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 Texas Instruments (NYS: TXN) 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:
Size. Most retirees would rather not take a flyer on unproven businesses. Bigger companies may lack their smaller counterparts' growth potential, but they do offer greater security.
Consistency. While many investors look for fast-growing companies, conservative investors want to see steady, consistent gains in revenue, free cash flow, and other key metrics. Slow growth won't make headlines, but it will help prevent the kind of ugly surprises that suddenly torpedo a stock's share price.
Stock stability. Conservative retirement investors prefer investments that move less dramatically than typical stocks, and they particularly want to avoid big losses. These investments will give up some gains during bull markets, but they won't fall as far or as fast during bear markets. Beta measures volatility, but we also want a track record of solid performance as well.
Valuation. No one can afford to pay too much for a stock, even if its prospects are good. Using normalized earnings multiples helps smooth out one-time effects, giving you a longer-term context.
Dividends. Most of all, retirees look for stocks that can provide income through dividends. Retirees want healthy payouts now and consistent dividend growth over time -- as long as it doesn't jeopardize the company's financial health.
With those factors in mind, let's take a closer look at Texas Instruments.
What We Want to See
Pass or Fail?
Market cap > $10 billion
Revenue growth > 0% in at least four of past five 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%
6 out of 10
Source: Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's. Total score = number of passes.
With six points, Texas Instruments gives conservative investors a good measure of what they like to see from a stock. The semiconductor maker has made an ambitious play in its space, but the company's future depends on what will come next.
TI makes a variety of chips for mobile and computing applications. Lately, it has been moving away from older technology, like its baseband radio chips for Nokia (NYS: NOK) products, ceding the space to competitors Broadcom (NAS: BRCM) and STMicroelectronics (NYS: STM) in favor of higher-end revenue sources like the touch-screen controller for the iPhone.
Earlier this year, TI made a buyout offer for National Semiconductor (NYS: NSM) . The all-cash deal would rebalance TI's portfolio toward analog chips and help it compete against Analog Devices (NYS: ADI) . The move sparked speculation that a wave of further buyouts could follow, with Intersil (NAS: ISIL) and On Semiconductor (NAS: ONNN) among potential targets.
By all indications, it looks like TI needs to get moving with the buyout if it hopes to get moving in the right direction again. In its most recent quarterly results, the company managed to beat consensus estimates on earnings and revenue, but it reduced guidance for the coming quarters well below what analysts were expecting.
Retirees and conservative investors are drawn to a nice dividend yielding 2% with substantial payout growth in recent years. Although shares have been choppy, the National Semi acquisition should jumpstart revenue and free cash flow growth. That would make the company even more attractive as a potential addition to retirement portfolios.
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
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