Some investors seek out high-octane growth stocks that can be
highly volatile but may yield outsize gains.
On the other end of the spectrum are those who prefer a
less-thrilling ride: slow but stable earnings and stock
performance, and regular dividend payouts.
The screens on this page are geared for the latter camp. They
filter for stocks offering solid and growing dividends, very
stable annual earnings and other characteristics that help them
maintain a steady dividend flow.
Today we'll focus on four stocks in very different businesses,
but all with a dividend yield of 3.1% or 3.2%. That's well above
the S&P 500, which currently yields 1.89%.
), a distributor of food and related service items, is expected
to extend a streak of slowing profits for a sixth quarter when it
reports Aug. 11. But it leads the quartet with an annualized
yield of 3.2%. Its three-year Earnings Stability Factor is 3 on a
scale from 0 (most stable) to 99 (least stable).
Cereal makerGeneral Mills (
) (3.1% yield), which has an Earnings Stability Factor of 2, has
grown its earnings each year since 2007. Analyst forecasts call
for 6% growth for the fiscal year ending in May 2015, and 7% in
fiscal 2016. The stock may be shaping a new flat base. It rose 7%
from a late-March breakout to its early-June high.
Lockheed Martin (
) (3.1% yield) climbed past a 168.97 flat-base buy point last
week and is still hovering low in the 5% buy range. The defense
contractor notched profit gains the past six quarters, though
sales declined during each of those periods. Its Earnings
Stability Factor is 3.
Spectra Energy (
) (3.1% yield) has risen about 10% since clearing a 38.83
flat-base buy point in mid-April. It belongs to the Oil&Gas
Transport/Pipeline group, which ranked No. 7 in Tuesday's issue.
Spectra's Stability Rating of 8 is less stable than the others.
But its 97 Composite Rating outperforms.