Are we seeing some signs of danger in the markets? At first glance, it wouldn’t seem so. The S&P 500 is sitting just below its record high, as is the Dow Jones average. The big tech giants – Amazon, Apple, Alphabet, Facebook, and Microsoft – all posted great results in their recent earnings reports. And yet, they are leading the declines in the NASDAQ.
According to Morgan Stanley equity strategist Michael Wilson, we’re in for a volatile ride, at least in the near-term.
“With the S&P 500 making new highs every day, few seem worried… rather than getting excited about reopening, we are getting more concerned about execution risk and what’s already priced in,” Wilson noted. “Whatever correction the market experiences this year, we are likely to make higher highs next year. The goal as an investor is to navigate the… transition, avoid the stocks with the biggest drawdowns and be in position to capture the next leg.”
So, let’s take this advice, and look for ways to protect the portfolio in the short term while staking a position for the longer term. That’s a strategy which will naturally draw investors toward dividend stocks, the classic defensive play.
We’ve used the TipRanks database to pull up two dividend players that combine a Strong Buy sentiment from Wall Street with a yield of at least 7%. Let’s take a closer look.
New Residential Investment (NRZ)
We’ll start with a real estate investment trust (REIT), since these companies have a reputation as solid dividend payers. That’s in part an artifact of their position in regard to tax regulation; they are required to return a certain percentage of profits directly to shareholders, and the dividend is often a convenient vehicle for compliance. New Residential Investment is typical of its sector, holding a $6 billion investment portfolio, of which just over half is mortgage servicing rights.
In its recent 1Q21 financial release, New Residential showed a net income of $301 million, up from $101 million at the end of Q4. The company declared a quarterly dividend of 20 cents per share; the payments totaled $82.9 million. At the declared rate, the dividend annualizes to 80 cents per common share, for a yield of 7.5%. This compares favorably to the ~2% yield found among S&P-listed companies.
NRZ shares are up 77% in the past 12 months, gaining as the company switched from net losses at the height of the corona crisis to profitability in the last four quarters. To take advantage of the share appreciation, and to raise additional capital, the company announced a public offering of shares in April. The sale generated gross proceeds of $522.4 million on 51.7 million shares sold. The funds raised were used to acquire Caliber Home Loans, with plans to integrate the acquisition into NRZ’s wholly owned mortgage origination service. The transaction is expected to close in Q3 of this year.
Covering the stock for BTIG, analyst Eric Hagen writes: “[We] think the company has the capital to be acquisitive in bulk sales transactions as some originators potentially look to offload more thinly capitalized MSRs if origination volume slows more meaningfully. It confirmed the $500 million of capital raised in connection to the Caliber deal was about $0.15 dilutive to NAV, so book is around $11.20. The stock is less than 0.93x book, and about 6.5x forward earnings assuming a 15% ROTCE.”
Hagen rates NRZ a Buy, and his $13 price target implies a 25% upside for the year ahead. (To watch Hagen’s track record, click here)
Hagen is no outlier in his bullish opinion here. Of the 10 recent analyst commentaries on this stock, 9 recommend it to Buy, against a single Hold. The $12.69 average price target is almost as bullish as Hagen’s, and suggests an upside of ~22% from the current trading price of $10.38. (See NRZ stock analysis on TipRanks)
Enterprise Products Partners (EPD)
We’ll switch gears now, and take a look at an energy company. Specifically, a midstream company. Enterprise Products Partners controls over 50,000 miles of pipelines, along with facilities capable of storing 160 million barrels worth of oil and 14 billion cubic feet of natural gas. In addition, Enterprise has shipping terminals in the state of Texas, on the Gulf Coast.
As the US economy has reopened, demand for fuel has increased – which in turn increased the flow of fuel through Enterprise’s system. The company’s financials have been rebounding since the second half of last year, and the recent 1Q21 report showed $9.1 billion at the top line, the best result in the last two years. EPS came in at 61 cents per share, flat year-over-year, but higher than the last three quarters.
Enterprise declared a Q2 dividend of 45 cents per common share, the second quarter in a row at this level. The current payment is backed by the company’s $1.7 billion in distributable cash flow. The annualized payment of $1.80 per common share gives a yield of 7.7%.
Among the bulls is Raymond James analyst Justin Jenkins, who sets a Strong Buy rating on EPD shares, along with a $26 price target. (To watch Jenkins’ track record, click here)
Backing his stance, Jenkins writes: “While Enterprise (EPD) has not been immune to energy industry challenges, the asset base has continued to show resilience in the difficult environment. Looking forward, EPD’s unique combination of integration, balance sheet strength, and ROIC track record remains best in class, in our view. We see EPD as arguably best positioned to withstand the volatile landscape… This is a compelling opportunity for entry into ownership of one of the best positioned MLPs…”
Overall, Wall Street’s analysts are sanguine about EPD’s path forward, as evidenced by the unanimous Strong Buy consensus rating, supported by 8 Buy recommendations. The average price target, at $28.75, is more bullish than Jenkins’ and suggests a one-year growth potential of 24% for EPD. (See EPD’s stock analysis at TipRanks)
To find good ideas for dividend stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analysts. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.
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