Long-term investing can be as simple as buying blue-chip dividend stocks at fair or discounted valuations. Doing so can produce a consistently growing stream of passive income, and gradually increase an investor's wealth over time.
The auto and industrial replacement parts stock Genuine Parts (GPC -0.03%) looks like it could be a buy for investors. Here are three reasons why.
1. A reputation for beating analyst estimates
In late April, Genuine Parts recorded strong results for its first quarter ended March 31. The company produced double-digit growth in its net sales and non-GAAP (adjusted) diluted earnings per share (EPS) growth.
Genuine Parts reported $5.3 billion in net sales in the first quarter, which is equivalent to an 18.6% growth rate over the year-ago period. This topped the average analyst net sales forecast of $5.1 billion for the quarter, which was the company's seventh revenue beat out of the last 10 quarters.
Genuine Parts' tremendous net sales growth was driven by growth in both the automotive parts and industrial parts segments. Thanks to the significant semiconductor chip shortage, which curbed new car production, consumers have been more reliant on used car parts as of late. This helped Genuine Parts' automotive segment report $3.3 billion in net sales for the quarter, which was a 10.9% year-over-year growth rate. And due to the ongoing economic recovery, the industrial segment posted $2 billion in net sales in the quarter. This equates to a 33.6% growth rate over the year-ago period.
Genuine Parts generated $1.86 in adjusted diluted EPS for the first quarter, which works out to a 24% year-over-year growth rate. This handily surpassed the analyst consensus of $1.70, which was the ninth quarter out of the past 10 quarters that the company exceeded analysts' earnings predictions.
Besides Genuine Parts' higher net sales base, there were two elements in play to explain its sizzling earnings growth. First, the company was able to expand its non-GAAP net margin by 10 basis points over the year-ago period to 5%. Second, Genuine Parts' weighted average outstanding share count declined 1.7% year-over-year to 142.8 million shares in the first quarter.
Looking ahead, analysts anticipate that the company will be able to deliver 5% annual earnings growth through the next five years.
2. Robust dividend growth should persist
Genuine Parts' decent earnings growth should also help the company extend its 66-year dividend growth streak moving forward, which makes it a Dividend King.
That's because the stock's dividend payout ratio is expected to be 45% in 2022. This still allows Genuine Parts to retain the majority of its earnings to invest in business expansion, execute share buybacks, and pay down its debt.
Since the stock has some room to increase its payout ratio, I believe that Genuine Parts' dividend will grow a bit faster than earnings. This is why I'm expecting at least 6% to 7% annual dividend growth over the next five years. Considering that Genuine Parts' 2.7% dividend yield is nearly double that of the S&P 500 index's 1.6% yield, this is respectable growth potential.
3. A sensible valuation for a Dividend King
Genuine Parts is a high-quality business. And it appears as though the stock's valuation doesn't fully reflect this reality.
That's because Genuine Parts' forward price-to-earnings ratio of 17.3 is basically the same as the S&P 500's multiple of 17.1. The stock should arguably be trading at a slightly higher premium to the S&P 500 than is currently the case precisely because of its status as a Dividend King. That's what makes the stock an intriguing buy for income and value investors at its current $135 share price.