Though I am still cautious about the stock market in general, I decided to use last week as an opportunity to initiate positions in two companies – BP p.l.c. (BP) and Emerson Electric (EMR). Both stocks were on my recent watch list, so it sure didn’t take long for me to make good on my word, did it? 😉
I still believe in waiting for a larger pullback before putting more skin into the game. However, I did feel comfortable enough with last week’s prices to put a little bit in now. I added 25 shares of EMR at $49/share and 25 shares of BP at $40/share. I used limit orders to make the purchase. When it comes to dividend stocks, I’m okay with dollar cost averaging down if I have to, as I plan on utilizing a ‘buy and hold’ strategy. Yep, I’m in this for the long haul.
When evaluating dividend stocks, I tend to look for the following:
-Growing dividend from year to year
-EPS growth from year to year; overall positive trend in last 5 years; positive outlook next 3 years (not shown in the data below)
-Debt to Equity, Price/Sales, Price/Book below or equal to industry
-Trailing P/E below industry average; respectable forward P/E
Of course, the above is just a general guideline. But I do like to keep things real simple! I don’t feel like investing in stocks needs to be made so complicated. Though, I will make exceptions to the above guidelines for stocks I feel are grossly undervalued, or would make for strong future plays.
EMR is an example of this. At first glance, it does not meet some of the criteria outlined above. On the other hand, it is a dividend stalwart, having increased its dividend every year, for the last 55 years. EMR has been a model of consistency, and although the current forecast / outlook aren’t so great, I am betting on it for the long term. Also, it allows me entry into the industrial sector, which was previously missing in my portfolio.
BP is simply a value play. With so much uncertainty surrounding it, its current P/E is only 5.2. In general, I am bullish on oil, and comfortable on taking a gamble with BP. It also allows me to further diversify in oil companies – its addition complements Chevron (CVX) and ConocoPhillips (COP) in my portfolio.
The stock evaluation program I am using (tinkering with) allows an input for initial price and initial year. For this example, I used $5000 as the initial investment price. I started logging data from January 1, 2000. This was to allow for a sufficient enough range to showcase the dividend growth over time.
EMR: Initial Investment ($5000) grows to ($10,607.45) from January 2000 to May 11, 2012
BP:Initial Investment ($5000) grows to ($5550.58) from January 2000 to May 11, 2012. Not much gain over 12 years, but we all know why 😉