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4 Stocks With Room To Grow Their Dividend

Dividend sustainability is paramount for the high-yield investor. Having a stock cut its dividend could potentially crush their income. A high-yield investor is less concerned about dividend growth than maintaining the current high-yield. Most traditional dividend growth stocks pay a moderate to low yield, thus sustainability is not enough - the investor in Dividend Growth Stocks also expects substantial and consistent growth.

This expectation does not change even when the economy turns down and earnings decline; dividend growth investors still require annual dividend growth. The companies that are able to accomplish this are those with a operating model that generates strong free cash flows with room to pay out a higher percentage as dividends. Below are several companies with a low free cash flow payout (below 40%):

Aflac Incorporated (AFL) provides supplemental health and life insurance in Japan and the U.S. Products are marketed at work sites and help fill gaps in primary coverage.
FCF Payout: 14.5% | Yield: 2.0%

Cincinnati Financial Corp. (CINF) is an insurance holding company that primarily markets property and casualty coverage. It also conducts life insurance and asset management operations.
FCF Payout: 30.8% | Yield: 2.0%

Lowe's Companies, Inc. (LOW) sells retail building materials and supplies, lumber, hardware and appliances through more than 1,850 stores in the U.S. and Canada.
FCF Payout: 31.1% | Yield: 2.0%

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (WMT) is the largest retailer in the world, operating a chain of over 10,000 discount department stores, wholesale clubs, supermarkets and supercenters.
FCF Payout: 36.0% | Yield: 1.8%

An interesting twist to the above is a 2006 study conducted by Credit Suisse that found high dividend yield stocks generally outperformed those with lower yields. However, the best returns did not come from those with the highest yields, but those with higher yields coupled with low payout ratios. The study found that high yield, low payout stocks that produced the better returns were priced at low ratios of price-to-earnings, and as a corollary, at high ratios of earnings-to-price; i.e., earnings yield. Put another way, the stocks prices were depressed, thus creating the higher yield and a value play.

At some point we will all want to retire, but that is not to say we want our portfolio to stop working for us. A good dividend growth stock portfolio will not only provide us income in our retirement, but provide us more income each year than the one before.

Full Disclosure: Long AFL, CINF, WMT,

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