The Most Promising Dividends in Diversified Electronics

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Dividend payers deserve a berth in any long-term stock portfolio. But seemingly attractive dividend yields are not always as fetching as they may appear. Let's see which companies in diversified electronics offer the most promising dividends.

Yields and growth rates and payout ratios, oh my!
Before we get to those companies, though, you should understand just whyyou'd want to own dividend payers. These stocks can contribute a huge chunk of growth to your portfolio in good times, and bolster it during market downturns.

As my colleague Matt Koppenheffer has noted: "Between 2000 and 2009, the average dividend-adjusted return on stocks with market caps above $5 billion and a trailing yield of 2.5% or better was a whopping 114%. Compare that to a 19% drop for the S&P 500."

When hunting for promising dividend payers, unsophisticated investors will often just look for the highest yields they can find. While these stocks will indeed pay out the most, the yield figures apply only for the current year. Extremely steep dividend yields can be precarious, and even solid ones are vulnerable to dividend cuts.

When evaluating a company's attractiveness in terms of its dividend, it's important to examine at least three factors:

  1. The current yield
  2. The dividend growth
  3. The payout ratio

If a company has a middling dividend yield, but a history of increasing its payment substantially from year to year, it deserves extra consideration. A $3 dividend can become $7.80 in 10 years, if it grows at 10% annually. (It will top $20 after 20 years.) Thus, a 3% yield today may be more attractive than a 4% one, if the 3% company is rapidly increasing that dividend.

Next, consider the company's payout ratio, which reflects what percentage of income the company is spending on its dividend. In general, the lower the number, the better. A low payout ratio means there's plenty of room for generous dividend increases. It also means that much of the company's income remains in its hands, giving it a lot of flexibility. That money can fund the business's expansion, pay off debt, buy back shares, or even buy other companies. A steep payout ratio reflects little flexibility for the company, less room for dividend growth, and a stronger chance that if the company falls on hard times, it will have to reduce its dividend.

Peering into diversified electronics
Below, I've compiled some of the major dividend-paying players in diversified electronics (and a few smaller outfits), ranked according to their dividend yields:

Company

Recent Yield

5-Year Avg. Annual Div. Growth Rate

Payout Ratio

Add to Watchlist

Molex (NAS: MOLX) 4.3%29.8%41%Add
Nam Tai Electronics (NYS: NTE) 4.1%(33.3%)38%Add
Methode Electronics (NYS: MEI) 3.2%9.5%54%Add
TE Connectivity3.0%8.7%*26%Add
AVX1.9%4.0%13%Add
Bel Fuse1.6%8.2%28%Add
Corning (NYS: GLW) 1.5%0.0%*10%Add
CTS (NYS: CTS) 1.4%0.0%20%Add
Acuity Brands1.3%(3.3%)23%Add
Amphenol0.1%0.0%2%Add

Data: Motley Fool CAPS.
*Past three years.

If you focus on dividend yield alone, you might end up with Nam Tai Electronics, but it's not necessarily your best bet, as its dividend is considerably lower than it was several years ago. It's better to focus on yield, the dividend growth rate, and the payout ratio.

You may also notice that some notable players in the industry, such as American Superconductor (NAS: AMSC) and Power-One (NAS: PWER) , aren't on the list. That's because smaller, fast-growing companies often prefer to plow any excess cash into further growth, rather than pay it out to shareholders. Once they develop large, reliable income streams, though, the payouts may come rolling in.

Just right
As I see it, among the companies above, Molex and Methode Electronics offer the best combination of dividend traits, sporting some solid income now and a good chance of strong dividend growth in the future. Nam Tai is worth watching as well. Though it halted dividend payments for a bit recently, it has resumed them -- and might resume hiking them.

Of course, as with all stocks, you'll want to look into more than just a company's dividend situation before making a purchase decision. Still, these stocks' compelling dividends make them great places to start your search, particularly if you're excited by the prospects for this industry.

Do your portfolio a favor. Don't ignore the growth you can gain from powerful dividend payers.

To get more ideas for great dividend-paying stocks, read about"13 High-Yielding Stocks to Buy Today."



At the time this article was published Longtime Fool contributorSelena Maranjianowns shares of Corning, but she holds no other position in any company mentioned.Click hereto see her holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Power-One and Nam Tai Electronics.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Nam Tai Electronics. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.

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