Last week was relatively quiet for new dividend stock ratings. Only 5 stocks with a yield over 2% received new ratings from investment firms as we start to head into earnings season. We have listed the reason for the upgrade or downgrade and the new price target when the analyst made it available.
2 Upgraded Dividend Stocks
Apollo Investment (AINV)
Apollo Investment was upgraded by Barclays (BCS) from Equal Weight to Overweight on April 10th with a price target of $10 pe share. Barclys said Apollo has the lowest book value in its sector and that the joint investment with Madison Capital would support its shift in strategy to investing in private debt. AINV has a dividend yield of 11% and recently cut its dividend for the first time in three years. The company currently has negative EPS of .46 so there is no payout ratio.
KB Home (KBH)
KB Home was upgraded by MKM Partners from a Sell to a Neutral rating on April 10th with a price target of $10 per share. MKM Partners said the upgrade was based on valuation. KBH has a dividend yield of 3.1% and cuts its quarterly dividend from $.0625 to $.0250 in 2012. KBH also has negative EPS so no payout ratio can be calculated.
3 Downgraded Dividend Stocks
Gamestop was downgraded by Needham from a Buy to a Hold on April 11th. Needham said slowing retail game sales will continue to reduce revenue and upcoming product launches will not help drive the stock higher. GME has a dividend yield of 2.8% and just started paying dividends in 2012. It has a payout ratio of 25%.
Hooker Furniture (HOFT)
Hooker Furniture was downgraded by BB&T Capital Markets (BBT) from a Buy to a Hold on April 11th. The reason for the downgrade was not made available. HOFT has a dividend yield of 3.5% and has a payout ratio of 103% which could signal a future dividend cut. The company has not cut its dividend in 5 years.
OPNET was downgraded by Noble Financial from a Buy to a Hold on April 11th. Noble Financial dropped its price target for OPNT to $25 from $39. Noble cited the negative pre-announcement by OPNET as the reason for the downgrade. OPNT has a dividend yield of 2.1% and a payout ratio of 166%. The company has increased its dividend each year since 2009.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.