There is always a good side and bad side to the situation when the markets are hitting new all-time highs, especially when it seems like a daily occurrence. The good thing is the statement from your broker looks better, and so does your 401(k). The bad side is that if you have money to put to work, you are nervous about putting it in now, and with good reason. The S&P 500 is up almost 9% since the election, and at some point the sellers will certainly step in.
We screened the Merrill Lynch research data base for stocks that are rated Buy, pay a dividend and haven’t gone parabolic this year. We found five that make good sense for investors.
This company has had a solid run this year but is still trading below highs set in the summer. AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is the world’s largest provider of pay TV, with TV customers in the United States and 11 Latin American countries. In the United States, the AT&T wireless network has the nation’s self-described strongest 4G LTE signal and most reliable 4G LTE. The company also helps businesses worldwide serve their customers better with mobility and highly secure cloud solutions.
With its shares trading at a very cheap 14.3 times estimated 2016 earnings, the company continues to expand its user base, and strong product introductions from smartphone vendors have not only driven traffic but increased device financing plans.
AT&T is in the Merrill Lynch US 1 portfolio and has several major catalysts likely to drive strong network traffic demand: DirecTV Now and Mobile, “Data-Free TV” for DirecTV/U-Verse subscribers and increasing penetration of unlimited data plans. Many on Wall Street believe that the company is well-positioned to address ongoing traffic requirements, with additional LTE capacity available and the ability to leverage small cell deployments.
Other top Wall Street analysts have cited the company’s positive commentary on free cash flow and improving video/broadband trends later this year, with single truck-roll and new converged offerings expected to be coming next month.
AT&T investors receive a 4.75% dividend. The Merrill Lynch price objective for the stock is $46. The Wall Street consensus target price is $41.14. Shares closed Tuesday at $41.36.
This top consumer media company has multiple streams of income to push revenue. Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) is down for the year and may be offering investors the best entry point in some time. With the movie studio business poised to improve, as with accelerating theme park business, the network programming continues to drive viewership with extensive sports programming. Combining that revenue growth with the company’s solid media networks and interactive presence, and 2016 and 2017 revenue estimates could be conservative.
The Disney Media Networks segment operates broadcast and cable television networks, domestic television stations and radio networks and stations, and it is involved in the television production and television distribution operations. Its cable networks include ESPN, Disney Channels and ABC Family, as well as UTV/Bindass and Hungama. This segment also owns eight domestic television stations. Disney is also one of 24/7 Wall St. top 10 stocks to own for the next decade.
Disney shareholders are paid a 1.51% dividend. Merrill Lynch has a $125 price target, while the consensus price objective is $106.68. The shares closed Tuesday at $103.85.