High quality stocks (and ADRs) with consistent earnings growth tend to have a better potential than other stocks for dividend growth and capital appreciation. In terms of investment performance, these stocks (and ADRs) outperform the lower-quality issues during market downturns and the periods of heightened volatility, widening credit spreads, and steepening yield curves. High quality stocks represent good investment options for investors in the current market environment.
Our focus is four international dividend-paying ADRs that are offering dividend yields in a range between 2.9% and 5.6%. All these ADRs pay dividend yields in excess of the S&P 500 average yield and the yield on the 10-year Treasury bond. Their dividends are sustainable and look poised for continued growth in the future.
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Enbridge Inc. (NYSE:ENB) is a $31-billion Canadian company engaged in the transportation and distribution of oil and natural gas in Canada and the United States. It distributes gas to 1.9 million customers. Over the past five years, Enbridge's EPS and dividends grew at average rates of 9.8% and 15% per year, respectively. The company's EPS growth is forecast to average close to 10% per year for the next five years. Enbridge has a ROE of 8.2% and a ROIC of 2.4%. The company has paid a dividend for 60 years -- never reducing it, despite negative free cash flows in recent years. In fact, it has been increasing dividends every year since 1996. Currently, the stock is yielding 2.9% on a payout ratio of 146%. As the 2012 EPS is expected to average between $1.58 and $1.74, the annualized dividend of $1.14 will be fully covered by earnings. For the reference, Enbridge's rivals Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, L.P. (NYSE:KMP), TransCanada Corp. (NYSE:TRP), and Enterprise Products Partners L.P. (NYSE:EPD) pay higher distribution/dividend yields of 6.0%, 3.9%, and 4.8%, respectively. Enbridge has faced short-term headwinds in terms of earnings performance amid rising costs, although revenues remain firm. On a forward P/E basis, the stock is priced somewhat above its peer group. The stock is up 5.4% over the past year. Billionaires D. E. Shaw and Jim Simons are bullish about the stock.
The Delhaize Group (Etablissements Delhaize Freres et Cie le Lion SA) (DEG) is a $4 billion Belgium-based food retailer, deriving a lion's share of its revenues from the United States. Over the past half decade, the company's EPS and dividends grew at average annual rates of 2.3% and 4.1%, respectively. The company is expected to accelerate its EPS growth to 8.5% per year for the next five years. Delhaize Group has a ROE of 5.7%, and a ROIC of 3.7%. The company's (gross) dividend is yielding 5.6% on a payout ratio of 56%. Delhaize's peers Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) and Ahold N.V. (AHONY.PK) pay dividend yields of 2.2% and 4.0%, respectively. On a forward P/E basis, the stock is undervalued relative to its peer group. The stock is also trading below book value and at a major discount to its industry. Over the past year, the stock is down 36%. The company reported revenue growth in the previous quarter, driven in large part by its acquisition of Delta Maxi for $748 million. This year, the food retailer expects to see a 15% to 20% decline in operating profit, despite multimillion-dollar savings from its cost reduction program. Among fund managers, Jim Simons and David Dreman hold small stakes in the stock.
WPP Group PLC (NASDAQ:WPPGY) is the world's largest advertising group, with a market cap of some $16.5 billion. It is an Ireland-based company; however, it will soon move its HQ back to the U.K. following a favorable change in the U.K. tax treatment of foreign subsidiaries' profits. Over the past five years, WPP's EPS and dividends increased at nearly 13% and 12% per year, respectively. Analysts forecast that the company's EPS will expand at a somewhat slower 8.0%-average annual rate for the next five years. The stock boasts a free cash flow yield of 5.2%, ROE of 13%, and ROIC of 8.0%. The company recently warned of slower growth rates in 2012 compared to previous years due to a depressed state of the advertising market. The company believes that next year "is likely to be more challenging." Despite the weaknesses in Europe, the company posted higher revenues amid robust sales growth in the African, Asian, and Latin American markets. The stock pays a dividend yield of 3.1% on a payout ratio of 37%. Its peers Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE:OMC), The Interpublic Group of Companies, Inc. (NYSE:IPG), and Publicis Groupe SA (OTCQX:PUBGY) pay dividend yields of 2.3%, 2.2%, and 1.8%, respectively. WPP PLC is currently priced below its industry and five-year average P/E. Despite the weak near-term outlook, the stock is up nearly 40% over the past year. Value investor Ken Fisher holds a small stake in the company.
Cannon Inc. (NYSE:CAJ) is a $38-billion manufacturer of copying machines, laser and ink-jet printers, cameras, and other products. Over the past five years, the company's EPS contracted at a rate of nearly 10% per year, while its dividends grew at an average annual rate of nearly 12%. Analysts expect that Cannon's EPS growth will grow by about 3.0% per year for the next five years. The company has a ROE of 9.8% and a ROIC of 10.2%. Currently, the stock is paying a dividend yield of 4.4% on a payout ratio of 55%. The company's competitors Xerox Corp. (NYSE:XRX), Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ), and Ricoh Company Ltd. (OTCPK:RICOY) pay dividend yields of 2.3%, 3.1%, and 4.3%, respectively. Lexmark International Inc. (NYSE:LXK) pays the highest yield of 5.7%. Cannon has been struggling with its printing business -- especially in the consumer segment -- which is a direct result of increased digitalization. On a forward P/E basis, Cannon's stock is trading at a major discount to its historical valuation. The stock is down more than 28% over the past 12 months. Jim Simons is one investor in this stock.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.