5 'Strong Buy' Blue Chips Expected to Raise Dividends This Week

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After years of a low interest rate environment (though those rates now are trending higher faster), 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. While interest rates are rising, these stocks still make sense for investors looking for solid growth and income potential.

We like to remind 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%. That is, 10% for the increase in stock price and 3% for the dividends paid.

The following five top companies are Wall Street favorites are expected to raise their dividends this week. While it is possible that not all of them do indeed raise their dividends, top analysts expect them to, and generally the data is based on past increases in the firm’s dividend payouts.

It is important to remember that no single analyst report should be used as a sole basis for any buying or selling decision.


This is a solid stock for conservative investors looking for growth and income. Conagra Brands Inc. (NYSE: CAG) operates as a food company in North America. Its brands include Marie Callender’s, Reddi-wip, Hunt’s, Healthy Choice, Slim Jim, Orville Redenbacher’s, Alexia, Frontera, Banquet and Chef Boyardee.

The company’s Grocery & Snacks segment primarily offers shelf-stable food products in various retail channels in the United States. The Refrigerated & Frozen segment provides temperature-controlled food products in various retail channels in the United States. The International reporting segment offers food products in various temperature states in retail and foodservice channels outside of the United States.

The Foodservice segment offers food products, including meals, entrees, sauces and various custom-manufactured culinary products packaged for sale, to restaurants and other foodservice establishments in the United States.

Conagra Brands stock investors currently receive a dividend of 3.55%. The company is expected to raise the dividend to $0.3375 per share from $0.3175. Evercore ISI has a Buy rating and a $40 target price. The consensus target is $35.94, and the stock closed trading on Friday at $35.31.

Goldman Sachs

This industry leader giant is a premier stock in the sector for those looking to add financials. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) has a gigantic institutional equity, debt and derivatives business, an ultra-high net worth clientele, top investment banking and capital markets expertise, and the firm continues to be a dominant force around the world in the world of finance.

Its Investment Banking segment provides financial advisory services, including strategic advisory assignments related to mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, corporate defense activities, restructurings and spin-offs; middle-market lending, relationship lending and acquisition financing; as well as transaction banking services.

This segment also offers underwriting services, such as equity underwriting for common and preferred stock and convertible and exchangeable securities, and debt underwriting for various types of debt instruments, including investment-grade and high-yield debt, bank and bridge loans and emerging- and growth-market debt.

Goldman Sachs Global Markets segment is involved in client execution activities for cash and derivative instruments; credit products; mortgages; currencies; commodities; and equities; and provision of equity intermediation and equity financing services. It also offers clearing, settlement and custody services.

Shareholders receive a 2.70% dividend. The dividend is expected to rise to $2.50 from $2.00. Piper Sandler has an Overweight rating and a $410 target price on Goldman Sachs stock. The consensus target is $407.63. The stock closed at $296.47 on Friday.

Marsh & McLennan

Typically, insurance companies are not affected by increases in interest rates, and this is one of the strongest companies in the industry. Marsh & McLennan Companies Inc. (NYSE: MMC), a professional services company, provides advice and solutions to clients in the areas of risk, strategy and people worldwide.

Its Risk and Insurance Services segment offers risk management services, such as risk advice, risk transfer and risk control and mitigation solutions, as well as insurance and reinsurance broking, catastrophe and financial modeling, and related advisory services, and insurance program management services. This segment serves businesses, public entities, insurance companies, associations, professional services organizations and private clients.

The Consulting segment provides health, wealth, and career consulting services and products. It also offers specialized management, as well as economic and brand consulting services.

Shareholders receive a 1.38% dividend. The $0.5395 per share dividend is expected to increase to $0.595. Wells Fargo’s Overweight rating comes with a $183 target price. The consensus target for Marsh & McLennan stock is nearby at $182.50. The final trade for Friday was reported at $155.59.

Molson Coors Brewing

While the iconic American beer company did merge with a Canadian beer giant, it is still based in Denver, and nothing beats a cold beer on the Fourth of July. Molson Coors Beverage Co. (NYSE: TAP) is one of the world’s largest brewers (more than a 3% global share) with core brands Coors Light, Miller Lite, Carling, Molson Canadian and Staropramen.

Molson and Coors merged in February 2005 and added StarBev in 2012, and it serves markets including the United States, Canada, Eastern Europe and the United Kingdom and Ireland, with exposure to other markets through its Molson Coors International division. It acquired the remainder (58%) of the U.S. joint venture (MillerCoors) in mid-October 2016.

The Coors light brand remains a huge favorite with Generation X and baby boomers, who were all around when the light beer revolution started. The company is now working on opportunities to market a cannabis-infused product.

Shareholders receive a 2.74% dividend. The expected dividend increase is to $0.42 per share from $0.38. The $61 Citigroup price target on the Buy-rated shares is higher than and the $55.00 consensus target. Molson Coors Brewing stock closed on Friday at $55.50.

Morgan Stanley

This is another of Wall Street’s white-glove firms, and it may be among the best buys among the banking and investment stocks. Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) is a global investment bank with leading positions in investment banking (M&A and equity underwriting), equity trading and wealth management, which contributes nearly 50% of firmwide revenues. The firm also has an asset management business, which adds to the lower-risk business profile the firm has pursued since the financial crisis.

In 2020, the Wall Street investment bank completed a $13 billion purchase of discount brokerage E-Trade. With 5.2 million customers, E-Trade was once a revolutionary platform that “helped usher in a dramatic shift among financial services firms” and fueled the rise of indexes and exchange-traded funds, making investing vastly easier for do-it-yourself investors.

Morgan Stanley pays investors a 3.65% dividend. The company is expected to lift the dividend to $0.775 per share from $0.700. Credit Suisse has an Outperform rating and a $95 price target, while the consensus target is near $96. Morgan Stanley stock ended Friday’s trading at $76.73 a share.

These top companies have stocks rated Buy across Wall Street, and they are expected to lift the dividends they pay to shareholders. Not only is increasing dividends and returning capital to investors important, but it shows that the company is doing well and has the earnings and cash flow strength to increase those payouts.

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