For the second time in less than a week, a major firm that we cover here at 24/7 Wall Street is touting the potential of large cap blue chips that have an increased overseas exposure. In fact, a new JPMorgan research report notes that the top U.S. multinationals are down a stunning 30% since the end of 2013, versus an 11% gain for the S&P 500. Strength of the dollar and a total rout in the commodity sector and a divergence in the U.S. and global business cycles all helped to push this underperformance.
JPMorgan analysts point to the easing of the dollar, a more dovish Federal Reserve than many saw at the beginning of the year, and some early signs of manufacturing stabilizing as among the reasons for their bullishness going forward. The analysts have a large basket of 30 stocks that contain multinationals they are positive on. We screened the basket for some of the top dividend payers and found four that look very attractive now.
This stock is way out of favor and now trades at a level at which the dividend is the highest in years. Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) is the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives. The company principally operates through its three product segments — Construction Industries, Resource Industries and Energy & Transportation — and also provides financing and related services through its Financial Products segment.
In a huge cost-cutting mode for over a year now, Caterpillar recently announced it will consolidate the Electric Power and Marine & Petroleum Power divisions into the new Electric Power, Marine and Oil and Gas Division. Consolidating these energy operations and integrating them within Customer & Dealer Support will bring higher efficiencies and a streamlined leadership team. Last year, Caterpillar further announced plans of consolidation and the layoff of up to 10,000 employees by 2018. At the end of 2015, its global workforce totaled 105,700 employees, down nearly 11% from 2013.
Any sustained rebound in global growth will benefit this top blue chip stock. Caterpillar currently still trades 33% below levels set less than two years ago. Patient investors may make a ton adding this stock to a long-term growth portfolio.
Caterpillar investors receive a 4.18% dividend. The Thomson/First Call consensus price target is $61.47, but shares closed most recently at $73.68.
This stock is very solid story for investors looking to stay long the energy sector, and it is a preferred U.S. company to own now. Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) is an integrated oil and gas company with worldwide operations in exploration and production, refining and marketing, transportation and petrochemicals. It sports a sizable dividend and has a solid place in the sector when it comes to natural gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG). Some Wall Street analysts estimate Chevron will have a compound annual growth rate of over 5% for the next five years, and the stock trades at a modest valuation discount to some of its mega-cap peers.
Management continues to aggressively pursue cost-saving initiatives and has already completed over 2,200 supplier engagements, with more in progress. Cost savings and improving investor sentiment may be a key for Chevron as it has struggled mightily over the past year. While many on Wall Street concede that the oil market could be oversupplied for longer than most thought, massive overseas demand and a production slowdown should help pricing the rest of the year.
The company’s Permian Basin assets are a goldmine, and that the Australian LNG business will transition from a yearly $8 billion capital consumption drag to a $2 billion to $3 billion contributor. Combined with the much lower overall capital spending for the 2016 to 2018 period, the company is poised to not only hang around, but end the sector slump in a much better position.
Chevron investors receive a 4.57% dividend. The consensus price target is $96.11. Shares closed on Wednesday at $93.59.