the lower number indicates greater stability. Its five-year
factor is 4.
Though analysts recently lowered their full-year earnings
estimate, they still expect 9% growth this year and 7% the
Kimberly-Clark's return on equity has held above 30% the past
seven years, well above the 17% threshold investors should seek.
Its ROE in 2012 was 40.6%.
It also announced plans last month to spin off its health care
unit, which sells surgical gowns, face masks, catheters and other
medical gear. The spinoff, if approved by the company's board, is
expected to be finalized in the third quarter of 2014 and would
create a stand-alone public company with about $1.6 billion in
annual net sales.
The stock is up 24% this year, nearly in line with the S&P
500's 29% gain. It may be consolidating again after clearing a
six-month, saucer-shaped base in late October.