Here we are, at the end of the line on our stock six-pack and we're still able to stand. Let us rejoice. As readers of part one and part two well know, the idea here was to find stable, income-producing stocks that could be added to your portfolio without making it all woozy and bleary-eyed in the morning.
Specifically, we chose only stocks that offered yields over 3%, a market cap over $1 billion, and had low price-to-earnings and price-to-free-cash flow multiples. Just like their predecessors, these last two companies fit the bill nicely. So without further delay, let's finish off this six-pack.
The toolmaker has had a rough ride recently, as the weak economy has put the screws to demand for its products. In January, the firm warned its fourth-quarter earnings would come in below expectations. The stock plunged from $35 to about $25 and has been hovering there ever since.
At its current price, the company trades at just eight times free cash flow (FCF) and 10.5 times forward earnings. The firm has a strong balance sheet, and has been using its free cash to pay down debt. Further, it will pay you a 4% dividend, which represents just 31% of FCF, while the share price improves.
Sun and not so fun
Seeking significant tax savings, it was all set to move its headquarters to Bermuda in 2002. However, the plan drew heavy criticism, with many insisting that Stanley, the "all-American tool company," was being unpatriotic. In the end, it yielded to the pressure, sacrificing the tax savings by staying put in New Britain, Conn., though it did point to the growing possibility of favorable tax legislation as a factor in its decision.
Stanley's sales will likely show continued weakness in the coming year, as consumer and business spending remain gloomy and the housing market cools. But it is planning to continue its more recent strategy of growth through acquisitions, further expanding its offerings. All in all, Stanley is a diverse, well-positioned company that will pay you a juicy dividend while you wait out the downturn.
A dividend check that won't bounce
Seeking a little durability in this tough market? Look no further than Newell Rubbermaid
When I first selected Newell for this portfolio on March 6, the stock was trading at $25.28, and had a yield of 3.3%, handily beating our 3% minimum requirement. Since then, however, the shares have increased by 14.5% to $28.94, driving the yield down to 2.91%, just under the minimum.
Once the stocks in the six-pack were selected, they were basically chosen for parts one, two, or three at random. In retrospect, it would have worked out nicely if I had placed Newell in part one and Altria
In the end, I decided not to quibble over nine basis points of yield and kept Newell in the portfolio, as I still very much like the company. Further, in this volatile market it's certainly possible, if not likely, the yield will jump back over 3% at some point in the short term.
Even after the nice run in the stock, the consumer products company still trades at just 13 times free cash flow, and 16 times forward earnings. Those ratios are a bit higher than those of other stocks in the six-pack, but on an earnings per share (EPS) basis, the company trades at a substantial discount to its competitors.
The firm will likely grow sales in the 8% range this year and increase EPS by 15%. Those numbers are solid in a good market, but they're extremely impressive in a tough economy.
Newell has a diverse product offering, and it maintains strong customer relationships. The company's margins are likely to continue improving, as new products in development are rolled out this year, and management has returned nearly 15% on shareholders' equity over the past 12 months.
Newell Rubbermaid is yet another well-diversified firm that can grow earnings in good times and bad. Its stable shares have outperformed the S&P 500 by nearly 500% over its life. And, of course, the consumer products company will pay you nearly 3% while your shares grow.
Proof is in the process
Overall, I'm very pleased with the "Six-Pack Portfolio," as I believe it's comprised of stable, diverse, income-producing companies that are well positioned for future growth. But in truth, I hope the process we've gone through to find these companies will become more a part of your investment world than the companies themselves, as that's truly what's important here.
There are over 10,000 publicly traded companies out there to choose from, so why not buy only the best? As this market has taught us, we really can't afford not to. Be vigilant and selective, and stick with companies that consistently meet your high standards. Do this and it's likely your portfolio, like these companies, will remain healthy in good markets and bad.
In the event Mathew Emmert meets with an untimely end, he hopes they have Nutter Butters in Heaven... or Hell (just in case). He owns shares in Altria. You can view all of his holdings in his profile. The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.