This might be a controversial viewpoint, but I love boring investments.
Of course, "boring" is a relative term. These stocks may not be on the frontline of streaming media delivery or cloning. So, from that point of view, yeah, some people might consider them boring. But I don't find getting yields 186% higher than the 10-year U.S. Treasury or earnings that are as dependable as a Timex watch boring. To me, those qualities are dead sexy.
Pick Up These Shares Before The Rebound
Thanks to fears of a weak global economy, shares of International Paper Co. (NYSE: IP), the world's largest paper and forest products company, have tumbled nearly 40% from their 52-week high. For value shoppers, this pushes valuation metrics down and yields up with the forward P/E at a low 10.3 and a dividend yield of 5.1%. Over the last decade, the company has slowly unwound its office paper business and focused its energy on packaging. The result is the lion's share of the U.S. containerboard market and 25% of the global coated containerboard market. While revenues have contracted over the last year, the company is poised for long term growth as the rise of the emerging market middle class continues -- with increased consumption comes the increased need for packaging. In the near term, the company is executing on a decade long operational restructuring which has targeted $1.2 billion in annual cost savings as well as cash generation from asset sales. Shares currently trade around $35.
Founded over a century ago, Johnson Controls Inc. (NYSE: JCI): focuses on two main business lines: building controls/energy management systems and automotive seating/ batteries. Despite economic uncertainty for cyclical businesses, JCI is expected to enjoy 4% revenue growth this year thanks primarily to higher projected auto sales led by the United States and China. The company is also setting its aim on growth in its non-auto business with a recent announced merger with building systems competitor Tyco International (NYSE: TYC) and plans to spin off the auto unit by year end. In addition to a clear strategic vision, the company also boasts a strong balance sheet with a stable long term debt to capitalization of 35% (manageable for a large, cyclical, industrial firm) and impressive annual cash flow of $2.3 billion. At around $35.40, shares trade at a 35% discount to their 52-week high with a dirt cheap forward P/E of 9.4 and a 3.3% dividend yield.
If you follow the Warren Buffett mantra of owning stocks of businesses that are fairly easy to understand, than you might already own shares of Olin Corp. (NYSE: OLN). The company makes two things: chlor-alkali products (chlorine) and Winchester brand ammunition. Chlorine is in everything from household bleach to ice cream (caustic soda). So, while it may be a commodity chemical subject to commodity price fluctuations, it's wide, regular use makes it more of a defensive play in my book. Winchester has been in operation since 1868 and a part of Olin since 1932. In addition to the civilian sportsman market, Winchester is a leading supplier to the U.S. and international militaries and law enforcement agencies. The company has delivered consistent sales growth of 7.9% annually over the last five years while growing earnings per share (EPS) at an 8.3% rate for the same period. Olin has also positioned itself for continued growth since purchasing Dow Chemical's (NYSE: DOW) chlorine business last year. 2015 revenues came in at $2.85 billion and are expected to grow by 107% in 2016 thanks in part to the merger and higher chlorine and caustic soda prices. Shares trade for around $13.80, down nearly 60% from their 52-week high, with a forward P/E of 10.8 and a fat 6.1% dividend yield.
Risks To Consider: The biggest risk facing these companies are the same broad economic headwinds affecting other companies as well. However, all three currently trade at an average 45% discount to their 52-week highs. On a price basis, a lot of the risk has already been removed from these names by the market. Also, their relatively generous dividend yields and solid businesses should provide a good defense in the longer term.
Action To Take: As a basket, shares of OLN, JCI, and IP have an average forward P/E of 10.2 and a blended dividend yield of 4.7%. Compared to the S&P 500 index, that's a 33% discount on a P/E basis and a 96% pickup in dividend yield. Pretty good numbers if you ask me. A P/E expansion to just 13, still below the market, combined with the dividend would produce a 12-month total return of 32%.
P.S. Most people think you have to sacrifice growth for income. But a Texas baby boomer is holding 23 monthly dividend payers... and has seen her portfolio grow 50%. Get all the details here, including names and ticker symbols.
Disclosure: Adam Fischbaum holds these stocks in managed client accounts.