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The 3 Worst-Performing Dividend Achievers So Far This Year

Published by Bob Ciura on March 14th, 2017

Dividend growth investing is one of the best ways to build wealth over the long-term.

But sometimes, stocks go down.

This is the trade-off to investing in the stock market. An investor needs to resist the urge to sell, even during market downturn.

To be fair, this is no easy task. It is very difficult to stay with stocks when we see our brokerage statements painted with red ink.

That said, those who have the steely resolve to stay in the market can reap huge rewards.

The following three stocks are all Dividend Achievers, a group of 271 stocks with 10+ years of consecutive dividend increases.

You can see the full Dividend Achievers List here.

And, the three stocks mentioned below are among the worst-performing Dividend Achievers year-to-date.

This article will discuss why their declining share prices could represent an attractive buying opportunity.

Target (TGT)

YTD Performance: Down 24%

Target is a discount-retail giant, with 1,800 stores throughout the U.S.

Target Stores

Source: 4Q Earnings Presentation, page 74

Not only is Target a Dividend Achiever, it is a member of the Dividend Aristocrats as well.

Dividend Aristocrats are a group of 51 companies in the S&P 500, with 25+ years of consecutive dividend increases.

You can see the full Dividend Aristocrats List here.

Target has fallen on hard times in 2017, because of the company’s announcement that it will compete more aggressively on price, ramp up its e-commerce platform, and invest more in its stores going forward.

This will have an adverse impact on Target’s bottom line—the company expects adjusted earnings-per-share to decline 20%, at the midpoint of its fiscal 2017 forecast.

While investors are rushing for the exits, long-term investors should view the announcement as a positive.

Competing on price and bolstering its online presence will be critical for Target to keep up, in the new age of retail.

Internet-based retailers like (AMZN) are a huge threat to brick-and-mortar retailers like Target. As a result, Target is doing what needs to be done, in order to compete.

Target’s e-commerce platform is performing well—digital channel sales doubled in the past three years.

This is especially evident in major shopping days like Black Friday. Target’s Black Friday sales growth has doubled in the past three years.

Target Black Friday Sales

Source: 4Q Earnings Presentation, page 13

Target will also improve how it caters to changing consumer preferences.

Consumers heavily value convenience nowadays. As a result, Target hopes to become an essential-based retailer.

It has developed small stores called CityTarget and TargetExpress, to be closer to big city-dwellers. By 2019, Target expects to have more than 100 of these stores in operation, nationwide.

Target’s big drop this year has set up a compelling value opportunity. The stock now trades for a price-to-earnings ratio of 11.

And, its falling share price has lifted its dividend yield to a hefty 4.4%.

Target has raised its dividend for 45 years in a row.

Roughly three quarters of all Americans are located 10 miles or less from a Target store. Its massive store footprint should help the company more easily leverage its online capabilities.

It has demonstrated the ability to survive difficult times in the past, and will likely do so this time around.

The Andersons (ANDE)

YTD Performance: Down 13%

The Andersons is a diversified company, operating in the agriculture industry.

It operates in four core segments:

The company’s overall performance is mixed, as it is seeing challenges across multiple business lines. In 2016, The Andersons’ adjusted earnings-per-share declined 72%, to $0.41.

One specific area of weakness was the grain segment, which posted a pre-tax loss of $15.6 million, up from a $9.4 million loss the previous year.

This segment benefited from a stronger harvest season, but this was more than offset by losses incurred from closing a cob processing facility.

Helping to offset these declines, is the company’s plant nutrient segment, which generated pre-tax profit of $14.2 million, compared with $121,000 the year before.

The Andersons Plant Nutrition Group

Source: 4Q Earnings Presentation, page 20

This was the only segment to increase pre-tax profit for the year.

Earnings declined 36% in the company’s rail segment.

Until this year, the company also held a large retail segment, with 1,000 locations across the U.S.

But The Andersons decided to exit the retail business entirely, because it was not a profitable business for the company. For example, The Andersons’ retail business lost $8.8 million in 2016.

The Andersons Retail Group

Source: 4Q Earnings Presentation, page 11

The retail unit’s performance has deteriorated for several consecutive years, which justifies the exit.

Investors have sold the stock lower this year, most likely due to disappointment with the company’s 2016 performance.

Moving forward, management is focused on cutting costs, and has identified $10 million in potential cost savings.

In addition, the company has seen some improvement in fertilizer pricing to start 2017, which could help boost the agriculture industry this year.

The Andersons has made 82 consecutive quarterly dividends, ever since the company’s listing on the Nasdaq in 1996.

The company has raised its dividend payout for 15 years in a row, including a 3.2% hike in January 2017. The stock has a 1.7% current dividend yield.

SJW Group (SJW)

YTD Performance: Down 16%

SJW is a water utility. It is a holding company, with four subsidiaries:

San Jose Water Company is a water utility, with both regulated and non-regulated operations.

It was originally incorporated all the way back in 1866.

SJW Business Summary

Source: 4Q Earnings Presentation, page 7

Today, it provides water service to approximately 1 million people.

SJW Land Company owns commercial buildings and undeveloped real estate, SJWTX Inc. is also a water utility, and Texas Water Alliance Limited, which is developing a water supply project in Texas.

SJW has a long track record of generating consistent growth. For example, from 2011-2015 the company grew earnings-per-share by 11% per year.

The major reason for this stability is because of its business model. Providing water, a necessity of sustaining human life, is just about the most stable business one can find.

The company’s stability is complemented by the fact that the vast majority—approximately 96% of revenue—from the two water utilities is regulated.

This means the company can pass along modest rate increases each year, which helps ensure a steady revenue growth rate.

SJW General Rate Case

Source: 4Q Earnings Presentation, page 12

From 2010-2015, SJW’s rate base grew by 8% per year, on average.

But the company also routinely increases its dividend, at a fairly high rate. For example, SJW raised its 2017 first-quarter dividend by 7.4%.

SJW has raised its dividend for 48 years in a row. It is a Dividend Aristocrat. And, with two more years of dividend increases, it will become a Dividend King—a group of 19 stocks with 50+ years of consecutive dividend increases.

You can see the entire list of Dividend Kings here.

SJW currently pays an annualized dividend of $0.87 per share. Based on its recent share price, the stock has a 1.8% dividend yield.

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