Equities continue to march higher, mostly on the back of a very accommodative Federal Reserve through their Quantitative Easing policies. These same policies have proved to be very challenging to income investors. Bank deposits, certificates of deposit and money market funds pay next to nothing in interest. High yield debt has had a great run over the last few years but the risk/reward seems tilted to the former given the historically low spreads between treasuries and non investment grade credits.
Traditionally high yield sectors of the market such as Telecom, Pharma and Consumer Staples look like they are overvalued based on their earnings growth and dividend yield compared to their valuations. For example, Procter & Gamble (PG), a long time favorite among dividend investors, is selling at almost 18x forward earnings. This is a 25% premium to the expected forward earnings of the S&P. It is also trading at the top end of its five year valuation based on P/E, P/CF, P/B and P/S. The company is projected to grow earnings and revenues by just over 1% in FY2013. This is an extreme valuation to accept for an "income" stock that yields less than three percent (2.9%).
Yield investors looking for income can find it in equities if they are willing to think outside the box and go outside the traditional dividend paying sectors and equities. Here are three plays in that vein that look like good combinations of yield, growth prospects and valuation.
TAL International Group, Inc. (TAL) engages in leasing intermodal containers and chassis worldwide. The company operates in two segments, Equipment Leasing and Equipment Trading. I first profiled this high yield play back in July. Since then the stock has climbed more than 30% but still looks like it could go higher. The shares yield just under six percent (5.9%) and the company has more than doubled its dividend payouts over the past three years. Consensus earnings estimates for both FY2013 and FY2014 have gone up significantly over the last month. Revenues are expected to grow in high single digits over the next two years and the stock sports a small five year projected PEG (.95) for such a high yielder. An insider recently made a small purchase and TAL sells for less than 10x forward earnings.
Gold Resource Corporation (GORO) is an exploration stage company that produces gold and silver from six mines in Mexico. It yields 5.6%, pays dividends monthly and has doubled its dividend payouts over the last two years. Two insiders bought $200K worth of new shares in November and revenues are projected to increase more than 15% in FY2013 and the stock is priced at just over 13x forward earnings. The company has a solid balance with net cash on the books.
Fly Leasing Limited (FLY) acquires, finances, leases, and sells commercial jet aircraft worldwide. It has over 200 commercial planes in its portfolio. This is another yield selection I highlighted in July. It is up more than 25% since that time. FLY yields 6% and is selling at just over six times 2012's earnings. The stock is cheap at just 79% of book value. Deutsche Bank initiated the shares as a "Buy" in February and the company easily beat earnings expectations during its last quarterly report. Some have speculated that the Boeing fiasco with lithium batteries in its Dreamliners could be a positive for aircraft leasing companies.
Disclosure: I am long FLY.