Investment firms have upgraded 7 dividend stocks in the last week. Most of the upgrades came from value in the stock and improving business forecasts for 2012. Each of these stocks has a dividend yield of 2% or more. We have listed the reason for the upgrade and the target price for each analyst upgrade.
Kellogg was upgraded by Deutsche Bank from a Hold to a Buy on February 23rd with a new price target of $57 per share. Kellogg purchased the Pringles brand on February 15th which has many investment advisors finding new value in the company. Deutsche Bank said the Pringles purchase creates a potential inflection point for the company. Kellogg has a dividend yield of 3.2% and has increased their dividend for 7 consecutive years. The company has a payout ratio of 51%.
SJW Corp (NYSE:SJW)
SJW Corp was upgraded by Brean Murray from a Hold to a Buy on February 23rd with price target of $29 per share. Brean Murray based their upgrade in the expectations for the company's 2012 General Rate Case request in California and CAPEX investment over the next few years. SJW has a dividend yield of 2.3% and has raised its dividend for 44 consecutive years. It has a 5 year dividend growth rate of 3.88% and a payout ratio of 58%.
Cousins Properties (NYSE:CUZ)
Cousins Properties was upgraded by Stifel Nicolaus from a Hold to a Buy on February 23rd. They set a price target of $9 per share and cited valuation and a stable balance sheet with liquidity as the reason for the upgrade. CUZ is a REIT with a dividend yield of 2.4% compared to their 5 year average of 7.1%. Cousins Properties has cut its dividend every year since 2007.
Chesapeake Lodging Trust (NYSE:CHSP)
Chesapeake Lodging Trust was upgraded by RBC Capital Markets from Sector Perform to Outperform on February 21st with a price target of $20 per share. RBC said their upgrade was based on valuation, strong momentum in core markets, and strong booking trends. CHSP is a REIT and has a dividend yield of 4.5%. It has not increased its dividend since it started paying dividends in 2010.
Eaton was upgraded by Longbow from a Neutral to a Buy with on February 21st with a price target of $63 per share. Longbow said domestic demand is stronger than expected and that 2012 earnings could be on the high side of expectations. ETN has a dividend yield of 2.7% and has increased its dividend for 2 years. It has a payout ratio of 54% and a 5 year dividend growth rate of 12.6%.
Other Dividend Upgrades
Two other stocks upgraded last week but the reason for the upgrade was not available. Both stocks were upgraded on February 23rd. CEC Entertainment (CEC) was upgraded by Morgan Keegan on from Market Perform to Outperform. A new price target was set of $44 per share. Invesco Mortgage Capital (NYSE:IVR) was upgraded by Wunderlich from a Hold to a Buy with a new price target of $18.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.