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Harman International Doubles its Dividend

Car audio equipment maker Harman International Industries Inc (HAR) announced it would double its annual cash dividend to 60 cents per share.  The company will pay a dividend of 15 cents per share quarterly, effective July 1. The first quarterly payment will be made in September 2012.  Shares of the company, which owns brands such as Harman Kardon, JBL, AKG and Infinity, closed at $37.45 for a dividend yield of 0.80%.  HAR is a dividend growth stock as it has a 5-year average annual dividend growth of 43% with a payout ratio of 5%.

As of June 14, HAR has repurchased just over $100 million shares of common stock, which represents more than half of the amount authorized by its Board in October 2011.  The amount approved by the Board was $200 million for stock repurchases.  Dinesh C. Paliwal, President, Chairman, and CEO of Harman, commented, “We believe the repurchase of our shares represents a sound investment decision for our Company given recent trading prices. If the price of our shares remains at or around the current market price level, we plan to continue to buy back our shares in accordance with the economic parameters of the repurchase program, as approved by our Board.”  HAR has a market cap of $2.65 billion.

HAR had Q4 earnings of $0.67 per share in 2012 compared to $0.34 in Q4 2011.  HAR has dropped 20% as Apple has decided to use its own platform for navigation and voice recognition services.

Fastest Dividend Growers with a Bullish Outlook

Buying stocks that increase dividends allows you to take advantage of one of the most powerful tools in the investors’ arsenal — the wealth-building effect of compounding.  And consistent dividend growth is like jet fuel for the compounding engine.   But there are more advantages to companies able to consistently grow dividend payments.  One often overlooked “plus” is that they tend to be safer investments.  Dividends are a litmus test of a company’s true financial strength.  Only companies able to grow earnings through good times and bad will commit to consistently raising dividends.  And these are the types of business that tend to see more stability in their shares.

It’s even better when you have companies that are increasing their dividends at high rates over a five year or longer period.  My search for 5-year dividend growth rates creates a list of potential fast dividend growers.  But to make the list more appealing, I also require an equity summary score that indicates the consensus among analysts is Bullish or Very Bullish.  Investors should keep in mind that dividend growers may not have a high yield today but will grow your yield on cost for years to come.  This is a list of the best stocks with highest dividend growth rates:

UnitedHealth Group (UNH) is a diversified health and well-being company dedicated to helping people live healthier lives and making health care work better.  While the clouds overhead are the ruling on Obama’s Health care law, UNH has not missed a beat with its dividend growth.  UNH has a dividend yield of 1.18% on a 13% payout ratio.  More impressively, UNH has a 5-year average dividend growth rate of 85%.  UNH increased its dividend 30% in the past year. UNH has an equity summary rating of 9.4 out of 10 for a VERY Bullish outlook.

Fertilizer producer CF Industries Holdings Inc’s (CF) quarterly profit easily beat Wall Street’s expectations due to strong demand for nitrogen during the North American spring planting season as reported on May 5 2012.  Long term, we believe tight global grain stocks will sustain high farm profits, plantings and fertilizer demand.  CF has a dividend yield of 0.99% on a 5% payout ratio.  CF has a 5-year average dividend growth rate of 82%.  UNH increased its dividend 300% in the past year.  CF has an equity summary rating of 9.3 out of 10 for a VERY Bullish outlook.

Herbalife Ltd. (HLF) is a global nutrition company that sells weight-management, nutrition, and personal care products intended to support a healthy lifestyle.  HLF sank to a 52-week low as David Einhorn of Greenlight Capital asked a few questions on the company’s earnings call but had no position in Greenlight’s recent portfolio update.  HLF has a dividend yield of 2.72% on a 25% payout ratio.  HLF has a 5-year average dividend growth rate of 64%.  HLF increased its dividend 50% in the past year.  HLF has an equity summary rating of 9.7 out of 10 for a VERY Bullish outlook.

Access National Corporation (ANCX)) is the parent company of Access National Bank, an independent bank serving the business community of the DC Metropolitan area.  ANCX reported first quarter net income of $3.4 million, a 50.3% increase over the $2.3 millionrecorded in the first quarter of 2011.  This represents the company’s 47th consecutive quarterly profit over its 12 year history.  ANCX has a dividend yield of 2.02% on a 13% payout ratio.  ANCX has a 5-year average dividend growth rate of 43%.  ANCX increased its dividend 100% in the past year.  ANCX has an equity summary rating of 9.9 out of 10 for a VERY Bullish outlook.

Harman International Industries Inc.’s (HAR), the maker of high-end stereo, audio and recording equipment and digital products, has notched top-line growth recently by aggressively expanding into emerging markets and from the benefits of an overall recovery in consumer and automotive spending.  Harman is gaining audio market share in the luxury auto market and has inked deals inChina and India.  HAR has a dividend yield of 0.89% on a 6% payout ratio.  HAR has a 5-year average dividend growth rate of 43%.  HAR increased its dividend 200% in the past year.  HAR has an equity summary rating of 8.5 out of 10 for a Bullish outlook.

UNH Dividend Yield Chart

UNH Dividend Yield data by YCharts

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