is cvs health corp a dividend aristocrat
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Is cvs health corp a dividend aristocrat change healthcare providers

Is cvs health corp a dividend aristocrat

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The dividend story: Honeywell has made the dividend a priority in recent years. It has nearly doubled the payout since Outlook: Honeywell's appetite for expansion presents both opportunity and risk for shareholders. Early this year, the company revealed that it had made merger overtures to United Technologies symbol UTX. What Honeywell saw was the chance to wring from United the kind of efficiencies Honeywell has achieved in its own businesses.

But even without a major deal, says Morningstar, Honeywell's three divisions and particularly its aerospace unit have carved themselves "wide economic moats" that could ensure healthy profit growth for years to come.

Earnings hit a record in before slipping in , hurt by weakness in some of the device businesses and by the strong dollar. The company also announced a restructuring of its lagging medical-devices unit. Brokerage RBC Capital Markets says the company has high hopes for 10 new prescription drugs in its pipeline, including treatments for psoriasis and prostate cancer. That could be a big plus for dividend growth.

Morningstar says 3M's genius lies in its ability over time to "tweak technology to serve specific needs," repeatedly coming up with new niche products across its four main sectors of abrasives, adhesives, coatings and filters. As with many U. The dividend story: The same strong cash flow that has funded 3M's stock buybacks also supports its dividend. The most recent increase, an 8. That puts the stock's yield at 2.

Outlook: 3M seems poised to continue its streak of dividend hikes in the next few years. But with the shares richly priced, at 20 times estimated earnings per share, investors need to have a long-term view. Image credit: Courtesy Verizon Communications. But after years of strong growth, the U. Verizon expects profit to "plateau" near last year's level.

And Wall Street analysts expect only slight improvement in More important, Verizon generates enough free cash flow to cover the dividend.

Outlook: Verizon's warning about plateauing earnings naturally raises questions about future dividend growth. Increases in recent years have been modest; the last one was a 2. Although the company's cash flow gives it leeway to raise the payout further, this stock is for investors who care more about current yield and safety than strong near-term profit and dividend growth.

At the same time, any pullback in the stock would make it more attractive from two angles. First, the dividend yield would rise, and second, investors would get a cheaper entry point for a company that is investing heavily in new telecom services to fuel long-term growth. The world's largest retailer has continued to rack up greater sales, nearing a half-trillion dollars annually now.

Wal-Mart is battling intense price competition from dollar stores at the brick-and-mortar level and from Amazon. What's more, its moves to raise workers' wages have further squeezed profits.

At the stock's bottom, the yield was a hefty 3. That was attractive enough to buyers who figured that, if nothing else, the dividend was safe. That's a good bet. Outlook: Kelley Wright, managing editor of the Investment Quality Trends newsletter, says the shares remain "vastly undervalued.

A bigger hike could signal growing confidence that the company's fortunes have turned. Tom Petruno. Petruno, a former financial columnist for the Los Angeles Times, is an independent investor, writer and consultant.

He lives in L. Common Financial Weaknesses and How to Overcome Them Everyone has them, but identifying your financial weaknesses and taking steps to address them can mean a much more secure future and retirement.

Long-Term Investments Require a New Approach Market volatility means your long-term investing strategies need an update. CVS has, thanks to strong cash flows, reduced its debt levels successfully in that time frame and is now in a position where it can start to reward its shareholders more aggressively. Combined with solid business growth opportunities, this makes CVS an attractive investment.

CVS Health Corporation has had a solid dividend growth track record between and The company raised its dividend regularly, and at an attractive pace, on the back of solid business growth. The reason for the halt of CVS' dividend growth path was its high debt load following the closing of the acquisition of Aetna in Management rightfully prioritized debt reduction over dividend increases and buybacks over the last couple of years in order to bring its leverage ratio back down to earth:.

Source: CVS Q. Debt levels still are higher than they were prior to the Aetna takeover, but that is not a disaster -- the company is now generating significantly higher profits and larger cash flows, which makes higher debt levels more sustainable.

This does not yet account for the debt reduction, in absolute terms, that will likely take place during the current quarter and during next year, as CVS will still use at least some of its cash flows to bring down debt levels further, despite the recent dividend increase.

Either way, it seems pretty clear that CVS is now at a point where its debt usage is not overly high, and where its balance sheet looks pretty reasonable. With several years of no dividend increases, the dividend growth track record was broken, of course, and CVS is no longer a Dividend Contender -- which means that becoming a Dividend Aristocrat is not possible in the foreseeable future. With its deleveraging efforts mostly completed, CVS Health is now in a position where it can finally increase cash returns to equity owners.

CVS has announced to do this in two ways. Calculating a forward yield for when the new dividend is in place, we get to a yield of 2. Looking at CVS' dividend coverage on a cash flow basis, we again see that there is negligible risk of a dividend cut. When we also account for the fact that CVS' management has a history of being conservative with guidance initially and raising it as the year passes, then actual dividend coverage could be even stronger in compared to what we can calculate based on current guidance metrics.

When it comes to CVS' buyback program, the wording in the announcement was a little confusing:. Source: CVS announcement, linked above. The "used to at least offset share count dilution" part made some investors worry that CVS would use its shares to pay for an acquisition in , but I don't believe that will be the case. It would, after all, not make a lot of sense to issue new shares just to buy them back, possibly at a higher price, during the same year. Also, CVS' hunger for acquisition doesn't seem to be too large right now from what I can see.

Instead, I believe that the offsetting dilution phrase refers to shares being issued to employees and management -- those will be bought back in any case, and CVS might buy back additional shares under its new program.

Management likely wants to be flexible with the pace of share repurchases and might deploy a larger amount to them if valuations remain attractive. Management might, however, also prefer to put more money towards further debt reduction instead of pushing all surplus free cash flow towards buybacks. I believe that this approach is reasonable, as the usefulness of buybacks does depend on valuations shares will trade at throughout , of course. CVS Health has been able to grow its business reliably in the past, and the same should hold true for the future.

There are several avenues for that. First, CVS has invested in integrating its businesses and in locking new customers into its ecosystem:. Source: Annual Report. This was, for example, done through a massive COVID testing push that has resulted in millions of new customers that have now had their first contacts with CVS and that can now be turned into repeat customers.

CVS' subscription program has a similar goal of increasing the loyalty of customers and of generating higher revenue from the existing customer base.

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Its transparency law went into effect this month. Broadwind Energy, Inc. BWEN saw its shares surge in the last session with trading volume being higher than average. The latest trend in earnings estimate revisions may not translate into further price increase in the near term.

Goldman Sachs once again cuts its home price outlook. Here are the regional numbers. Is crypto really the new gold? Many growth stocks, in particular, look well priced considering their long-term potential.

During the previous long bull market, dividends were an afterthought for many investors. More investors now realize just how important dividends can be. There are lots of great dividend stocks out there. Apple and AMD suffered stock declines in , but that hasn't dampened their excellent long-term outlooks.

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