David Einhorn is an esteemed fund manager known for his short-selling practices. He became famous for making big money by selling short Allied Capital due to the financial services company's questionable lending activities that seemed to defraud Small Business Administration. He later profitably sold short the Lehman Brothers' stock just before the bank's demise. Running a long-short value hedge fund called Greenlight Capital, with $8 billion in assets under management, Einhorn has achieved returns that significantly outperform the market.
Still, while Einhorn is popular for his short selling, he is long several companies whose intrinsic value promises to produce consistent investment returns over the long run. Here are four dividend stocks from Einhorn's portfolio for value-conscious income investors.
Seagate Technology (STX) is one of the world's largest producers of hard drives. The company has $11.8 billion in market capitalization. It pays a dividend yielding 3.7% on a payout ratio of only 18%. Its main competitor, Western Digital (WDC), does not pay any dividends. The company has seen strong growth in earnings and revenues due to a recovery in the market for hard drives. Seagate Technology's performance has been buoyed by the global shortages of hard drives resulting from the flooding of the competitor's manufacturing facilities in Thailand in October 2012. The company recently reported a breakthrough invention of a disc drive that could store 1 trillion bits of information per square inch, an improvement of 55% compared to the current technology. The hard drive maker has just announced plans to acquire its small French rival, LaCie S.A., for $186 million. Seagate Technology's stock is currently trading at major discounts relative to its 5-year average P/E and the market's current valuation. David Einhorn's portfolio holds more than 14.5 million shares in the company, valued at $385 million.
Best Buy (BBY) is a $6.6 billion retailer of consumer electronics with a 19% market share in the United States. The company pays a dividend yielding 3.5% on a small payout of 9% of free cash flow in 2011. Best Buy competitors, namely RadioShack (RSH) and Target (TGT), pay yields of 10.6% and 2.1%, respectively. Amazon (AMZN) does not pay any dividends. Best Buy reported earnings on May 22, 2012. Despite a 2.1% increase in revenues, its net income for the quarter dropped 43% year over year. Still, on an adjusted basis, the company beat consensus estimates. The company is in the process of restructuring and its management believes the process will "make Best Buy more relevant with customers and position the company for sustained, profitable returns in the years ahead." The company has an attractive valuation as its forward P/E is only 5.2 times forward earnings, compared to the average five-year P/E of 12.2. Greenlight Capital has more than 7.7 million shares in the company, valued in total at $144.4 million. Billionaire Ken Griffin is also bullish about the company.
Microsoft (MSFT) is a $243 billion IT giant providing a range of products, including software products and support. The company pays a dividend yielding 2.7% on a low payout ratio of 26%. The company's peer Google (GOOG) does not pay dividends, while Oracle (ORCL) pays a dividend yielding 0.9%. Apple (AAPL) recently announced a dividend payment in 2012 equivalent to $10.60 a share, which translates into a dividend yield of 1.9%. According to Jim Cramer, the dismal first-quarter PC and laptop sales at Dell (DELL) are harbingers of a new secular trend in response to fast growth in mobile adoption that will positively impact Apple and adversely affect Microsoft, among others. The cash-rich IT giant is still attractive based on its valuation, with current P/E of 10.6 and a forward P/E of 10.1, well below the company's five-year average ratio and the P/E for the industry and the S&P 500. David Einhorn holds some 7.49 million shares of Microsoft, valued at $217.1 million at current prices. In the first quarter of 2012, Einhorn halved his Microsoft stake. (As a side note, Einhorn also holds a large stake in Apple and Dell.)
Xerox (XRX) is a $9.5 billion business process outsourcing and document management company selling printers, photo copiers, and digital production publishing systems and related services. The company pays a dividend yielding 2.4% on a payout of 19%. Its peers, namely Cannon (CAJ), Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), and Lexmark International (LXK), are yielding 3.4%, 2.4%, and 4.6%, respectively. An interesting feature of the company is that some 83% of its sales revenues are based on bundled lease agreements, which are annuity-like, and spread across a number of customers. This means that the firm's revenue sources are stable and predictable, which helps sustain earnings and cash flows. The company is undervalued based on several metrics. It boasts a low P/E of 7.7 and a forward P/E of 6.2, below the company's five-year average and the S&P500. Xerox's stock is currently trading below the company's book value. David Einhorn's Greenlight Capital reported owning about 15.4 million shares of Xerox at the end of the first quarter of 2012. Currently, the stake is valued at $107.7 million. Hedge fund manager Larry Robbins had more than $200 million in Xerox at the end of March.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.