4 Dividend Plays For This Earnings Season

Includes: BGFV, DX, MCEP, MHLD
by: David Brown

The beginning of Q2 earnings season got off to an inauspicious start with Alcoa (NYSE:AA) barely beating highly reduced estimates by a single penny per share. Alcoa's CEO provided cautionary but optimistic guidance on CNBC after the market closed. AA's shares initially climbed a bit in the aftermarket but have since given most of that back.

Despite a plethora of positive economic news topped by last week's robust employment report, analysts are hoping for, if not better earnings, at least positive guidance from the companies as their CEOs parade to the speaker's stand over the coming weeks. The specter of a QE3 slowdown foreshadowed by Chairman Bernanke has spooked the bond markets, resulting in substantial outflows from bond and money markets funds, as well as similarly structured ETFs. As a result, investors have put some of those funds to use in the equity markets, generating a 3-5% gain in the major domestic indices.

The S&P 500 was unable to break through resistance at the 1645 level, its last resistance level before challenging its historic high of about 1690 in late May. Whether or not that will happen depends on next week's earnings reports and, even more importantly, the forward guidance. The fuel is there (monies from the bond market), but it needs to be lit by some enthusiasm and better revenues from this quarter's reports.

Not much else is on the table this week from economic data. Today, we easily beat estimates on consumer credit. Wednesday we get wholesale inventories, which are expected to be up a tad. Export and import price are unlikely to create much of stir on Thursday; neither are initial jobless claims. Friday we get the producers price index (PPI) and the initial look at Michigan consumer sentiment for July. But investors will be focused primarily on the numerous earning reports coming out each day. We would suggest paying more attention to the guidance than the earnings figures.

Last week, small-cap growth won the style/cap battle for the week, the month, the three months, and the six months. It was up a robust 3.51% on the week. Positive sectors include Healthcare, Financials and Consumer Cyclicals, along with Technology stocks that are starting to warm up to some handsome dividend surprises. Large-cap stocks brought up the rear again, as they have many more issues with global slowing (and warming).

Here are last week's market stats.

Egypt is now on the hot seat along with just about everybody else, although Europe continues to show signs of working through its financial woes. Hopefully, our Congress is having a nice summer and preparing to come back to Washington in the fall to get some real work done. We should be so fortunate! Surely, members of Congress will realize that if they don't get down to business, heads will start rolling.

On a more positive note, we scoured the database for some small-cap ideas and found four good growth stocks with dividends as well. That is likely where a lot of the bond money will go: Chasing corporate dividends.

4 Dividend Stocks for this Market

Big 5 Sporting Goods Corporation (NASDAQ:BGFV)

Consumer Cyclicals Sector, Specialty Retailers Industry

Sporting goods retailer in western United States

Forward P/E ratio: 14.45

Beat earnings estimates every quarter for past four, by 5.6% to 61.9%

A lot of upward analysts' revisions

Expected earnings growth current quarter: 116.7%

Expected earnings growth this year: 87.0%

Expected earnings growth per next for next 5 years: 15.65%

Dividend yield: 1.9%

Price on 7/8: $21.38

Mid-Con Energy Partners, LP (NASDAQ:MCEP)

Energy Sector, Oil & Gas Industry

Buy on pullback to get nice dividend and good growth for at least next two years

Forward P/E ratio: 9.27

Expected earnings growth current quarter: 33.3%

Expected earnings growth next quarter: 57.1%

Expected earnings growth this year: 28.5%

Expected earnings growth next year: 16.3%

Dividend yield: 9.1%

Maiden Holdings, Ltd. (NASDAQ:MHLD)

Finance Sector, Insurance Industry

Bermuda-based holding company providing reinsurance solutions

Forward P/E ratio: 7.87

Expected earnings growth next quarter: 11.10%

Expected earnings growth this year: 77.3%

Expected earnings growth next year: 26.5%

Dividend yield: 3.1%

Price on 7/8: $11.65

Dynex Capital, Inc. (NYSE:DX)

Financial Sector, REIT - Residential Industry

A leader in mortgage REITs

Good time to buy strong dividend play on a pullback

Dividend yield: 11.4%

Price on 7/8: $9.75

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. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

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