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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. Investors should not base their decision on yield alone. There are many stocks that offer extremely high yields, but their performance over the years has been dismal. In fact, in some cases even with the yield the total rate of return has been negative for the past 3-5 years. 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: New Gold Inc (NYSEMKT:NGD)

Basic overview

  1. Sales vs quarter 1 year ago = 2.6%
  2. Net income vs quarter 1 year ago = -69%
  3. 5 year sales average = 210%
  4. Quarterly revenue growth = 2.6%
  5. Beta = 0.12
  6. Levered free cash flow = - 229M
  7. Profit margins = 19%
  8. Gross margins = 55%

Growth

  1. Net Income ($mil) 12/2011 = 179
  2. Net Income ($mil) 12/2010 = 182
  3. Net Income ($mil) 12/2009 = -194
  4. EBITDA ($mil) 12/2011 = 335
  5. EBITDA ($mil) 12/2010 = 261
  6. EBITDA ($mil) 12/2009 = -106
  7. Cash Flow ($/share) 12/2011 = 0.59
  8. Cash Flow ($/share) 12/2010 = 0.49
  9. Cash Flow ($/share) 12/2009 = 0.16
  10. Sales ($mil) 12/2011 = 696
  11. Sales ($mil) 12/2010 = 530
  12. Sales ($mil) 12/2009 = 324
  13. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2008 = -0.69
  14. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2009 = 0
  15. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2010 = 0.29
  16. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2011 = 0.43

Performance

  1. Next 3-5 Year Estimate EPS Growth rate = 5
  2. ROE 5 Year Average = -2.14
  3. Return on Investment = 8.43
  4. Debt/Total Cap 5 Year Average = 12.68
  5. Current Ratio = 1.77
  6. Current Ratio 5 Year Average = 3.65
  7. Quick Ratio = 1.21
  8. Cash Ratio = 1.42
  9. Interest Coverage = 4.67

Company: Ciena Corp (NYSE:CIEN)

Basic overview

  1. Sales vs quarter 1 year ago = 14.3%
  2. Net income vs quarter 1 year ago = 55.7%
  3. 5 year sales average = 25.3%
  4. Quarterly revenue growth = 18.28%
  5. Beta = 2.38
  6. 52 week change = 36%
  7. Levered free cash flow = - 137.3M
  8. Profit margins = -7.24%
  9. Gross margins = 45.3

Growth

  1. Net Income ($mil) 12/2011 = -196
  2. Net Income ($mil) 12/2010 = -334
  3. Net Income ($mil) 12/2009 = -581
  4. EBITDA ($mil) 12/2011 = 6
  5. EBITDA ($mil) 12/2010 = -143
  6. EBITDA ($mil) 12/2009 = -67
  7. Cash Flow ($/share) 12/2011 = 1.12
  8. Cash Flow ($/share) 12/2010 = 0.94
  9. Cash Flow ($/share) 12/2009 = 4.66
  10. Sales ($mil) 12/2011 = 1742
  11. Sales ($mil) 12/2010 = 1237
  12. Sales ($mil) 12/2009 = 653
  13. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2007 = 1.07
  14. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2008 = 0.85
  15. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2009 = -0.89
  16. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2010 = -0.88
  17. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2011 = -0.49

Performance

  1. Next 3-5 Year Estimate EPS Growth rate = 15
  2. Debt/Total Cap 5 Year Average = 65.58
  3. Current Ratio = 2.9
  4. Current Ratio 5 Year Average = 4.64
  5. Quick Ratio = 2.4
  6. Cash Ratio = 1.51

Company: Check Point Software (NASDAQ:CHKP)

Basic overview

  1. Sales vs quarter 1 year ago = 9.3%
  2. Net income vs quarter 1 year ago = 17.2%
  3. 5 year sales average = 16.74%
  4. Quarterly revenue growth = 9.3%
  5. Quarterly earnings growth rate = 17%
  6. Beta = 1.04
  7. 52 week change = -15%
  8. Levered free cash flow = 572M
  9. Profit margins = 45%

Growth

  1. Net Income ($mil) 12/2011 = 544
  2. Net Income ($mil) 12/2010 = 453
  3. Net Income ($mil) 12/2009 = 358
  4. EBITDA ($mil) 12/2011 = 735
  5. EBITDA ($mil) 12/2010 = 623
  6. EBITDA ($mil) 12/2009 = 505
  7. Cash Flow ($/share) 12/2011 = 3.01
  8. Cash Flow ($/share) 12/2010 = 2.66
  9. Cash Flow ($/share) 12/2009 = 2.22
  10. Sales ($mil) 12/2011 = 1247
  11. Sales ($mil) 12/2010 = 1098
  12. Sales ($mil) 12/2009 = 924
  13. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2007 = 1.44
  14. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2008 = 1.63
  15. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2009 = 1.9
  16. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2010 = 2.31
  17. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2011 = 2.68

Performance

  1. Next 3-5 Year Estimate EPS Growth rate = 12.2
  2. ROE 5 Year Average = 18.67
  3. Return on Investment 06/2011 = 19.7
  4. Current Ratio = 2.23
  5. Current Ratio 5 Year Average = 2.39
  6. Quick Ratio = 2.23
  7. Cash Ratio = 1.85
  8. PEG = 1.18
  9. Gross margin = 86.23%

Company: Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE:PRU)

Basic overview

  1. Sales vs quarter 1 year ago = 31.8%
  2. Net income vs quarter 1 year ago = 184%
  3. 5 year sales average = 8.73%
  4. Quarterly revenue growth = 111%
  5. Quarterly earnings growth rate = 178%
  6. Beta = 1.67
  7. Levered free cash flow = 6.78B
  8. Operating cash flow = 13.24B
  9. Profit margins = 6.77%

Growth

  1. Net Income ($mil) 12/2011 = 3666
  2. Net Income ($mil) 12/2010 = 3195
  3. Net Income ($mil) 12/2009 = 3124
  4. EBITDA ($mil) 12/2011 = 5407
  5. EBITDA ($mil) 12/2010 = 4288
  6. EBITDA ($mil) 12/2009 = 1699
  7. Cash Flow ($/share) 12/2011 = 7.29
  8. Cash Flow ($/share) 12/2010 = 5.91
  9. Cash Flow ($/share) 12/2009 = 5.79
  10. Sales ($mil) 12/2011 = 39397
  11. Sales ($mil) 12/2010 = 30982
  12. Sales ($mil) 12/2009 = 27740
  13. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2007 = 7.54
  14. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2008 = 2.69
  15. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2009 = 5.58
  16. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2010 = 6.27
  17. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2011 = 6.41

Dividend history

  1. Dividend Yield = 2.7
  2. Dividend Yield 5 Year Average =1.90
  3. Dividend 5 year Growth = 9.84

Dividend sustainability

  1. Payout Ratio = 0.21
  2. Payout Ratio 5 Year Average = 0.17
  3. Change in Payout Ratio = 0.06

Performance

  1. Next 3-5 Year Estimate EPS Growth rate = 9
  2. ROE 5 Year Average = 13.09
  3. Return on Investment = 5.23
  4. Debt/Total Cap 5 Year Average = 43.23
  5. Current Ratio = 0.17
  6. Current Ratio 5 Year Average = 0.24
  7. Quick Ratio = 0.17
  8. Interest Coverage Quarterly = 1.19
  9. PEG = 0.61
  10. Retention rate = 79%

Company: Talisman Energy (NYSE:TLM)

Basic overview

  1. Sales vs quarter 1 year ago = -16%
  2. Net income vs quarter 1 year ago = - 72%
  3. 5 year sales average = 5.34%
  4. Quarterly revenue growth = 7.83%
  5. 52 week change = -22%
  6. Beta = 1.62
  7. Levered free cash flow = - 2.2B
  8. Profit margins = 11.2%

Growth

  1. Net Income ($mil) 12/2011 = 776
  2. Net Income ($mil) 12/2010 = 629
  3. Net Income ($mil) 12/2009 = 385
  4. EBITDA ($mil) 12/2011 = 4569
  5. EBITDA ($mil) 12/2010 = 3521
  6. EBITDA ($mil) 12/2009 = -329
  7. Cash Flow ($/share) 12/2011 = 2.94
  8. Cash Flow ($/share) 12/2010 = 2.19
  9. Cash Flow ($/share) 12/2009 = 0.17
  10. Sales ($mil) 12/2011 = 8272
  11. Sales ($mil) 12/2010 = 6712
  12. Sales ($mil) 12/2009 = 7028
  13. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2007 = 0.93
  14. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2008 = 1.91
  15. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2009 = 0.17
  16. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2010 = 0.13
  17. Annual EPS before NRI 12/2011 = 0.51

Dividend history

  1. Dividend Yield = 2.2
  2. Dividend Yield 5 Year Average =1.4
  3. Dividend 5 year = 12

Dividend sustainability

  1. Payout Ratio = 0.52
  2. Payout Ratio 5 Year Average = 0.4

Performance

  1. Next 3-5 Year Estimate EPS Growth rate = 8.5
  2. ROE 5 Year Average = 11.46
  3. Return on Investment = 5.48
  4. Debt/Total Cap 5 Year Average = 29.37
  5. Current Ratio = 0.65
  6. Current Ratio 5 Year Average = 0.95
  7. Quick Ratio = 0.6
  8. Cash Ratio = 0.16
  9. Interest Coverage =6.8
  10. Debt to equity ratio = 0.47
  11. Retention rate = 48%

Conclusion

In general, a great way to get into a stock at a price of your choosing is to sell puts at strikes you would not mind owning the stock at. Consider taking some money off the table once the summer is behind us as the markets are likely to put in a top that could lead to a much stronger correction. Investors looking for other ideas might find this article to be of interest - Marathon Oil Bulls: A Simple And Low Cost Option to significantly leverage your position.

Disclaimer

It is imperative that you do your due diligence and then determine if the above plays meet with your risk tolerance levels. The Latin maxim caveat emptor applies - let the buyer beware.

Source: An Assortment Of Dividend And Growth Plays To Reflect On

Additional disclosure: EPS and EPS surprise charts obtained from zacks.com. A major portion of the historical data used in this article was obtained from zacks.com. Earnings, growth estimates and analysts rating obtained from dailyfinance.com.