Dividend stocks can be the foundation of a great retirement portfolio. Not only do the payments put money in your pocket, which can help hedge against any dips in the stock market, but they're usually a sign of a financially sound company. Dividends also give investors a painless opportunity to reinvest in a stock, thus compounding gains over time.
However, not all income stocks live up to their full potential. Using the payout ratio -- i.e., the percentage of profits a company returns to its shareholders as dividends -- we can get a good read on whether or not a company has room to increase its dividend. Payout ratios between 50% and 75% are ideal. Here are three income stocks with payout ratios currently below 50% that could potentially double dividend payments.
Archer Daniels Midland
We'll begin the week by taking a closer look at food ingredients giant Archer Daniels Midland (NYSE:ADM).
The biggest risk investors need to be aware of when investing in a company like Archer Daniels Midland is that consumer food habits can shift rapidly. Consumers are currently craving more in the way of food label transparency, which could come with added costs and some growth hiccups for ADM, as Archer Daniels Midland is more commonly known, if it's unprepared.
The good news is that ADM is well-prepared to handle whatever is thrown its way. One of the keys to ADM's long-term success is remaining nimble and focusing its internal efforts on higher-growth prospects. Recently, ADM has shifted its focus to target both millennials who want that added transparency and healthier food options, and also seniors aged 65 and up, who'll soon outnumber children younger than five and are an affluent group of consumers. By placing its future bets in areas of strong growth, ADM should be able to generate above-average growth relative to its peers.
Acquisitions are another area where ADM can shine. For example, in 2014, ADM purchased Swiss-based Wild Flavors for $3.1 billion to complement its existing ingredient portfolio and expand its global reach. However, ancillary benefits of its acquisition of Wild have included cost-savings for its clients based on cost synergies realized from the deal, as well as new combinations of ingredients that have come about as a result of combining the research and development divisions of both companies. This is just one example in a long line of M&A moves that help ADM move the needle.
Of course, ADM also has time on its side. Land is finite, but the global population is ever-growing, meaning food demand is expected to rise over time, as are the demands of farmers for improved crop yields. This long-term trend bodes well for ADM.
With a current payout of $0.30 a quarter, good enough for a 2.7% yield, and a 40-year streak of increasing its payout, I'd suggest ADM is on track to double its payout within the next decade.
Next up, for you shoppers out there, is a name that should be quite familiar: footwear and accessories retailer Foot Locker (NYSE:FL).
As with any retailer, investors have to be prepared for inevitable declines in consumer spending, as well as shifting fashion trends. If you look at Foot Locker's long-term chart, you will indeed notice a few hiccups from time to time. However, if you're a long-term investor, there doesn't appear to be much to fear, with Foot Locker having laid out clear long-term goals.
Among the most important factors to Foot Locker's success is its ability to maintain or expand its market share in kids footwear, as well as its ability to drive direct-to-consumer growth. As noted in the company's second-quarter earnings report, Foot Locker opened 35 new Kids Foot Locker stores since the beginning of the year, compared to only two store closures. On top of aggressive expansion, Foot Locker is intent on keeping brand-name products in its stores that evoke emotional attachments.
Web sales have been another bright spot for Foot Locker. Last year, web sales grew by nearly 9% year over year to $941.1 million, accounting for 12.7% of total sales, up from 12.1% in the prior-year period. Aside from just giving the consumer the added convenience of purchasing products online and reviewing a larger catalog of products that may not be available in its brick-and-mortar locations, web sales also come with less overhead. This in no way means that Foot Locker isn't planning on boosting its physical presence. However, an increasing web presence should help boost its margins and attract a younger crowd of consumers.
If Foot Locker continues to correctly anticipate fashion trend shifts more often than not (which it's done well, historically), and it can maintain its market share in kids footwear while expanding in other rapidly growing niches, such as women's footwear and accessories, then its current annual payout of $1.10 a year (1.7% yield) could double within the next five to 10 years.
Goodyear Tire & Rubber
A final company income investors should take note of is tire giant Goodyear Tire & Rubber (NASDAQ:GT).
If you're considering an investment in Goodyear Tire, you have to be aware of how automotive demand could influence Goodyear's bottom line. For instance, most pundits are expecting U.S. auto demand to peak in either 2017 or 2018, meaning Goodyear could see a bit of a sales lull in the years thereafter (assuming this prediction holds water). Also, investors need to pay attention to rubber costs, which can influence Goodyear's margins and profitability.
With these concerns in mind, there's a lot to like about Goodyear. In particular, Goodyear's business fundamentals remain strong. Though forecasts are calling for the U.S. auto industry to peak in the coming years, those same forecasts have been pushed back multiple times. Until there's smoke, there's no reason to believe there's a fire. For example, tire unit volume grew by 2% to 41.5 million during the second quarter, with ex-U.S. regions driving the majority of its growth. Until we see this modest organic growth wane, there's little cause for concern.
Costs have also been a major positive for Goodyear. Rubber prices have fallen more than 50% over the trailing-five-year period -- and while that can lower Goodyear's pricing power a bit, the benefits from lower expenses tend to more than outweigh any pricing pressure.
A final bit of intrigue comes from the fact that activist investor Marcato Capital Management, which owned a 1.9% stake in Goodyear as of June 30, 2016, has been actively campaigning to have Goodyear return more cash to its shareholders. Last week, Marcato got its wish, with Goodyear raising its quarterly dividend to $0.10 from $0.07 per quarter. Goodyear also forecast $3 billion in operating income by 2020 and cumulative free-cash-flow generation of between $4.3 billion and $4.9 billion from 2017 to 2020.
With its dividend yield above 1%, but its payout ratio looking to be only about 10% of its 2017 EPS forecast, Goodyear's dividend still has a lot of room to run.
Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong.
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