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This list is meant to serve as a starting point for investors. A lot of data has been provided so it should be relatively easy for an investor to scroll down the list and decide if the stock warrants further attention. If you find the stock interesting, you can dig deeper and see if it meets with your investment criteria. Do not base your decision on yield alone. There are many stocks that offer extremely high yields, but their performance over the years has been dismal. One should look at the robustness of the company, the dividend growth rate, the sustainability of the dividend and finally one should take a look at the company's dividend history. Companies with stellar records will do everything possible to avoid cutting the dividend in order to maintain this record. Novice Investors can use "this guide" as a starting to point to help you determine which stocks you should get into and which ones to avoid. These are not absolute rules. They are just suggestions to help get you started and please note there are always exceptions to the rule. The goal is to try to satisfy as many of them as possible

Company: Yamana Gold Inc (NYSE:AUY)

Brief Overview

  1. Percentage Held by Insiders = 2.7
  2. Relative Strength 52 weeks = 88
  3. Cash Flow 5-year Average = 0.69
  4. Profit Margin = 25.26%
  5. Operating Margin = 41.22%
  6. Quarterly Revenue Growth = 17.6%
  7. Quarterly Earnings Growth = 14.7%
  8. Operating Cash Flow = 1.28B
  9. Beta = 0.53
  10. 5 year sales growth = 38.5%
  11. Levered Free Cash Flow = 166.24M

Growth

  1. Net Income ($mil) 12/2011 = 548
  2. Net Income ($mil) 12/2010 = 451
  3. Net Income ($mil) 12/2009 = 193
  4. Net Income Reported Quarterly ($mil) = 170
  5. EBITDA ($mil) 12/2011 = 1196
  6. EBITDA ($mil) 12/2010 = 906
  7. EBITDA ($mil) 12/2009 = 585
  8. Cash Flow ($/share) 12/2011 = 1.43
  9. Cash Flow ($/share) 12/2010 = 1.01
  10. Cash Flow ($/share) 12/2009 = 0.79
  11. Sales ($mil) 12/2011 = 2173
  12. Sales ($mil) 12/2010 = 1687
  13. Sales ($mil) 12/2009 = 1183
  14. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2007 = 0.53
  15. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2008 = 0.52
  16. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2009 = 0.47
  17. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2010 = 0.61
  18. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2011 = 0.96

Dividend history

  1. Dividend Yield = 1.5
  2. Dividend Yield 5 Year Average = 0.7
  3. Dividend 5 year Growth = 38.4%

Dividend sustainability

  1. Payout Ratio = 0.23
  2. Payout Ratio 5 Year Average 12/2011 = 0.14

Performance

  1. Next 3-5 Year Estimate EPS Growth rate = 14.9
  2. ROE 5 Year Average = 6.76
  3. Current Ratio = 2.82
  4. Current Ratio 5 Year Average = 1.98
  5. Quick Ratio = 2.10
  6. Cash Ratio = 1.48
  7. Interest Coverage = 63.00
  8. Retention rate = 77%
  9. Long term debt to equity = 0.10

Suggested strategy

Gold bullion is attempting to break out. If it can close above 1632, it could potentially test the 1750-1800 ranges before pulling back. This should give many gold stocks a nice boost. Consider purchasing this stock in the 13.75-14.50 ranges. Place a stop at 12.50 and consider booking profits when bullion trades in the 1750-1800 ranges. A second option would be to consider taking profits when and if this stock trades to the 17.10-18.00 ranges.

Company: Micron Tech (NASDAQ:MU)

Brief Overview

  1. Percentage Held by Insiders = 0.85
  2. Relative Strength 52 weeks = 41
  3. Cash Flow 5-year Average = 1.94
  4. Profit Margin = -10.99%
  5. Operating Margin = -5.9%
  6. Quarterly Revenue Growth = 1.5%
  7. Beta = 1.28
  8. Percentage Held by Institutions = 85.4%
  9. Short Percentage of Float = 7.8%
  10. Levered free cash flow = - 417M
  11. 5 year sales growth = 10.66

Growth

  1. Net Income ($mil) 12/2011 = 167
  2. Net Income ($mil) 12/2010 = 1850
  3. Net Income ($mil) 12/2009 = -1882
  4. Net Income Reported Quarterly ($mil) = -320
  5. EBITDA ($mil) 12/2011 = 2837
  6. EBITDA ($mil) 12/2010 = 4103
  7. EBITDA ($mil) 12/2009 = 516
  8. Cash Flow ($/share) 12/2011 = 2.43
  9. Cash Flow ($/share) 12/2010 = 3.33
  10. Cash Flow ($/share) 12/2009 = 0.98
  11. Sales ($mil) 12/2011 = 8788
  12. Sales ($mil) 12/2010 = 8482
  13. Sales ($mil) 12/2009 = 4803
  14. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2007 = -0.4
  15. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2008 = -1.3
  16. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2009 = -1.69
  17. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2010 = 1.32
  18. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2011 = 0.28

Performance

  1. Next 3-5 Year Estimate EPS Growth rate = 10.87
  2. ROE 5 Year Average 03/2012 = -6.32
  3. Return on Investment 03/2012 = -7.57
  4. Debt/Total Cap 5 Year Average 03/2012 = 28.54
  5. Current Ratio 03/2012 = 2.59
  6. Current Ratio 5 Year Average = 2.21
  7. Quick Ratio = 1.51
  8. Cash Ratio = 0.91
  9. Long term debt to equity = 0.38
  10. Sales vs 1 year ago = 3.6
  11. 5 year capital spending growth rate = -18.77

Suggested strategy

Consider opening positions at 6.00 or better. Place a stop at 4.80 and take profits in the 8.00-9.00 ranges. One other option is to sell very short term in the money puts so as to have a better chance of having the shares put to you. Your entry cost if the shares are assigned to you will be better than buying the stock outright on the same day the puts were sold.

Company: Valero Energy (NYSE:VLO)

Brief Overview

  1. Short Ratio = 1.2%
  2. Relative Strength 52 weeks = 59
  3. Cash Flow 5-year Average = 8.78
  4. Profit Margin = 1.2%
  5. Operating Margin = 2.8%
  6. Quarterly Revenue Growth = 11.7%
  7. Quarterly Earnings Growth = 10.8%
  8. Beta = 1.63

Growth

  1. Net Income ($mil) 12/2011 = 2090
  2. Net Income ($mil) 12/2010 = 324
  3. Net Income ($mil) 12/2009 = -1982
  4. Net Income Reported Quarterly ($mil) = -432
  5. EBITDA ($mil) 12/2011 = 5257
  6. EBITDA ($mil) 12/2010 = 3455
  7. EBITDA ($mil) 12/2009 = 1627
  8. Cash Flow ($/share) 12/2011 = 6.83
  9. Cash Flow ($/share) 12/2010 = 4.31
  10. Cash Flow ($/share) 12/2009 = 2.61
  11. Sales ($mil) 12/2011 = 125987
  12. Sales ($mil) 12/2010 = 82233
  13. Sales ($mil) 12/2009 = 68144
  14. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2007 = 7.79
  15. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2008 = 5
  16. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2009 = -0.1
  17. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2010 = 1.7
  18. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2011 = 4.01

Dividend history

  1. Dividend Yield = 2.5
  2. Dividend Yield 5 Year Average = 2.20
  3. Dividend 5 year Growth = - 9.11

Dividend sustainability

  1. Payout Ratio = 0.15
  2. Payout Ratio 5 Year Average = 0.25

Performance

  1. Next 3-5 Year Estimate EPS Growth rate = 1.04
  2. ROE 5 Year Average = 12.11
  3. Current Ratio = 1.21
  4. Current Ratio 5 Year Average = 1.39
  5. Quick Ratio = 0.81
  6. Cash Ratio = 0.11
  7. Interest Coverage Quarterly = 2.05
  8. Retention ratio = 85%
  9. 5 year sales growth rate = 4.69
  10. EPS vs 1 year ago = 11.70
  11. Long term debt to equity ratio - 0.40

Suggested strategy

The stock is a bit overbought now. Consider waiting for a pullback before jumping in.

Company : Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ:ISRG)

Brief Overview

  1. 5 year sales growth rate = 29%
  2. Levered Free Cash Flow = 546M
  3. 5 year EPS growth rate = 34%
  4. Percentage Held by Insiders = 1.15
  5. Short Ratio = 5.3
  6. Relative Strength 52 weeks = 92
  7. Cash Flow 5-year Average = 6.72
  8. Profit Margin = 29%
  9. Operating Margin = 40%
  10. Quarterly Revenue Growth = 26%
  11. Quarterly Earnings Growth = 32%
  12. Beta = 1.04
  13. Percentage Held by Institutions = 88.1%

Growth

  1. Net Income ($mil) 12/2011 = 495
  2. Net Income ($mil) 12/2010 = 382
  3. Net Income ($mil) 12/2009 = 233
  4. Net Income Reported Quarterly ($mil) = 155
  5. EBITDA ($mil) 12/2011 = 756
  6. EBITDA ($mil) 12/2010 = 613
  7. EBITDA ($mil) 12/2009 = 431
  8. Cash Flow ($/share) 12/2011 = 13.89
  9. Cash Flow ($/share) 12/2010 = 10.75
  10. Cash Flow ($/share) 12/2009 = 7.3
  11. Sales ($mil) 12/2011 = 1757
  12. Sales ($mil) 12/2010 = 1413
  13. Sales ($mil) 12/2009 = 1052
  14. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2007 = 3.7
  15. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2008 = 5.12
  16. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2009 = 6.23
  17. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2010 = 9.47
  18. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2011 = 12.32

Performance

  1. Next 3-5 Year Estimate EPS Growth rate = 19.54
  2. ROE 5 Year Average = 18.8
  3. Current Ratio = 4.58
  4. Current Ratio 5 Year Average = 4.67
  5. Quick Ratio = 4.22
  6. Cash Ratio = 3.3
  7. Long term debt to equity = 0.00
  8. Sales vs 1 year ago = 24%
  9. 5 year capital spending growth rate = 37

Company: CenturyLink Inc (NYSE:CTL)

Basic overview

  1. Sales vs 1 year ago = 118%
  2. Levered Free Cash Flow = $2.82 billion
  3. Beta = 0.71
  4. 52 week change = 8.32%
  5. Sales vs 1 quarter ago = 171%
  6. Quarterly revenue growth rate = 172%
  7. Quarterly earnings growth rate = - 5.2%
  8. 5 year sales growth rate = 46%
  9. EPS 5 year growth rate = -16%
  10. 5 year capital spending rate = 49.5%
  11. Long term debt to equity = 1.00
  12. EPS vs 1 quarter ago = -5.3%

Growth

  1. Net Income ($mil) 12/2011 = 573
  2. Net Income ($mil) 12/2010 = 948
  3. Net Income ($mil) 12/2009 = 647
  4. EBITDA ($mil) 12/2011 = 6046
  5. EBITDA ($mil) 12/2010 = 3509
  6. EBITDA ($mil) 12/2009 = 2155
  7. Cash Flow ($/share) 12/2011 = 8.43
  8. Cash Flow ($/share) 12/2010 = 8.12
  9. Cash Flow ($/share) 12/2009 = 5.7
  10. Sales ($mil) 12/2011 = 15351
  11. Sales ($mil) 12/2010 = 7042
  12. Sales ($mil) 12/2009 = 4974
  13. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2007 = 3.16
  14. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2008 = 3.37
  15. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2009 = 3.6
  16. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2010 = 3.39
  17. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2011 = 2.21

Dividend history

  1. Dividend Yield = 6.9
  2. Dividend Yield 5 Year Average = 6.50
  3. Dividend 5 year Growth = 66%

Dividend sustainability

  1. Payout Ratio = 3.33
  2. Payout Ratio 5 Year Average = 0.68

Performance

  1. Next 3-5 Year Estimate EPS Growth rate = 4.09
  2. ROE 5 Year Average = 10.29
  3. Return on Investment = 3.26
  4. Debt/Total Cap 5 Year Average = 46.13
  5. Current Ratio = 0.90
  6. Current Ratio 5 Year Average = 0.76
  7. Quick Ratio = 0.60
  8. Cash Ratio = 0.38
  9. Interest Coverage = 1.70

Suggested strategy

This stock is overbought and trading at new 52 week highs. Investors should consider waiting for a pullback before jumping in.

Conclusion

In general the markets are rather overbought and are due for a stronger correction. Investors should consider waiting for a stronger pull back before aggressively jumping into this market.

Disclaimer

This list of stocks is meant to serve as a starting point. Please do not treat this as a buying list. It is imperative that you do your due diligence and then determine if any of the above plays meet with your risk tolerance levels. The Latin maxim caveat emptor applies - let the buyer beware.

Source: An Interesting Array Of Growth And Dividend Plays To Consider

Additional disclosure: EPS, company vs industry and Price vs industry charts obtained from zacks.com. A major portion of the historical data used in this article was obtained from zacks.com. Earnings estimates sourced from dailyfinance.com.