Investing

5 'Strong Buy' Stocks With Expected Dividend Hikes 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.

Cigna

This is a solid value buy in the health care sector. Cigna Corp. (NYSE: CI) is a major health services organization that provides insurance and related products and services in the United States and internationally. All products and services are provided exclusively by or through operating subsidiaries of Cigna, including Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, Life Insurance Company of North America, Cigna Life Insurance Company of Canada and their affiliates.

The health care giant offers an integrated suite of health services, such as medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy, vision, supplemental benefits and other related products, including group life, accident and disability insurance. Cigna maintains sales capability in 30 countries and jurisdictions, and it has approximately 86 million customer relationships throughout the world.

Investors currently receive a dividend of 1.69%. The company is expected to raise the $1.00 per share dividend to $1.20, a huge 20% increase.

Raymond James has a Strong Buy rating and a $275 price target on Cigna stock. The consensus target is $265.56, and the shares traded early Monday at $231.30 apiece.

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