Why Jefferies US Dividend Watch Stocks May Be the Best 2019 Buys Now

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Massive volatility, huge up and down market swings, recession fears, geopolitical fears, the election cycle in full swing. It’s almost more than most investors can take. However, with yields falling like a rock and, in some cases, to all-time lows, income and total return investors once again have to look to the equity markets for the ability to generate yield. With bond proxy stocks like utilities and real estate investment trusts at or close to fully valued, investors may need to look elsewhere.

One place investors may want to look is the Jefferies dividend watch stocks that are based here at home. The Jefferies Microstrategy dividend watch portfolios may be a way for investors to get solid yields from stocks without paying big premiums. The Jefferies report noted this:

In an environment characterized by an adverse macro cycle and poor earnings visibility, cyclical dividend yield strategies could remain under pressure despite the historical low valuations. While we like bond-proxies as a theme in the current environment, they are at peak valuations. Instead we focus on shadow defensives, companies with defensive characteristics but trading at reasonable valuations The shadow defensives process is designed to remove various risks inherent in the high-yield universeves, companies with defensive characteristics but trading at reasonable valuations.

We screened the U.S. dividend watch portfolio, looking for the highest yielding companies, and while this may be a touch more aggressive than the entire aggregate portfolio, it may offer higher total return potential.

IBM

This blue chip giant still offers investors a very solid entry point. International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) is a leading provider of enterprise solutions, offering a broad portfolio of information technology (IT) hardware, business and IT services, and a full suite of software solutions. The company integrates its hardware products with its software and services offerings in order to provide high-value solutions.

IBM’s five major segments are: 1) Cognitive Solutions, 2) Global Business Services, 3) Technology Services & Cloud Platforms, 4) Systems and 5) Global Financing. Analysts cite the company’s potential in the public cloud as a reason for their positive outlook going forward. But note that IBM is among the big corporations with the most debt.

IBM shareholders receive a 4.84% dividend. The Wall Street consensus target price is $152.80, and shares closed Friday at $133.76.

Philip Morris

This company has continued to grow global market share and its stock makes good sense for total return investors now. Philip Morris International Inc. (NYSE: PM) is one of the largest international cigarette producers, with a share of 28% of the international cigarette/heated tobacco market. Key combustible brands include Parliament, L&M and Marlboro, one of the most valuable brands in the world.

The company is commercializing I-Qos portfolio, which is a heat-not-burn product, in over 40 markets. All of its sales are outside the United States. In the spring the FDA cleared the company to sell its heated tobacco product here in the United States. Marlboro Heatsticks, Marlboro Smooth Menthol Heatsticks and Marlboro Fresh Menthol Heatsticks will be available. Since Philip Morris operates overseas, Richmond, Virginia-based Altria will sell the products in the United States.

Shareholders receive a 5.37%% dividend. Analysts have a $96.22 consensus price target, and shares closed at $84.91 on Friday.