7 Dividend Stocks With New Analyst Upgrades

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 |  Includes: ACC, CDI, CVX, GEF, IPG, SON, SPLS
by: Dividend Stocks Online

Last week, we saw a large number of dividend paying stocks get downgraded. Despite the negative outlook from analysts, a few high quality dividend payers managed to see new upgrades applied to their stocks. Each of the stocks we are covering in this article has a dividend yield of 2% or more. We have provided the reason behind each upgrade and the investment firm's new target price when available.

Greif (NYSE:GEF)

Greif was upgraded by Barrington Research on March 2nd from Market Perform to Outperform, but the firm did not provide a new price target. Barrington cited Greif's early Q2/12 signs of volume improvement and said it could be the beginning of an inflection point. Barrington also cited their expectations that 2013 should be a better EBITDA year. Greif has a dividend yield of 3.4% and a 5 year dividend growth rate of 22.2%. The company started paying dividends in 1990, and has increased its dividend for 8 consecutive years. GEF has a payout ratio of 56%.

CDI Corp (NYSE:CDI)

CDI Corp was upgraded by Northland Securities from Market Perform to Outperform on February 29th with a price target of $19. Northland upgraded the stock following the company's Q4 results. CDI has a dividend yield of 3.6% and a 5 year dividend growth rate of 3.5%. The company has not increased its dividend since 2007.

Chevron (NYSE:CVX)

Chevron was upgraded by Deutsche Bank from a Hold to a Buy on February 29th, with a price target of $130. Deutsche Bank cited valuation as the reason for their upgrade and said Chevron is leveraged to benefit from higher Brent Crude oil prices. Chevron has a dividend yield of 2.9% and has increased its dividend for 19 consecutive years. The company started paying dividends in 1912 and has a 5 year dividend growth rate of 8.9%. CVX has a payout ratio of 24%.

American Campus Communities (NYSE:ACC)

American Campus Communities was upgraded by Argus from a Hold to a Buy on February 27th with a price target of $46 per share. Argus cited strong fundamentals and valuation as the reason for their upgrade. American Campus is a REIT and has a dividend yield of 3.3%. It started paying dividends in 2004 and has not changed its annual dividend of $1.35 per share in the last 5 years.

Interpublic (NYSE:IPG)

Interpublic was upgraded by Deutsche Bank from a Hold to a Buy on February 27th with a target price of $15 per share. Deutsche Bank cited the company's Q4 results and guidance as the reason for the upgrade. Interpublic has a dividend yield of 2.1% and a payout ratio of 24%. The company just started paying dividends again in 2011.

Other Dividend Stock Upgrades

We found 2 other dividend stocks that were upgraded last week, and the reason behind the upgraded was not available. Staples (NASDAQ:SPLS) was upgraded on March 2nd by Caris & Company from Average to Above Average. Staples has a dividend yield of 2.6%. Sonoco Products (NYSE:SON) was upgraded by Robert W. Baird from Neutral to Outperform on March 1st with a price target of $38 per share. Sonoco Products has a dividend yield of 3.6%.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.