With yields on 10-year Treasury bonds up nearly 1.5% since early May and briefly touching 3.0% last week, the impact of higher rates on stocks continues to be top of mind for investors. The analysts at UBS have feel that, while the backup in rates will be problematic for the highest yielding sectors of the market (telecom, utilities and real estate), it is unlikely to have a negative impact on consistent dividend growth stocks. These stocks are the cornerstone of their divided ruler list of stocks to buy.
In fact, the UBS dividend ruler stocks actually have outperformed the other traditional income areas, rising as a whole more than 2% since May, verses a 10% decline for utilities and telecom and a 14% decline for real estate investment trusts (REITs). Here is a list of top international dividend ruler stocks to buy from UBS.
AstraZeneca PLC’s (NYSE: AZN) longer-term earnings power should be enhanced by its strong presence in emerging markets. Valuations are attractive, relative to peers and history. In addition, the company has a strong pipeline for pharmaceutical and over-the-counter drugs. The Thomson/First Call price target for the stock is $51.50. Investors are paid a strong 5.6% dividend.
British American Tobacco PLC (NYSE: BTI) is one of the big four global tobacco companies. Three-quarters of its business is in emerging markets. It has market leadership in 60 countries. A defensive sector, powerful brands and strong emerging market presence add up to a convincing investment case, particularly in the tobacco sector where emerging market growth compensates for Western market declines. The consensus price target is $120.50. Investors are paid a 4.0% dividend.
Total S.A. (NYSE: TOT) is a France-based, large, integrated oil and gas company. The company’s investment in oil and gas exploration should support production growth in 2013 and beyond. The consensus price target for the stock is posted at $59.90. Shareholders are paid a very solid 4.7% dividend.
Unilever PLC (NYSE: UL) is a huge consumer staples company with a strong and rising exposure to emerging markets (currently more than 40%), and improving performance in its food division should provide ample cash flows to support dividend growth. The consensus price target for this top name is $43.36. Investors receive a good 3.8% dividend.
Novartis A.G. (NYSE: NVS) is estimated by the UBS team to have the potential for better-than-average industry growth, driven by a robust product pipeline, substantial emerging market exposure and faster-growing non-pharmaceuticals businesses. The consensus target for the stock is at $80, and investors are paid a 3.3% dividend.
Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd. (NYSE: TEVA), one of the world’s largest generic drug manufacturers, is well positioned to take advantage of the high number and dollar amount of branded drugs going off-patent over the next few years. An increased commitment to capital redeployment, combined with its low valuation, should reward shareholders. The consensus price target for this market leader is $44. Stockholders are paid a 2.6% dividend.
Pearson PLC (NYSE: PSO) has a leading position in textbooks. The transition to digital is driving strong revenue gains. Improving state government finances is driving a pickup in growth. The consensus price target for the stock is $21.50. Investors are paid a 3.5% dividend.
Sanofi (NYSE: SNY) continues to transform its business by expanding its emerging markets capabilities, focusing on innovation and diversifying through licensing and acquisitions. The consensus price target for the stock is posted at $57. Investors are paid a 2.6% dividend.
One thing for investors to remember is that international stocks like the UBS dividend rulers are a solid addition to any portfolio. While emerging markets have looked very scary this year, there will be a huge growth of the middle-class consumer in those countries over the next 20 years. Most of these stocks are very leveraged to that growth and may provide some outstanding upside for patient stockholders.