The Evolution of a Stock Price over 30 Years

One way to understand how the stock market works is to look at how it was built throughout time. As a dividend growth investor, I focus on picking shares from strong companies that show several growth vectors. I want to make sure those companies not only paid dividend in the past, but that will also continue to pay and increase it in the future.

I started investing in 2003. This gives me 15 years of investing experience including 2 bull markets and only one crash. I’ve followed the techno crash on my computer while I was working on my bachelor’s degree in finance, but that doesn’t really count as I had no money invested back then.

I remember feeling that my first investments weren’t growing fast enough for me. A high single-digit to low teens return each year didn’t appear that impressive back then. Today, I understand that the path through dividend growth investing is a long hike through the mountains. Sometimes you go up, sometimes you go down. It’s important to take pause and admire the nature. Eventually, you will rise to the top and feel like a king. But that takes lots of time and effort.

I thought of looking at 3M Co (MMM) over the past 30 years to give younger investors a perspective of what is looks like to be a long-term focused investor.

1988 to 1998

  • Stock price on December 31st 1987: $15.52
  • Quarterly dividend: $0.133/share
  • Stock price on December 31st 1997: $41.03 (+164%, 10.19% CAGR)
  • Quarterly dividend: $0.265/share (+99%, 7.12% CAGR)

Source: Ycharts

Founded in 1902, MMM was already an old company in 1988. The 80’s were marked by a very important innovation:  the famous Post-It was created in 1980 and offered in multiple colors in 1985. MMM was getting to enter into the “new world” with its first internet website in 1995. In 1996, the company’s data storage and imaging divisions were spun off as Imation Corporation.

As you can see on the graph, MMM also benefitted from the tech bubble lift-up. Shares went up from mid $20’s in 1995 to close to $50 in 1997. In the meantime, MMM never missed an occasion to reward its shareholders with consistent dividend increase.

1998 to 2008

  • Stock price on December 31st 1997: $41.03
  • Quarterly dividend: $0.265/share
  • Stock price on December 31st 2007: $84.32 (+105%, 7.44% CAGR)
  • Quarterly dividend: $0.48/share (+81%, 6.11% CAGR)

Source: Ycharts

The stock went sideways along the rest of the market going through the tech bubble, the Enron fraud and the World Trade Center attack. In 2004, boosted by several innovations, 3M tops $20B in sales. The company introduces many upgraded products such as Post-it® Super Sticky Notes, Scotch® Transparent Duct Tape and optical films for LCD televisions.

At that time (mid-2000), the stock surges and so is the dividend. While it was a good decade, MMM performances on the market weren’t as good as they were 10 years ago. Is the company done with innovation? Is it a sign MMM will finally slow down? Let’s continue our time travel story…

2008 to 2018

  • Stock price on December 31st 2007: $84.32
  • Quarterly dividend: $0.48/share
  • Stock price on December 31st 2017: $235.37 (+179%, 10.81% CAGR)
  • Quarterly dividend: $1.175/share (+145%, 9.37% CAGR)

Source: Ycharts

2008 arrives and the stock drops back to nearly $40. All of a sudden, 10 years of stock market returns disappear. Thanks to all those dividends, 3M shareholders still have a reason to smile. Nonetheless, new investors don’t find it very funny. However, in 2013, 3M tops $30 billion in sales and the stock is back on track. A year later, 3M registers its 100,000th patent and proves itself as being the innovation company it always been.

Believe it or not, MMM posts its strongest decades in 30 years. Keep in mind the stock lost about 50% of its value in the first 12 months of the decade, and yet, finished 200%+ up if you include dividend payment!

Final thought; stay invested!

Over the last 30 years, both MMM and the rest of the stock market went through many great periods and several challenges. When you look at each graph, you will see how MMM was dead money for a few years and then offer a big boost. A similar trend could be seen with its dividend policy. But overall, MMM posted high-single digit stock return and dividend growth rate for each decade. Long-term investors have passed through all those storms and ended-up with amazing results:

Source: Ycharts

In then end, it doesn’t matter the price you pay; just pick strong companies and they will reward you decades after decades.

 

Obvious disclaimer… long MMM

Is DOC Healthy Dividend is Enough For a Long-Term Treatment?

Summary

  • Physicians Realty Trust evolves in a growing market (healthcare).
  • This REIT pays a 6% yield and focuses on quality tenants.
  • But where is the dividend growth?

There is no doubt the Healthcare sector is a growth sector for the upcoming decade. As the population ages in the U.S., the amount spent on healthcare will skyrocket. The CMS projects a 63% increase in healthcare expenditures during the next 10 years. DOC is well positioned with its growth-by-acquisition strategy. DOC has focused on tenants’ quality and continuously improving its tenants grade. Between 2015 and 2018, DOC has also reduced the weight of its top 10 tenants from 34% to 27%.

Now that DOC shares have tumbled by almost 20% ytd (-17% as of May 15th), is this 6% yield REIT worth your attention?

Understanding the Business

As the name suggests, DOC is a self-managed healthcare real estate investment trust that acquires, owns, and manages healthcare properties that are leased to physicians, hospitals, and healthcare delivery systems and other healthcare providers. You can download the complete list of solid dividend paying REITs here.

Their properties are likely to be on campus with a hospital or located nearby with partnerships in place. DOC currently manages 280 properties worth about $4.3B. 96.6% are leased with an average contract term of 8.3 years.

Source: DOC investors presentation

DOC shows a great geographic diversification with properties in 31 states and only one (Texas) representing more than 10% of its portfolio (14%). This enables DOC to reach a maximum population potential without cannibalizing its own offer.

Source: DOC investors presentation

Growth Vectors

Source: Ycharts

DOC shows an impressive growth profile over the past 5 years. The company quickly positioned its business through various acquisitions while maintaining a healthy balance sheet. Its revenue plainly skyrocketed during that period. DOC will continue to surf on the same tailwind (aging demographic) for another decade.

Source: DOC investors presentation

It’s obvious that DOC wanted to position itself as a leader in this industry. The main advantage with Real Estate is that once DOC builds (or buys) a healthcare property and links it to a hospital, it is very hard for a competitor to build a new one right beside it. This is a first mover advantage in this business and DOC jumped on the occasion.

Dividend Growth Perspective

When you look at DOC’s dividend history, you will not be flabbergasted. We are talking about a company that paid its first dividend in 2013 and increased it only once in the past 3 years (+2.22%). We are far from talking about a Dividend Achiever here. You can download complete list of stocks with 10+ year dividend growth here.

Source: Ycharts

We have used a 2% dividend growth rate for our DDM calculation, but keep in mind this doesn’t reflect the current situation. In other words, DOC pays a yield around 6% and this is what you are going to get from this REIT. Don’t expect much else.

Potential Downsides

There are many changes around the healthcare system and it is still unclear on how those modifications will affect businesses evolving in this playground. DOC grew very fast over the past 5 years and now that interest rates are rising, this will affect future profitability. The company currently shows a dividend payout ratio (based on FFO) of about 90%. While the payout is safe due to a healthy business, this doesn’t leave much room for increases. Once debt matures and need to be renewed at a higher rate, the dividend perspectives will not improve. Keep in mind that if your dividend payout doesn’t increase, your buying power shrinks year after year. For your retirement plan, you should consider an inflation rate of 2%. Therefore, any stocks showing less growth perspective are hurting your portfolio and reducing your retirement budget.

Valuation

Now that the stock has dropped by almost 20% in 2018, maybe it’s time to take a second look at DOC fair valuation. Since using the PE ration history isn’t very useful when looking at REITs, we’ll focus on the dividend discount model.

As previously discussed, we used a 2% dividend growth rate to match the inflation. Unfortunately, this is not the case at the moment. Therefore, if DOC can’t show any upside potential now (fair value at $13.41), there is not much appeal to invest in DOC.

Input Descriptions for 15-Cell Matrix INPUTS
Enter Recent Annual Dividend Payment: $0.92
Enter Expected Dividend Growth Rate Years 1-10: 2.00%
Enter Expected Terminal Dividend Growth Rate: 2.00%
Enter Discount Rate: 9.00%
Discount Rate (Horizontal)
Margin of Safety 8.00% 9.00% 10.00%
20% Premium $18.77 $16.09 $14.08
10% Premium $17.20 $14.75 $12.90
Intrinsic Value $15.64 $13.41 $11.73
10% Discount $14.08 $12.07 $10.56
20% Discount $12.51 $10.72 $9.38

Final Thought

Please read the Dividend Discount Model limitations to fully understand my calculations.

While the sector and tenant profile are interesting, DOC’s dividend perspectives are deceiving. It would become a buy if DOC shows the ability to grow its distribution to match inflation. At this time, there are too much uncertainties around the healthcare industry in the U.S. and DOC doesn’t pay us enough to wait. I understand the 6% yield looks appealing, but it’s nothing if the payment can’t increase in the future. With a 90% FFO payout ratio, there is little room for this scenario.

Disclaimer: I do not hold DOC in my DividendStocksRock portfolios.

 

BHP Billiton: Interesting yield with some volatility

Summary

  • BHP is a pure play in the basic materials sector.
  • Since 2016, BHP shares shows twice the ETF’s return.
  • Is it time to forget the dividend cut and buy some shares?

As it is the case with the rest of the basic materials sector, BHP Billiton (BHP) saw a strong rebound after 2016. The mining company didn’t only see its shares outperforming the sector, BHP shares show twice the ETF’s return.

Source: Ycharts

Bolstered by strong demand in China and supported by various projects  across the globe, BHP is growing full speed ahead. Is it too late to jump on this commodity train? Let’s take a deeper look.

Understanding the Business

BHP is a pure play in the basic materials sector. The company is one of the rare solid dividend payers in this sector due to its highly cyclical nature. You can download the complete list of dividend growing stocks in the basic material sector here.

BHP is producing commodities, including iron ore, metallurgical and energy coal, conventional and unconventional oil and gas, copper, aluminium, manganese, uranium, nickel and silver.

Source: BHP Feb 2018 presentation

The company is the world’s largest mining conglomerate. This is a key element when the company hits a resource downturn cycle. Through its size, BHP has built a solid balance sheet and a well diversified asset portfolio going across different commodities across numerous countries.

Growth Vectors

Source: Ycharts

BHP enjoys low cost iron core exploitation in Australia which leads to natural business with China. While the golden years of the world’s second largest economy is behind it, China’s economy remains strong and continues to  grow. The demand for iron and other materials will continue to be strong for many years to come. Since BHP owns several assets near this part of the world, it has an important advantage over its competitors.

Another strong advantage BHP has over many other commodities producers is its size. Being big in this industry means that you can offer different commodities coming from various countries. In other words; when it’s not going well in one part of the world (economic, politic, etc.), you can count on another part to support demand. This makes BHP less vulnerable to basic materials cyclical nature. This is also one of the reason why its stocks jumped by 80% over the past 18 months.

As it is often the case with the energy sector (you can download the energy dividend list here), the quality of a company’s assets portfolio managed is crucial for its profitability. BHP has built a large low-cost portfolio of various commodities. This enables the business to go through more challenging periods. Considering the long life of most assets, BHP will show low cost of productions for several years.

Dividend Growth Perspective

When you look at BHP’s dividend history, you realize you haven’t found the Klondike yet. As many companies in the basic material sectors, dividend cuts are often the easy options during cyclical downturns. BHP had to cut its dividend in 2016 following a difficult period in the commodities market. Therefore, we are far from considering BHP to be the next Dividend Achievers.

The Dividend Achievers Index refers to all public companies that have successfully increased their dividend payments for at least ten consecutive years. At the time of writing this article, there were 266 companies that achieved this milestone. You can get the complete list of Dividend Achievers with comprehensive metrics here.

Source: Ycharts

With 2 consecutive years with a dividend increase and a yield of 4%+, is it the time to reconsider your investment? After all, the company is on its way to offer the same payout post-dividend cut.

Source: BHP Feb 2018 presentation

From BHP’s presentation, we can clearly see that the dividend cut was the consequences of several years of capital expenses hurting BHP short-term cash flow to build long-life assets. The company’s financial situation looks better now and the current payout ratio is under control:

Source: Ycharts

However, I would not hope for a strong dividend growth going forward the next decade. In fact, I think it would be safe to expect a low single-digit dividend growth rate as dividend cuts could happen later down the road.

Potential Downsides

It is difficult to predict where a company like BHP will stand in 10 years from now. Chances are that it will be well and generating money since BHP is strong enough to go through an economic recession. With its low costs assets, it can survive poor demand periods. However, it doesn’t mean its dividend can survive the same path.

What happened in China in the 2000’s will not likely never happen again. This should put additional pressure on commodity costs for decades to come. A major weakness that all basic materials companies show is their dependence to a highly cyclical demand. You may be the largest and most diversified mining company, but you are still waiting for others to ask for your product. The problem is that demand is extremely volatile from one year to another.

Finally, with such a ride on the stock market, investors wonder if there is still room for growth on the market for BHP…

Valuation

This leads us to the final part of this report: valuation. BHP’s PE ratio history is quite hectic (what a surprise!):

Source: Ycharts

This doesn’t help us much to determine its fair value. Digging deeper, I’ve used the dividend discount model. I’ve used a 4% growth rate for the first 10 years and reduced it to 3% afterwards. I rather be conservative than overly hyped with this kind of company.

Input Descriptions for 15-Cell Matrix INPUTS
Enter Recent Annual Dividend Payment: $2.20
Enter Expected Dividend Growth Rate Years 1-10: 4.00%
Enter Expected Terminal Dividend Growth Rate: 3.00%
Enter Discount Rate: 10.00%
Discount Rate (Horizontal)
Margin of Safety 9.00% 10.00% 11.00%
20% Premium $48.91 $41.81 $36.49
10% Premium $44.84 $38.33 $33.45
Intrinsic Value $40.76 $34.85 $30.41
10% Discount $36.69 $31.36 $27.37
20% Discount $32.61 $27.88 $24.33

Please read the Dividend Discount Model limitations to fully understand my calculations.

I had to use a 10% discount rate due to the volatility of BHP sector and the fact the board already cut its dividend not too long ago. It’s not really a surprise to see a dividend based valuation model finding poor value in BHP…

Final Thought

In the light of this analysis, I don’t think BHP is a bad company or a bad investment. However, as a dividend growth investor, I find little interest in investing my money in such hectic dividend payer. The yield is interesting at 4% and the payments are sustainable. I understand why an income seeking investor would want to look at BHP. But for my own portfolio, I will pass.

Disclaimer: I do not hold BHP in my DividendStocksRock portfolios.