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What are we looking for?

Large-cap U.S. stocks with decent dividend yields and strong dividend track records.

As the markets remain volatile amid a global pandemic and the runup to the U.S. election, we searched for companies that provide stable income during times of market instability.

The screen

We will be using Trading Central Strategy Builder to search for large0cap U.S. stocks with good dividend yields and a track record of dividend growth.

We begin by setting a minimum market capitalization threshold of US$20-billion. We wish to focus on larger, more established companies in the U.S. market because of their inherent quality and stability during turbulent times.

Next, we will use three dividend-related criteria to select our dividend stocks.

  • We will select only companies with dividend yields of more than 2 per cent.
  • We will screen for companies with a dividend coverage ratio of at least 200 per cent, or two times net income. Dividend coverage is defined as the earnings per share over the past year divided by the dividend paid in the same period. A higher dividend coverage ratio is preferred because it means more earnings are available to maintain or even raise the dividend.
  • Finally, we will look for companies with a track record of raising their dividend payments. We will look for a five-year average dividend growth rate that is above 5 per cent.

We have also included each stock’s price-to-earnings ratio, as well as year-to-date and one-year price performance for your reference.

More about Trading Central

Trading Central is a global leader in financial market research and investment analytics for retail online brokers and institutions. Its product suite provides actionable trading ideas based on technical and fundamental research covering stocks, exchange-traded funds, indexes, forex, options and commodities. Strategy Builder, our stock screener, is available through leading retail brokers in Canada and worldwide.

What we found

Our screener ranks the list based on all performance and revenue criteria.

Topping our list is the global investment firm Morgan Stanley. The company is indicating a dividend yield of 2.9 per cent, which is above the average of stocks on our list of 2.7 per cent (averages not shown), and a dividend growth rate of 18.2 per cent, which is also above the average of 15.4 per cent. The company’s dividend coverage is the second-highest on our list, after Allstate Corp.

On Thursday, Morgan Stanley announced it has agreed to purchase asset manager Eaton Vance Corp. for about US$7-billion. The acquisition, subject to conditions, is expected to close in the second quarter of 2021. This follows on the heels of Morgan Stanley’s recently closed deal to acquire E-Trade Financial Corp.

Financial services firm State Street Corp. has the highest yield on our list at 3.3 per cent with a dividend growth rate of 11.2 per cent and a fairly low price-to-earnings of 10.1 compared with the average P/E on our list of 15.3 per cent.

The best performer, in terms of price performance so far this year, is engine manufacturer Cummins Inc., which is trading at record highs. Its share price is up 23.1 per cent year to date and an impressive 40.9 per cent in the past 52 weeks. Even with the stock’s impressive performance, the dividend yield is 2.4 per cent with an annual dividend growth rate of 10.4 per cent.

The investment ideas presented here are for information only. They do not constitute advice or a recommendation by Trading Central in respect of the investment in financial instruments. Investors should conduct further research before investing.

Select U.S.-large-cap dividend stocks

RankCompanyTickerMkt. Cap. (US$ Bil.)P/EDiv. Yld. (%)Div. Cov. (%)5Y Div. Grth. Rate (%)YTD Price Perf. (%)1Y Price Perf. (%)Recent Price (US$)
1Morgan StanleyMS-N88.08.82.9394.918.2-4.720.548.95
2T. Rowe Price TROW-Q31.116.32.6253.68.612.627.0139.9
3TD Ameritrade AMTD-Q21.611.23.1290.342.9-19.618.439.97
4Cummins IncCMI-N32.719.62.4215.510.423.140.9220.81
5BlackRock IncBLK-N90.320.82.5204.99.817.841.9602.83
6State Street STT-N22.310.13.3300.511.2-19.813.964.01
7Amgen IncAMGN-Q151.021.02.5200.89.86.931.0246.21
8Goldman SachsGS-N70.115.52.5263.431.7-11.53.4206.22
9Allstate CorpALL-N29.17.02.3639.08.7-17.0-12.594.21
10Lockheed MartinLMT-N107.016.82.7242.89.8-1.7-0.4384.48
11Mondelez Int'lMDLZ-Q80.324.12.2204.413.52.02.356.535
12General DynamicsGD-N41.612.93.0265.59.9-17.9-18.2144.82

Source: Trading Central

Gary Christie is head of North American research at Trading Central in Ottawa.

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