Have you heard of Benjamin Graham's "Mr. Market"?
Graham is the founding father of value investing. He was also Warren Buffett's mentor, in addition to mentoring many other great investors.
'Mr. Market' is the personification of the irrational stock market. Every day, Mr. Market comes to you and offers to buy out your share of a business. The troubling thing about Mr. Market is this: He is very prone to both irrational excitement and depression.
Some days, he offers far more for your business -- that's when he's in a good mood. When he's in a bad mood, he will offer far less.
The moral of the story -- don't sell to Mr. Market when he's offering you low prices. Buy at the low prices instead.
Mr. Market is not a good business man. His wild emotional swings can be capitalized on. And right now, Mr. Market is pessimistic about manufacturers.
On the surface, this seems reasonable. There are several short-term headwinds that are hurting manufacturer's earnings currently. These include:
- Stronger U.S. dollar
- Growth slow-down in emerging markets
- Low commodity prices (which impact sales from customers)
Long-term investors can use short-term market fluctuations to load up on shares of high quality dividend growth businesses for cheap. (Click here to learn the secrets of long-term investing.)
All four of the businesses in this article have paid increasing dividends for 25 or more consecutive years, and have dividend yields north of 3%. All four are high-quality businesses trading that are currently undervalued by Mr. Market.
Eaton has seen its stock price plunge 20% over the last six months. Mr. Market is pessimistic about the stock.
The company has performed very well over the long run (despite short-term fluctuations). Eaton shareholders have realized total returns of 12.7% a year since 2000 while the S&P 500 has returned just 4.2% a year over the same period (due to the massive 2000 market bubble).
Eaton was founded in 1911. The company manufactures products for the following industries:
- Electrical power
- Commercial and passenger vehicles
The company's electrical power sales make up around 60% of revenues.
Eaton stock currently has a dividend yield of 3.8% -- a very large yield considering today's low-rate environment.
In addition to its high yield, the company has compounded its earnings-per-share at 7.8% a year over the last 15 years.
Going forward, expect Eaton to continue growing its earnings-per-share at between 5% and 8% a year. The company's growth will come from a mix of organic business growth and share repurchases.
If the company continues to grow its earnings-per-share around its historical growth rate, shareholders will realize total return of between 8.8% and 11.8% a year, going forward.
Eaton stock has more going for it right now than above-average total return prospects. The stock also appears very cheap at current prices. Eaton stock is currently trading for a price-to-earnings ratio of just 13.3. The company's stock has traded for an average price-to-earnings ratio above 15 in six out of the last 15 years. Patient investors can take advantage of changing perceptions about Eaton to buy low.
Cummins is the global leader in diesel-engine manufacturing. In addition, Cummins also works with joint ventures with distributors, sells components for diesel engines, and manufactures power generators.
Cummins was founded in 1919 and has grown to reach a market cap of $17 billion.
All four of Cummins' segments are shown below, along with the percentage of total EBIT (earnings-before-interest-and-taxes) each segment generated for the company in fiscal 2014:
- Engine: 48% of company EBIT
- Distribution: 19% of company EBIT
- Components: 27% of company EBIT
- Power Generation: 6% of company EBIT
Earnings-per-share growth for Cummins has been nothing short of fantastic over the last decade -- coming in at a compound annual rate of 14.3% a year.
The company has very clear growth drivers going forward. Cummins is purchasing its joint-venture distributors and consolidating operations, reducing costs and increasing profits. Additionally, the company is expanding in emerging markets which should drive long-term growth.
Despite all of the company's success, Mr. Market has pummeled the stock recently. Cummins stock is down about 30% over the last year.
This has made Cummins stock extremely cheap. The company is currently trading for a price-to-earnings ratio of just 10.5. The stock is offering investors an excellent 4% yield. There is no reason an industry leader should be this cheap.
On top of all this, Cummins has paid steady or increasing dividends for 25 consecutive years. In July of 2015, Cummins hiked its dividend 25%. With a payout ratio of just 35%, more large dividend increases are likely in coming years for shareholders of Cummins stock.
Emerson Electric was founded in 1890. Today, the company operates in five segments:
- Process Management
- Industrial Automation
- Network Power
- Climate Technologies
- Commercial & Residential Solutions
Emerson Electric currently has a market cap of $32.7 billion. What stands out about the company is its amazing 59 years of consecutive dividend increases. Emerson Electric is nothing if not consistent in its ability to reward shareholders with rising dividends.
Despite its long history of stability, things are changing at Emerson Electric. The company is restructuring its operations and spinning off its Network Power division. The company is also looking at options to divest its motors and drives and power generation manufacturing business operations.
This will result in a more efficient company with higher margins -- and greater growth opportunities for current investors.
Emerson Electric compounded earnings-per-share at 8.6% a year over the last decade. The company's long-term growth prospects remain bright.
With a more streamlined operation, there's no reason Emerson Electric should not grow faster over the next decade than it did over the previous decade. Expect long-term earnings-per-share growth of 8% to 10% a year.
This growth combined with the company's current 3.8% dividend yield gives investors expected total returns of between 11.8% and 13.8% going forward.
In addition to its solid total return prospects, Emerson Electric has been beaten down by Mr. Market. The stock is down 20% over the last year. Emerson Electric stock is currently trading for a price-to-earnings ratio of just 12.5. The company's stock appears undervalued at current prices.
Deere & Company is the world's largest farming equipment manufacturer. The company has sizeable operations in the United States, Brazil, Russia, India, China, and Europe.
Deere & Company has a long corporate history. The company was founded in 1837 and has paid steady or increasing dividends for 27 consecutive years.
Deere & Company's long dividend streak is evidence of a durable competitive advantage, which comes from its brand recognition and reputation for quality in the farming machinery industry. Deere & Company's competitive advantage has given it a 60% market share of the farming equipment industry in the U.S. and Canada.
The company has averaged earnings-per-share growth of 12.7% a year over the last decade. The company should continue to compound its earnings-per-share at double-digit rates over a full economic cycle.
The phrase "economic cycle" is particularly meaningful for Deere & Company investors. Deere & Company operates in a highly cyclical industry.
Deere & Company is deeply undervalued as a result of the current down cycle in grain prices. The company is trading for a dividend yield of 3.2%; the last year Deere & Company stock had yields higher than this was 2009, during the Great Recession.
Patient investors who can withstand Mr. Market's vicissitudes should strongly consider Deere & Company at current prices. The company's above average dividend yield, double-digit long-term growth rate, and undervalued status make it a favorite of The 8 Rules of Dividend Investing.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author was long CMI.