When picking dividend stocks, investors shouldn't just look at high yielding stocks. Instead, dividend investing requires the analysis of a company's business model, its history of dividend payouts, and if the company is generating ample cash flows to sustain its dividends. The possibility of a dividend hike is an added bonus. With these filters in mind, Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG), Whole Foods (NASDAQ:WFM) and Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) appear to be attractive investment options.
Procter & Gamble is the world's second largest consumer goods manufacturer. It owns over 250 brands and has operations in over 180 countries -- making it one of the most diversified conglomerates around the globe. And according to its website, Procter & Gamble serves about 68% of the world's total population. So naturally, its massive global footprint and diversified product portfolio adds stability to its overall cash flows. But that's not all.
Procter & Gamble generates almost 40% of its revenues from emerging nations. These nations are expected contribute about 70% of the global economic growth over the next few years. So, P&G's significant exposure to these markets can propel its own growth. This mix of business diversification and growth potential adds fundamental strength to Procter & Gamble.
Speaking of its dividend payouts, shares of Procter & Gamble yield 2.84% at the company's current price. The company has been paying out dividends consistently for the last 123 years, and has hiked these dividends by almost 165% over the last 10 years. In spite of that, its moderate payout ratio of 56.4% suggests that Procter & Gamble can further boost its payouts.
Procter & Gamble generated about $10.22 billion in TTM free cash flows. These free cash flows can singlehandedly cover its annual dividend payout of $6.6 billion, and still leave cash reserves behind. The consumer goods behemoth also carries $6.122 billion in cash and cash equivalents, which can be used to hike its dividend payouts in the future. So, dividend-seeking investors can consider investing in Procter & Gamble with a long-term view.
Coca-Cola is also one of the most diversified companies in the world. It owns over 500 beverage brands which are sold in over 200 countries. The beverage giant currently leads the global soft drinks industry with a 42% market share, which is far greater than PepsiCo's 28.1%. But Coca Cola isn't just sitting idle.
It plans to invest $5 billion in India by 2020, and $4 billion in China between 2015-2017, to setup domestic bottling facilities. India and China are some of the world's largest and fastest growing economies, and these investments will further strengthen Coca Cola's market position and allow it to grow rapidly.
Speaking of dividend payouts, shares of Coca Cola yield 2.77% at the current price. The beverage giant has been paying out dividends for the last 93 years, and has hiked its dividends every year for the last 50 years. Yet, its moderate payout ratio of 55.9% suggests that there's ample room for further dividend hikes.
Coca Cola's annual dividend payout aggregates to about $4.91 billion. On the other hand, its TTM free cash flows and liquid positions total $8.08 billion and $11.1 billion, respectively. These are enough to cover its dividend payouts about 4 times, which also suggest that Coca Cola can continue to hike its dividends for years to come.
Organic (food) yield
Whole Foods is another solid investment option. The grocer practically introduced private-label organic foods on a large scale, and has become an integral part of the ongoing shift toward healthier foods. As a result, its growth rate has been impeccable. Over the last 5 years, shares of Whole Foods have risen by a staggering 974%.
Whole Foods currently operates just 367 stores across 3 nations, but plans to expand its network to 1,000 stores over the coming years. Its increased geographical reach, will not only contribute to the ongoing shift toward healthier foods, but also propel its growth exponentially. But the grocer offers more than just stock appreciation.
Shares of Whole Foods carry a modest dividend yield of 0.86% at the company's current price. While this is not sufficient for most dividend-seeking investors, it's worth noting that Whole Foods has a payout ratio of just 25%. The grocer has hiked its dividends by 220% over the last 10 years, and its low payout ratio suggests that there's ample room for further dividend hikes.
Whole Foods holds $290 million in cash and cash equivalents. These are more than enough to cover its annual dividend payout of about $178 million. In addition, the company generated $472 million in TTM Free cash flows, which cover its annual dividend payouts about 2.6 times. So, its sound financial position corroborates the theory that Whole Foods can reward its investors with dividend hikes for years to come.
All of these companies seem to have the fundamental strength to support their dividend payouts. Where Whole Foods offers modest yields, Coca Cola and Procter & Gamble offer high yields. So, holding all three companies would be a great way to spread the risks and rewards.
Piyush Arora has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, and Whole Foods Market. The Motley Fool owns shares of Coca-Cola and Whole Foods Market. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.