Soup giant Campbell Soup (CPB) has a brand portfolio that goes far beyond the can that Andy Warhol made iconic, with brands such as Pace, Prego, Swanson and Pepperidge Farm in addition to its namesake label. Campbell has historically had a lot of folks betting against it; its short interest ratio of 6.6 is still on the high side, just not as high as it's been.
But the shorts may have a nasty surprise in the form of a dividend hike. Currently, CPB pays out a 29-cent quarterly dividend. That's a 3.3% yield at current price levels.To be sure, there are some black clouds in this stock. First, input costs are still growing for food manufacturing firms like Campbell, particularly in agricultural commodities that have rallied hard for months. At the same time, CPB's sales have effectively flat lined over the last couple of years, not necessarily an ominous sign (the firm still moves close to $8 billion worth of food each year), but not a reason to be a buyer. That said, revenues could be turning the corner, especially if international growth helps to offset both headwinds. The firm still generates plenty of cash on hefty margins to warrant a dividend hike in the next quarter. Earnings for 2013's first fiscal quarter happen on Nov. 20.
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