Now more than ever, a comfortable retirement depends on secure, stable investments. Unfortunately, the right stocks for retirement won't just fall into your lap. Let's figure out what makes a great retirement-oriented stock, then examine whether Syngenta (NYS: SYT) has what we're looking for.
The right stocks for retirees
With decades to go before you need to tap your investments, you can take greater risks, weighing the chance of big losses against the potential for mind-blowing returns. But as retirement approaches, you no longer have the luxury of waiting out a downturn.
Sure, you still want good returns, but you also need to manage your risk and protect yourself against bear markets, which can maul your finances at the worst possible time. The right stocks combine both of these elements in a single investment.
When scrutinizing a stock, retirees should look for:
With those factors in mind, let's take a closer look at Syngenta.
What We Want to See
Pass or Fail?
Market cap > $10 billion
Revenue growth > 0% in at least four of five past years
Free cash flow growth > 0% in at least four of past five years
Beta < 0.9
Worst loss in past five years no greater than 20%
Normalized P/E < 18
Current yield > 2%
5-year dividend growth > 10%
Streak of dividend increases >= 10 years
Payout ratio < 75%
7 out of 10
Source: Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's. Total score = number of passes.
With seven points, Syngenta gives conservative investors much of what they like to see. A strong market for agricultural products has helped the company make impressive dividend payouts recently, and steady growth has kept long-term shareholders happy.
Syngenta makes a number of products that the farming industry depends on. Its seed division competes against DuPont (NYS: DD) and Monsanto (NYS: MON) , and it also produces chemical pesticides to help improve crop yields.
Recent trends have helped Syngenta immensely. High prices of food and other crops have given farmers more disposable income, thereby boosting their ability to invest more to enhance their productivity. Especially given the increased demand for fertilizer and its direct impact on farmland efficiency, Mosaic (NYS: MOS) and PotashCorp (NYS: POT) have shared in the spoils of higher food prices. But Syngenta definitely isn't getting left out.
What may take retirees and other conservative investors by surprise, though, is Syngenta's variable dividend policy. From year to year, dividends can differ greatly . That's different from DuPont and Dow Chemical (NYS: DOW) , which have stable, regular quarterly payments, but you can't argue with the huge payout growth over the past five years. Unless you think the trend toward higher food demand is set to reverse itself, Syngenta would make a smart addition to a retirement portfolio.
Finding exactly the right stock to retire with is a tough task, but it's not impossible. Searching for the best candidates will help improve your investing skills, and teach you how to separate the right stocks from the risky ones.
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At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributorDan Caplingerdoesn't own shares of the companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on Twitterhere.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Syngenta and creating a synthetic long position in Monsanto. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Fool has adisclosure policy.
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