It's that time of year again. I'm going to suggest seven stocks for you to consider for 2014.
How did last year's list, published on January 13, do? All seven picks registered gains for the year (January 14-December 31). Two of them, SeaCube Container Leasing, up 18%, and Telular, up 23%, were acquired shortly after I published the list. My remaining five picks were Dow Chemical (NYSE:DOW), up 34% for the year, Six Flags Entertainment (NYSE:SIX), up 23%, Omega Healthcare Investors (NYSE:OHI), up 28%, Targa Resources (NYSE:TRGP), up 61%, and Valero Energy (NYSE:VLO), up 59%.
Here's this year's list. As usual, all are dividend payers. That way, if the market unexpectedly sinks, you'll still be collecting dividends why you wait for an upturn.
Cinemark Holdings (NYSE:CNK)
Movie theater chains don't usually come to mind when you're looking for growth stocks, but Cinemark is worth considering. It operates more than 330 theater complexes in the U.S. and more than 170 in Latin America, which is a faster growing market. For instance, from 2007-2102, U.S. box office revenues grew only 2% annually compared to 15% growth in Latin America. Further, Cinemark, averaging 5% annual growth in the U.S. and 18% in Latin America, is gaining market share in both areas. Dividend yield is 3.0%.
Meridian Bioscience (NASDAQ:VIVO)
Meridian is a long-time maker of medical diagnostic test kits. Meridian's sales growth stalled in recent years, but thanks to a spate of new products, business is picking up. Dividend yield is 3.0%.
Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ)
Verizon, the nation's largest provider of conventional wireline and cell phone services, needs no introduction. Verizon is in the process of acquiring the 45% of Verizon Wireless that it doesn't already own from Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD). Thanks to increasing use of smartphones and tablets, the wireless business is booming, Verizon, which reportedly provides the best coverage in many areas, is gaining market share. Dividend yield is 4.3%.
Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC)
One of the largest U.S. banks, Wells Fargo offers retail and commercial banking, insurance, investment, mortgage, and consumer finance services, coast to coast. Many banks should prosper if the economy grows as expected in 2014, and Wells Fargo is as good as it gets.
Blackstone Mortgage Trust (NYSE:BXMT)
Blackstone, a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), originates and/or invests in "floating rate" loans secured by commercial properties. Floating rate means that the loan interest rates move with prevailing rates, thus protecting Blackstone against interest rate swings. Blackstone Mortgage is controlled by private equity giant Blackstone Group (NYSE:BX), which is managed by some of the smartest people in the business. Although it took over an existing publicly traded REIT, for all practical purposes, Blackstone Mortgage is a new business that began operating in April 2013. Dividend yield is 6.6%.
Plains GP Holdings (NYSE:PAGP)
Plains, an October 2013 IPO, owns 21% of the general partner that controls crude oil pipeline operator Plains All American Pipeline (NYSE:PAA), which is organized as a Master Limited Partnership (MLP). With U.S. crude oil production booming, oil pipelines are a growth industry. However, MLPs' complicated tax reporting requirements dissuade many investors from holding them. Plains GP Holdings is also an MLP, but has elected to be treated as a corporation for tax purposes, so its tax return requirements are the same as for any other corporation. Current dividend yield is 2.4%.
NextEra Energy (NYSE:NEE)
NextEra operates Florida Power & Light, a regulated utility serving customers in Florida. Utility stocks underperformed last year, but will probably rebound in 2014. What makes NextEra special is its fast growing NextEra Energy Resources unit, a wholesale electricity provider that operates wind and solar energy power generation facilities in 22 states and in three Canadian provinces. Dividend yield is 3.1%.
Consider this my picks to be candidates worthy of further research, not a buy list. The more you know about your stocks, the better your results.