Recs

0

Is J.M. Smucker the Right Stock to Retire With?

Watch stocks you care about

The single, easiest way to keep track of all the stocks that matter...

Your own personalized stock watchlist!

It's a 100% FREE Motley Fool service...

Click Here Now

Now more than ever, a comfortable retirement depends on secure, stable investments. Unfortunately, the right stocks for retirement won't just fall into your lap. Let's figure out what makes a great retirement-oriented stock, then examine whether J.M. Smucker (NYSE: SJM  ) has what we're looking for.

The right stocks for retirees
With decades to go before you need to tap your investments, you can take greater risks, weighing the chance of big losses against the potential for mind-blowing returns. But as retirement approaches, you no longer have the luxury of waiting out a downturn.

Sure, you still want good returns, but you also need to manage your risk and protect yourself against bear markets, which can maul your finances at the worst possible time. The right stocks combine both of these elements in a single investment.

When scrutinizing a stock, retirees should look for:

  • Size. Most retirees would rather not take a flyer on unproven businesses. Bigger companies may lack their smaller counterparts' growth potential, but they do offer greater security.
  • Consistency. While many investors look for fast-growing companies, conservative investors want to see steady, consistent gains in revenue, free cash flow, and other key metrics. Slow growth won't make headlines, but it will help prevent the kind of ugly surprises that suddenly torpedo a stock's share price.
  • Stock stability. Conservative retirement investors prefer investments that move less dramatically than typical stocks, and they particularly want to avoid big losses. These investments will give up some gains during bull markets, but they won't fall as far or as fast during bear markets. Beta measures volatility, but we also want a track record of solid performance as well.
  • Valuation. No one can afford to pay too much for a stock, even if its prospects are good. Using normalized earnings multiples helps smooth out one-time effects, giving you a longer-term context.
  • Dividends. Most of all, retirees look for stocks that can provide income through dividends. Retirees want healthy payouts now and consistent dividend growth over time -- as long as it doesn't jeopardize the company's financial health.

With those factors in mind, let's take a closer look at J.M. Smucker.

Factor

What We Want to See

Actual

Pass or Fail?

Size

Market cap > $10 billion

$8.1 billion

Fail

Consistency

Revenue growth > 0% in at least four of past five years

5 years

Pass

 

Free cash flow growth > 0% in at least four of past five years

2 years

Fail

Stock stability

Beta < 0.9

0.69

Pass

 

Worst loss in past five years no greater than 20%

(4.9%)

Pass

Valuation

Normalized P/E < 18

15.14

Pass

Dividends

Current yield > 2%

2.7%

Pass

 

5-year dividend growth > 10%

9.9%

Fail

 

Streak of dividend increases >= 10 years

12 years

Pass

 

Payout ratio < 75%

40.3%

Pass

 

 

 

 

 

Total score

 

7 out of 10

Source: Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's. Total score = number of passes.

With a score of 7, J.M. Smucker's stock is just as yummy for conservative investors as its jam is for customers. The food stalwart hasn't had perfect sailing lately, but it's avoided many of the pitfalls that have hammered other stocks in recent years.

Smucker is well known for its consumer brands, including its signature jams and jellies, as well as Folgers coffee. As the distributor of Dunkin' Brands (Nasdaq: DNKN  ) packaged coffee in stores, Smucker has also benefited from the donut-maker's recent IPO.

Like fellow food companies Starbucks (Nasdaq: SBUX  ) and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (Nasdaq: GMCR  ) , though, Smucker has felt the heat from volatile commodity prices. For instance, after dealing with a coffee price increase, coffee sales by volume fell 8% in its latest quarter versus year-ago levels. Yet when coffee futures fell more recently, it cut prices 6%, beating Kraft (NYSE: KFT  ) to the punch.

Going forward, the big question for Smucker is whether raw ingredient costs will cooperate to help the company maintain and expand margins. Although sales have risen, stagnant free cash flow is troublesome both for the long-term prospects of the company and its future dividend growth. For now, though, retirees and other conservative investors have a lot to gain from holding the stock.

Keep searching
Finding exactly the right stock to retire with is a tough task, but it's not impossible. Searching for the best candidates will help improve your investing skills, and teach you how to separate the right stocks from the risky ones.

Add J.M. Smucker to My Watchlist, which will aggregate our Foolish analysis on it and all your other stocks.

If you want to retire rich, you need to be confident that you've got the basics of your investment strategy down pat. See if you're on track by following the 13 Steps to Investing Foolishly.

Fool contributor Dan Caplinger doesn't own shares of the companies mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Starbucks. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Starbucks and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, as well as creating a lurking gator position in Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. 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 Fool has a disclosure policy.

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (0)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 1549488, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 10/23/2014 10:54:19 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Dan Caplinger
TMFGalagan

Dan Caplinger has been a contract writer for the Motley Fool since 2006. As the Fool's Director of Investment Planning, Dan oversees much of the personal-finance and investment-planning content published daily on Fool.com. With a background as an estate-planning attorney and independent financial consultant, Dan's articles are based on more than 20 years of experience from all angles of the financial world.

Today's Market

updated Moments ago Sponsored by:
DOW 16,688.85 227.53 1.38%
S&P 500 1,950.49 23.38 1.21%
NASD 4,449.25 66.41 1.52%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

10/23/2014 10:38 AM
SJM $101.95 Up +0.22 +0.22%
J.M. Smucker CAPS Rating: *****
DNKN $44.13 Down -2.66 -5.68%
Dunkin' Brands Gro… CAPS Rating: **
GMCR $145.89 Up +0.77 +0.53%
Keurig Green Mount… CAPS Rating: **
KRFT $56.74 Up +0.18 +0.32%
Kraft Foods, Inc. CAPS Rating: ****
SBUX $75.15 Up +0.55 +0.74%
Starbucks CAPS Rating: ****

Advertisement