Category Archives: Seeking Alpha article

CVS Health: Dividend Stock Still a Strong Buy

CVS Health (NYSE:CVS) was substantially undervalued before the 7% pop on Wednesday. It remains a strong buy for long-term investors.

Why the Pop?

CVS reported its Q2 results on Wednesday. And the stock appreciated 7% because the business performed better than expected with the company beating its own Q2 adjusted earnings per share (“EPS”) guidance by 10%. As a result, it also boosted its full-year guidance modestly by about 1.8% to $6.89-7.00.

Additionally, the Aetna integration and debt reduction have been progressing well.

Q2 Results

Adjusted revenues increased 36% to $63.4 billion, adjusted operating income rising 55% to $4 billion, adjusted EPS rising 12% to $1.89, and cash flow from operations climbing 82% to $5.3 billion. The large spike in revenues and operating income is attributable to the Aetna acquisition, which was closed on November 28, 2018.

The Leveraged Balance Sheet

The Aetna acquisition resulted in CVS’s leveraged balance sheet. At the end of Q2, CVS’s net debt arrived at $61.3 billion, leading to a D/E of 99.6% and a debt-to-assets ratio of 28%.

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Which Stock is More Likely to Cut its Dividend?

Vermilion Energy (TSX:VET)(NYSE:VET) and TORC Oil & Gas (TSX:TOG) are trading at multi-year lows and offer yields of 10% and 7.6%, respectively. Which is more likely to cut its dividend?

There are some things that management can’t control, such as commodity prices, and there are some things that they can control, such as capital allocation (i.e., how much cash flow to allocate for reducing debt, sustaining the business, investing in growth projects, and paying dividends).

Looking at how the companies have handled their capital allocation in the past can give an idea of which oil & gas producer will more likely cut its dividend.

Vermilion

Vermilion’s stock has maintained or increased its cash distribution or dividend every year since 2003. Since 2003, VET’s total payout ratio (which accounts for sustaining capital, growth capital, and dividend) has expanded to as high as 162%, but the company didn’t once cut the dividend.

VET places a high priority on its dividend. If history is indicative of the future, then VET will try to maintain the dividend even when the operating environment is tough.

Notably, VET doesn’t have the tendency to buy back stock like other energy companies, such as Suncor Energy (TSX:SU)(NYSE:SU) and Canadian Natural Resources (TSX:CNQ)(NYSE:CNQ). Last year, the capital the company returned to shareholders was 100% dividends.

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3 Tips To Identify Winning Stocks

If you have stocks that have earnings stability and consistent earnings growth, higher margins compared to their peers, and price growth persistence, they’re probably winners.

If you’ve identified winners in your portfolio, hold on to them through thick and thin, and you’ll be immensely rewarded in the long haul. Oh, and, of course, add to them when they are attractively valued.

Earnings Stability & Growth

Aging and growing populations and advances in technology are reasons that the healthcare sector tends to experience stable growth. The juggernaut in the sector, of course, is no other than Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), which has a piece of the pie in the different areas of Healthcare with a Pharmaceutical segment (about 41% of sales), Medical Devices segment (27%), and Consumer segment (14%).

J&J’s has experienced adjusted EPS growth every single year since 2000. It’s no wonder the company tends to trade at a premium P/E despite having been estimated to grow EPS by only about 6% per year over the next 3-5 years.

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