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MARKETWATCH VIEW: Move Over, Uncle Sam--Top Dividends Beat Bonds

By Brett Arends A DOW JONES COLUMN Gulp! Nervous times again. Suddenly everyone is afraid of a double dip. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down six weeks in a row, tumbling below 12000 for the first time since the Japanese panic in March. Nervous investors are stampeding into the "safety" of Treasury bonds instead, driving up prices across the board. Should you follow suit? Hmmm. Here's a slightly contrarian point of view. The rush into Treasurys has driven the yield on 10-year bonds tumbling, below 3%. Meanwhile, the selloff on Wall Street has driven stock yields in the opposite direction. You can now find top quality blue-chip stocks that offer dividend yields better than 3%. No, they're not perfectly comparable. Stock dividends, unlike Treasury coupons, aren't guaranteed. But neither are they capped: Over time, companies increase their dividends. Regular Treasury bonds don't hike their coupons after a good year. Furthermore, bond coupons are taxed as ordinary income. Stock dividends are taxed more lightly. Using FactSet, I ran a screen of large-cap stocks, valued at more than $10 billion, where the dividend yield exceeds 3%. To cut down on the risks, I also weeded out stocks that were trading at more than 16 times forecast earnings, and where interest cover is less than two times. Abut 50 stocks passed the test. A decent number. They range from telecom providers like AT&T (T) to consumer staples like Campbell's Soup (CPB), Kimberly-Clark (KMB), H.J. Heinz (HNZ) and Kellogg (K). They include a lot of big drug companies, such as Abbott Labs (ABT) and Eli Lilly (LLY) defense contractors like Raytheon (RTN); some industrials, tobacco companies, and plenty of those old dividend standbys, utilities, like Consolidated Edison (ED). Even Limited Brands (LTD), parent of Victoria's Secret, makes the cut. At a time when investors and savers are desperate for income, some of these are worth a serious look. Several of the names are investments held by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA, BKRB), which may reassure anyone feeling nervous about jumping in here. They are Kraft (KFT), Procter & Gamble (PG), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), and Swiss drug company Sanofi-Aventis (SNY). (A few other Buffett holdings just miss the cut. Coca-Cola (KO) now yields 2.7%, and Wal-Mart (WMT) 2.5%.) 10 stocks that beat Treasurys If you're looking to jump in, the easiest move--and maybe the smartest one--is to buy a low-cost "large-cap value" fund that invests in blue chips with good yields. Name Industry Dividend Yield Altria Group Inc. (MO) Tobacco 5.8% Verizon Inc. (VZ) Telecom 5.6% American Electric Power Co. (AEP) Power 4.9% Merck & Co. (MRK) Drugs 4.4% Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT) Defense 3.9% Johnson & Johnson Consumer 3.4% DuPont Co. (DD) Chemicals 3.3% M&T Bank Corp. (MTB) Finance 3.3% McDonald's Corp. (MCD) Fast Food 3.1% Chevron Corp. (CVX) Oil 3% (Brett Arends is a writer for MarketWatch. He can be reached at 415-439-6400 or via email at [email protected])

Stock News for Raytheon (RTN)
DateTimeHeadline
02/16/201709:00:00Raytheon developing first of its kind automated assessment system...
02/15/201709:09:17Annual Report (10-k)
02/13/201708:30:00U.S., allies invest $202 million in Patriot Integrated Air and...
02/10/201714:48:09Amended Statement of Ownership (sc 13g/a)
02/10/201710:29:00Harold Rosen Launched an Era of Global Satellite Communications
02/08/201712:00:00Raytheon, Utilidata to deliver defense-grade cybersecurity for...
02/04/201714:56:00Next-gen Standard Missile-3 completes first intercept test
02/02/201718:02:00Exporters Tout Benefits of Republicans' 'Border Adjustment' Proposal--Update
02/02/201706:29:00Exporters Tout Benefits of Republicans' 'Border Adjustment' Proposal
01/31/201713:45:00Raytheon, USAF developing new signal processor for AMRAAM
01/30/201717:11:36Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
01/30/201708:00:00Raytheon executives to speak at Cowen and Company 38th Annual...
01/26/201717:34:00Raytheon Drops Out of Air Force Jet Contest; Northrop Unsure
01/26/201707:00:10Current Report Filing (8-k)
01/26/201706:55:00Raytheon Reports Strong Fourth Quarter and Full-Year 2016 Results
01/25/201717:30:51Amended Statement of Ownership (sc 13g/a)
01/25/201713:08:00Raytheon/Leonardo team withdraws from T-X competition
01/25/201708:57:00Raytheon completes factory acceptance testing of flight operations...
01/24/201717:07:36Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
01/24/201717:07:09Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)

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