If you choose the right stocks, you can sit back and let the companies do all the work while you pay more attention to other things like living your life. But you have to be picky -- selecting stocks and industries that don't require a lot of babysitting. Three stocks that will let you work on your golf game, or whatever else you'd like to spend your time doing, are midstream giant Enterprise Products Partners L.P. (NYSE:EPD), trash hauler Waste Management, Inc. (NYSE:WM), and even precious-metals company Franco-Nevada Corp. (TSX:FNV).
1. It's the pipes
Enterprise Products Partners is in the oil and gas transportation business. Don't worry about that, however, because it avoids all the ups and downs of energy prices by focusing on collecting tolls. It's one of the country's largest midstream energy partnerships, with a massive collection of pipelines, storage, processing facilities, and a fleet of ships. These are the businesses that get oil and gas from where they're drilled to where they get used and are largely fee-based operations. It's demand for energy that matters.
The partnership's distribution yield is around 6.1%. With distributable cash flow coverage of roughly 1.3 times in the first quarter, there's plenty of room for Enterprise to increase the distribution, again. It currently has an impressive streak of 52 consecutive quarterly disbursement hikes. The annualized rate of increase over the past 10 years has been about 5%, a couple of percentage points higher than the historical average increase in inflation (around 3%). Note, too, that it has around $8 billion in capital projects on tap for the next two or three years backing up its business, distribution, and growth.
2. Take it away
Waste Management literally does a dirty job that someone's gotta do. The company is one of the largest trash haulers in the United States, collecting and recycling our refuse (about 70% of the business) and storing it in a vast collection of landfills (20%, with "other" making up the difference). No, it's not an exciting business, but imagine what life would be like if there was no one there to sweep your trash away.
The trash collection and recycling businesses are basically driven by long-term contracts. Landfills, meanwhile, are a unique asset because it's hard to build new ones. So Waste Management uses its own landfills, but it also gets to charge competitors for using them. With one of the largest waste-related networks in the country, Waste Management has a notable competitive advantage.
All of this provides the backdrop for the company's 14 consecutive annual dividend hikes. The yield is relatively modest at around 2.3%, but that's higher than the S&P 500's roughly 2% yield. And the distribution has grown at around 6% annualized over the past decade, roughly twice the historical rate of inflation.
3. Balancing things out
You might think I'm crazy to include a precious-metals company in a list of stocks you don't need to babysit. But there are a couple of good reasons for this. First, adding gold and silver to your portfolio will provide an important level of diversification that will help you sleep well at night even when the market is going haywire. For example, during the deep 2007 to 2009, recession gold advanced 25% while the S&P 500 fell 36%.
And then there's Franco-Nevada's business. It's a streaming company, not a miner. It gives miners cash up front for the right to buy gold and silver at reduced rates in the future. It's debt-free and has 70% margins. In fact, low gold prices are actually an opportunity for Franco-Nevada to invest for the future because that's when miners are generally most desperate for cash.
That helps explain why Franco-Nevada has increased its dividend for 10 years, including 2017. Note that this period included a commodity downturn, proving the strength of the company's streaming model. Although the yield is only around 1.3%, the diversification benefit of adding precious metals to your portfolio with a solid dividend payer that you don't have to watch like a hawk could be priceless during the next market downturn.
Perfect that golf swing
If you want to spend your time focused on something other than your portfolio, Enterprise, Waste Management, and Franco-Nevada are each worth a deep dive. It's not that you don't ever have to watch them, but they have business models that have proven themselves over time as evidenced by impressive histories of annual dividend increases. That should help you focus on that golf swing (or whatever it is you enjoy doing) while your portfolio works for you -- not you feeling like you are working for your portfolio.