What exactly does the Catholic Church think about dividends?
A lot, as it turns out. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops outlines a number of principles and policies in a roughly 6,000-word document you can find here. Highlights include:
- Protecting human life
- Protecting human dignity
- Reducing arms production
- Pursuing economic justice
- Protecting the environment
- Encouraging corporate responsibility
Also the USCCB has dual-mandate that requires “a reasonable return on its investments and is required to operate in a fiscally sound, responsible and accountable manner.”
In other words, just like you and I, the Catholic Church expects returns.
The Global X S&P 500 Catholic Values ETF (CATH) invests in hundreds of S&P 500 components that qualify according to the USCCB’s stated values.
I understand the importance of diversification, but this young fund risks watering down the winners.
Instead, I suggest a closer look at the crème de la crème of CATH’s holdings – five dividend stocks that yield up to 6.4% with the Church on their side.
Dividend Yield: 1.8%
Apple (AAPL) is the only stock on this list that yields less than 4%, but it deserves its place on this list both because of its dedication to dividend growth, as well as the example it sets for social responsibility.
On the dividend front: Apple initiated a regular dividend in 2012 at a split-adjusted 37.9 cents quarterly, and that has since exploded by 66 percent. Sure, the stock only yields 1.8%, but consider that the dividend growth has been matched by a similar run-up in shares to their current perch near all-time highs. And considering that Apple sports a sub-30% payout ratio, there’s all sorts of headroom for that dividend to expand over the next couple of decades.
As for social responsibility, while Steve Jobs made Apple great, it was Tim Cook that made social initiatives a priority in Cupertino, California. By 2014, all of Apple’s American operations were powered by renewable energy, its products consume far less energy than earlier iterations and the company has taken additional steps to make its supply chain more transparent and crack down on human rights violations in the making of its products.
Apple has lined many pockets in its time, and it’s increasingly doing it “the right way.”
Apple (AAPL) Will Be a Dividend Growth Machine for Decades
AES Corp (AES)
Dividend Yield: 4.4%
AES Corp (AES) is a standard utility play as far as its substantial dividend is concerned, though it’s far more global in scale than most traditional utility holdings. Whereas many sector stocks are plays on various U.S. regions, AES operates across six regions – the United States; Europe; Asia; Brazil; the Andes; and Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. All told, it spans some 17 countries.
AES is a relatively young dividend payer; it commenced regular payouts in late 2012, though that quarterly check has jumped by leaps and bounds. The 12-cent quarterly dividend is now triple that first 2012 payout.
AES’ qualifications for this list include a strategy to bring global carbon emissions down by 20% to 30% from 2012 through 2018 – a strategy that’s already yielding double-digit results. The company also generates nearly a quarter of its energy via renewable power sources.
AES’ Dividend Is One of the Fastest Growers Among Utilities
Host Hotels & Resorts (HST)
Dividend Yield: 4.4%
Host Hotels & Resorts (HST) is a real estate investment trust that’s perfect for the current market environment thanks to its strong positioning that should allow it to easily raise rates to compensate for any additional interest-rate hikes from the Federal Reserve.
That positioning comes from its luxury-centric portfolio that includes resorts and destination hotels – Hyatt Regencies, Marriott resorts and spas, Ritz-Carltons and Westins – you know, the kinds of hotels whose clientele won’t balk when room rates go up by a few bucks every few months.
HST aggressively raised dividends until 2014, when it started a new practice of keeping a substantial regular payout then tacking on special dividends at the end of the year. So as long as business is humming, you’re likely looking at an annual payout that’s closer to 5% than 4%.
Host Hotels has a number of social and environmental responsibility initiatives, including community investment, charities, community service, and reducing energy use and water consumption across its portfolio by double digits since 2008.
Host Hotels (HST) Runs a Tight Ship
Dividend Yield: 4.8%
Welltower (HCN), previously Health Care REIT until a name change in 2015, is one of the largest healthcare-minded REITs, investing in several types of properties within the space. HCN is a play on the baby boomers via its senior housing – it was an early player in this business, but is rapidly expanding its portfolio here – while also boasting post-acute care (illness or surgery rehab) facilities as well as outpatient medical centers.
I also like this play because it’s moving more into “private pay” assets, which are much more stable than those reliant on subsidized payers.
HCN has improved its payout on an annual basis for decades, and it’s pushing back toward the upper part of a range mostly between $60 and $80 from the past few years. Meanwhile, the dividend is well-funded, sitting at around 80% of funds from operations over the past few quarters.
Welltower not only maintains environmental sustainability targets, but also acts to “eradicate the risk of modern slavery and human trafficking” per a 2015 U.K. act.
Welltower (HCN) Will Pay You Without Breaking a Sweat
Iron Mountain (IRM)
Dividend Yield: 6.4%
Iron Mountain (IRM) is a particularly interesting REIT to me because of its spot at the intersection of technology, old-school security and real estate.
Iron Mountain was built upon legacy storage and security services such as physical records storage, business solutions and even corporate-grade shredding. That business might be going away over time, but not as quickly as you’d think.
The growth prospects come from the data side, including “Iron Cloud” cloud-based off-site storage, recovery services, data security and even federal government-tailored data management services. That explosive side of the business has helped IRM just more than double its dividend since 2013 to its current 55-cent payout, good for a yield of more than 6% at current prices.
Despite its growing datacenter arm, Iron Mountain is dedicated toward reducing energy use in its facilities, using more renewable energy to power its operations and reinvesting in its communities. Those and other initiatives give IRM the bishops’ green light.
IRM: This Mountain Keeps Growing
— Brett Owens
How to Earn 12% Annual Returns For Life! [sponsor]
Socially responsible investing sometimes gets knocked around, but clearly you can at least bring in respectable dividends while still adhering to the standards of the Catholic Church. But if you want to make it through retirement fully funded and worry-free, you have to narrow your focus to a single goal:
12% in safe, annual returns.
It’s not easy. I’ve been buried for months trying to track down the kind of portfolio that offers the high current yield, dividend growth track and capital gains potential possible to reach double-digit returns … without betting the farm on yield traps whose payouts could collapse at any moment.
But I’ve compiled a set of stock picks that will reap at least 12% in annual returns – which is what you need to ensure the kind of no-worries retirement you’ve been busting your hump to achieve for the past few decades.
My “12% for Life” portfolio is not your garden-variety dividend portfolio.
You’re not going to find Exxon Mobil, Coca-Cola or any other slow-growth, mediocre yielders that have weighed down thousands of unwitting investors. You’re going to find these kinds of picks instead:
- A stock that has already boosted its dividend payments more than 800% over the past four years, and has at least another decade of double-digit growth left in the tank!
- A “double threat” income-and-growth stock that rose more than 252% the last time it was anywhere near as cheap as it is right now!
- A 9%-plus payer that raises its dividend more than once a year, and will double its payout by 2021 at its current pace!
This portfolio is retirement catnip, because it provides the best aspects of numerous types of investment strategies – income, growth and even nest egg protection! This basket of seven conservative investments includes under-the-radar stocks that can return 12% annually, which is enough to double your portfolio in six years. It also is built to be more durable against market downturns like 2008-09, which ruined retirement for countless Americans.
And best of all: It provides three times more income than most retirement experts say you need!
The real-life benefits are plain as day. This retirement portfolio will allow you to pay your bills from dividend income alone, with enough left over for all the extras – the vacation timeshare, the European cruise or the patio extension you’ve waited too long to build. All the while, you’ll be able to grow your nest egg, which acts as extra protection against life’s ugly surprises.
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Source: Contrarian Outlook