Investing

5 'Strong Buy' Blue Chip Stocks With Dividend Hikes Expected This Week

After years of a low interest rate environment, many investors have turned to equities not only for the growth potential but also for solid and dependable dividends, which help to provide an income stream. What this equates to is total return, which is one of the most powerful investment strategies going.

We like to remind our readers about the impact that total return has on portfolios, because it is one of the best ways to help improve the chances for overall investing success. Again, total return is the combined increase in a stock’s value plus dividends. For instance, if you buy a stock at $20 that pays a 3% dividend, and it goes up to $22 in a year, your total return is 13%: a 10% for the increase in stock price and 3% for the dividends paid.

Five top large cap companies that are Wall Street favorites are expected to raise their dividends this week, so we screened our 24/7 Wall St. research universe and found that all are rated Buy by some top analysts. While it is always possible that not all of them do indeed raise their dividends, analysts expect them to, and the data is based generally on past increases in the firm’s dividend payouts.

It is important to remember, though, that no single analyst report should be used in making a buying or selling decision.

Abbott Laboratories

This top pharmaceutical and med-tech stock has very solid growth potential. Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT) manufactures and sells health care products worldwide.

Its Established Pharmaceutical Products segment offers branded generic pharmaceuticals to treat pancreatic exocrine insufficiency; irritable bowel syndrome or biliary spasm; intrahepatic cholestasis or depressive symptoms; gynecological disorders; hormone replacement therapy; dyslipidemia; hypertension; hypothyroidism; Ménière’s disease and vestibular vertigo; pain, fever and inflammation; migraines; anti-infective clarithromycin; cardiovascular and metabolic products; and influenza vaccines, as well as to regulate physiological rhythm of the colon.

The Diagnostic Products segment provides immunoassay and clinical chemistry systems; assays used to screen or diagnose cancer, cardiac, drugs of abuse, fertility, infectious diseases, and therapeutic drug monitoring; hematology systems and reagents; diagnostic systems and cartridges; instruments to automate the extraction, purification and preparation of DNA and RNA from samples, and detect and measure infectious agents; genomic-based tests; informatics and automation solutions; and a suite of informatics tools and professional services.

Shareholders currently receive a 1.38% yield. The company is expected to raise the dividend to $0.54 per share from $0.45.

Morgan Stanley has a $146 price target on Abbott Laboratories stock. The consensus target is $115.53, and shares traded early Monday at $132.40.