It was back to business as usual last week with very few dividend paying stocks being upgraded by analysts. So far, this week is off to a similar start. Only four stocks with yields of 2% or more were upgraded. We have listed the reason for the upgrade and the new price target when the investment firm made it available.
Comtech Telecom (CMTL)
Comtech Telecom was upgraded by Noble Financial from a hold to a buy on April 3rd with a price target of $40 per share. Noble Financial cited an $80M army contract that increases visibility for the company as the reason for the upgrade. CMTL has a dividend yield of 3.2%. The company started paying dividends in 2010 and has raised its dividend each year since. It has a payout ratio of 64%.
Fifth Third (FITB)
Fifth Third was upgraded by Stifel Nicolaus from a hold to a buy on April 3rd with a new price target of $17 per share. Stifel Nicolaus cited attractive value, solid profits, above peer earnings and organic growth. FITB has a dividend yield of 2.1% compared to its 5 year yield average of 4%. The company has a payout ratio of 25% and has increased its dividend for two consecutive years.
Annaly Capital Management (NLY)
Annaly Capital Management was upgraded by Compass Point on April 9th with a new price target of $17 per share. This REIT has seen many downgrades recently so it was nice to see an analyst with a positive outlook. Compass Point said the upgrade was based on the Federal Reserve's re-commitment to ZIRP through 2014 and historical trading multiples that create a good valuation. NLY has a dividend yield of 15% compared to its 5 year yield average of 13.7%. The company has had to cut its dividend in recent years but Compass Point obviously expects this to end. We are not focused on the payout ratio for REITs because they are required to payout 90% of the company's income to shareholders.
First Patomac Realty (FPO)
First Patomac Realty was upgraded by Hilliard Lyons on April 3rd with a price target of $14 per share. The reason for the upgrade was not available. FPO is a REIT and has a dividend yield of 6.3%. The company has not increased its dividend since it was cut in 2009. REITs are required to payout 90% of the company's income to shareholders so we are not concerned with the payout ratio.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.