With the holiday and the traditionally slow dog days of August over, trading volume and the equity capital markets should all start returning to normal. With only one-third of 2014 left, many stock investors are trying to decide how to situate their portfolio with the market topping 2,000 on the S&P 500, and other indices hitting all-time highs.
One good way to proceed in September, and perhaps the rest of the year, is to stick with the top large-cap blue chip names. That is particularly true of those companies that pay solid dividends and can be counted on continuing to do so.
In a new research report from the UBS CIO Wealth Management Research team, they continue to have a very favorable view on the U.S. equity market despite recent global geopolitical unease. It now seems that almost any way you slice it, the markets have become at least a bit pricey now. This implies that value investors may look to dividends for a safety net.
The UBS Equity Focus list for September is dominated by stocks that in many cases are leaders in their respective sector. We screened for the top yielding names on the list.
Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO) is one of the most recognizable brands in the world, and the biggest shareholder is Warren Buffett. The company raised its dividend by 9% this year, its 52nd annual dividend increase. While sales growth has been sluggish recently, UBS believes the company is taking the right strategic action to reinvigorate revenue growth.
Investors are paid a solid 3.1% dividend. Coca-Cola’s price target at UBS is $45, and the Thomson/First Call consensus target for the stock is $45.38. Coke closed Friday before the long weekend at $41.72 a share.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM), like most of the top money center banks, may finally be nearing the end of a very long stretch of losses and penalty payouts. Between mortgage settlements and trading gaffes, the company has taken a PR beating and has still held up well. The latest headline overhang was a cyberattack on the bank reported last week.
J.P. Morgan said that it had not seen unusual fraud activity, but officials briefed on the attack said there had been multiple, very sophisticated intrusions. The mega-cap bank is expected to benefit from commercial loan growth and an upturn in capital spending. Investors are paid a respectable 2.7% dividend. The UBS price target is $68, and the consensus target is $66.70. Shares closed Friday at $59.45.