Despite that the fact that the market is struggling to keep its head above the break-even level this year, the S&P 500 is not all that far from the all-time highs printed last year. In fact, after the rally of the past couple of sessions, the index is only about 70 points from those record highs seen in July of last year. Yet, with all the highs being reached then, the market was flat last year, and it is trading that way this year.
What that seems to indicate is that most stocks are very close to being fully valued, and if companies post poor first-quarter results, you can bet that the sellers will be out in full force.
We looked around our 24/7 Wall St. research database for companies that paid solid dividends, but were either out of favor or had been sold off to what seems like a disproportionate level. We found three that may be solid investments for accounts with some risk tolerance.
This company is still way out of favor, and it 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 it also provides financing and related services through its Financial Products segment.
In a huge cost-cutting mode for over a year now, the company 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, Caterpillar’s global workforce totaled 105,700 employees, down nearly 11% from 2013.
Any rebound in global growth will benefit this top blue chip stock. Caterpillar stock has bounced off of multiyear lows, but it still looks reasonable here. Patient investors may make a ton adding this stock to a long-term growth portfolio.
Caterpillar investors are now paid a 4.11% dividend. Merrill Lynch rates the stock at Neutral and has a $73 target price. Thomson/First Call consensus price target is posted at $62.62. Shares closed much higher than that on Monday at $74.63.
This company posted record North American results last year, though Wall Street wasn’t that impressed as the huge profits didn’t meet estimates. Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) has reshaped its product line in recent years, and sales have been outstanding. With sales booming not only in the United States but in China, and six new models being introduced in Russia, the company is expanding market share, while maintaining a competitive pricing structure. This year could be another banner one for the gigantic automobile and truck manufacturer.
The iconic F-150 truck remains the top-selling truck in America, and it has been the top-selling vehicle for the past 34 years, despite strong challenges from the competition. While consumers have been buying vehicles in a big way in recent years, replacement continues as low interest rates, dealer incentives and increasing take home pay make a vehicle purchase an easy choice.
The company announced a very conservative 2016 outlook by region and also a supplemental $1 billion dividend for shareholders back in January. Some on Wall Street may view the North American estimates as light, but the stock has been mauled so badly that any disappointment looks priced in. With over 40% of sales overseas, the lion’s share in Canada, the weaker dollar should be a big help.
Ford investors receive a very rich 4.74% dividend. The Merrill Lynch price target for the Buy-rated stock is $16. The consensus target price is $15.69. The stock closed most recently at $12.66.
This long-time innovator in the storage industry is a leader in the total addressable hard disk drive (HDD) market. Western Digital Corp. (NASDAQ: WDC) is an industry-leading developer and manufacturer of storage solutions that help to create, manage, experience and preserve digital content.
Western Digital is responding to changing market needs by providing a full portfolio of compelling, high-quality storage products with effective technology deployment, high efficiency, flexibility and speed. Its products are marketed under the HGST and WD brands to original equipment manufacturers, distributors, resellers, cloud infrastructure providers and consumers.
The most compelling news is that the company announced a stunning $19 billion purchase of SanDisk last year. This could be a strong addition to the Western Digital current offerings. The company could significantly benefit from SanDisk’s technology and portfolio leadership in the NAND flash semiconductor and enterprise flash systems market. The value of the deal for SanDisk is now $78.50 per share, down from $86.50 when it was originally struck, according to Sumit Sadana, SanDisk executive vice president.
Western Digital shareholders are paid a 4.52% dividend. Merrill Lynch has a Buy rating and a whopping $76 price target for the stock, while the consensus target is lower at $70.92. The stock closed Monday at $43.23.
These stocks are more suited for aggressive growth accounts. They all could have some serious upside, and trading where they are now, the downside looks to be limited.
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