4 High-Quality Dividend Growing Stocks to Buy and Hold

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Investors that focus on total return, which is dividends paid and the increase in a stock’s price in a given period, are often more interested in companies that are consistently growing their dividends, as opposed to those that pay the highest dividends. Dividend growth usually means that a number of positive metrics are being met, and the company can consistently add to the pot of money that is returned to shareholders.

A new Jefferies report has a list of high-quality dividend growing stocks that meet these requirements:

  1. Market cap that was $3 billion or higher
  2. Return on invested capital that was 10% or higher over the past five years
  3. Net debt to EBITDA that was less than 1.5%
  4. Free cash flow yield 6% or higher
  5. Dividend yield at least 2.5%
  6. Dividend compounded annual growth rate 5% or higher over the past 10 years

Of the 14 stocks that met these grueling requirements, we the four that are indeed paying the highest dividends now.

Cummins

This large cap industrial has been a tried and true company to own for years. Cummins Inc. (NYSE: CMI), a global power leader, is a corporation of complementary business units that design, manufacture, distribute and service diesel and natural gas engines and related technologies, including fuel systems, controls, air handling, filtration, emission solutions and electrical power generation systems.

Cummins currently employs approximately 55,000 people worldwide and serves customers in approximately 190 countries and territories through a network of approximately 600 company-owned and independent distributor locations and approximately 7,200 dealer locations. Cummins earned $1.4 billion on sales of $19.1 billion in 2015.

The company recently announced that it is reorganizing its manufacturing operations, as part of its plan to adjust to weak global demand for power generation equipment. Over the next 24 months, Cummins plans to relocate its generator set assembly operations. The footprint of the U.K. site in Kent will be reduced as it is transformed into an important regional distribution and logistics center.

Cummins investors receive a solid 4% dividend. The Thomson/First Call consensus price objective for the stock is $94.40. The stock closed above that on Thursday at $97.70.


Qualcomm

This top technology stock has totally underperformed this year and has very solid upside potential. Qualcomm Inc. (NASDAQ: QCOM) is still a Wall Street favorite, and many are sticking to their guns, basically saying that, trading at 12.6 times estimated 2016 earnings, it may be a tremendous long-term value. Qualcomm is a quality tech company with recurring royalty revenue and a strong footprint, so patient investors may fare very well.

The growth of 3G mobile technologies in emerging markets, like China and India, has had a positive impact on Qualcomm and could be a difference-maker going forward. Qualcomm is and has been for years a market leader in the development of 3G CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) technologies. It recently developed an LTE chipset that supports SCDMA (Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access) technology. China’s mobile network runs on this, and it could provide the company with a huge leg up in years to come. The company signed numerous big licensing deals recently in China that gave the stock a solid boost.

The company recently announced a joint venture with Japan’s TDK that will enable delivery of RFFE (radio frequency front-end) modules and RF (radio frequency) filters to fully integrate systems for mobile devices and other fast-growing business segments. According to Qualcomm, the RFFE space is projected to be an $18 billion market by 2020.

Qualcomm posted strong fourth-quarter results, but a licensing dispute with Japanese technology giant LG has surfaced, and the analysts feel the dispute could last through fiscal 2016.

Investors receive a 3.72% dividend. The consensus price objective is $57.64. Shares closed Thursday at $51.64.

Boeing

This top aerospace industrial has dropped a whopping 19% since the beginning of the year. Boeing Co (NYSE: BA) designs, develops, manufactures, sells, services and supports commercial jetliners, military aircraft, satellites, missile defense, human space flight and launch systems and services worldwide.

Top Wall Street analysts have increased confidence in continuing good demand, and they note that the company has made announcements in the past that support the thesis that productivity and margins will continue to improve. 787 execution is good as the company works through the backlog, and cash flow looks to be strong with 787 deliveries and C-17 orders. Some Wall Street analysts also point to low oil prices as a bullish indicator for the top carriers who are Boeing’s big customers.

Some analysts think that some of the quarterly earnings report was misunderstood, and that trading at a very cheap 10 times free cash flow, the valuation is the best in some time. They note that while there was an accounting change for KC-46 tankers, the 777 rate change was already in Wall Street numbers, and the 737 rate boost was a positive that some had not figured into numbers.

Investors receive a 3.73% dividend. The consensus price target is $141.11. The shares closed on Thursday at $116.82.

Intel

This top chip company has traded sideways all year, and the recent very positive earnings report certainly has helped to lift the pall hanging over the company. Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) is a world leader in computing innovation. It designs and builds the essential technologies that serve as the foundation for the world’s computing devices. As a leader in corporate responsibility and sustainability, Intel also manufactures the world’s first commercially available “conflict-free” microprocessors. The company provides processors for all Apple personal computers.

Intel also is one of the companies regarded as having among the highest shareholder cash returns at approximately 8%, but it has lagged high-growth specialty chip stocks. Intel’s NAND flash memory business has a strong focus on enterprise opportunities. Many on Wall Street who think that the company’s new chip, which is a collaboration with Micron Technology, could be primarily In-Memory compute in servers, and its launch should coincide with Intel’s Purley platform server launch in 2016.

Intel investors receive a 3.51% dividend. The consensus price target is $36.32. Shares closed Thursday at $29.62.


While these stocks are consistent dividend growers, they are not all suitable for very conservative income accounts. With that caveat in place, the long history each has of meeting the strenuous metrics to be in this top club makes them superb investments for total return accounts with a long time horizon.